Pistachio-cherry cake from The New Way to Cake.
The New Way to Cake is Benjamina Ebuehi’s ode to the form.
Our cookbook of the week is The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor by Benjamina Ebuehi. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.
Benjamina Ebuehi’s pistachio-cherry cake is further proof — if you needed it — that exceptionally tasty things can come in plain packages. Dusted with icing sugar and scattered with a few fresh cherries, it’s decidedly unshowy. With juicy fruit sunken just past the surface and a subtle resinous flavour from the pistachios, a slice makes the perfect partner for a cup of tea or coffee at any time of day.
“In appearance, it looks very simple. And when we were deciding I thought, ‘Hmm. Are people actually going to want to make this when they see it? I know it’s good. I know it’s a delicious cake. I love it. But, have I done enough to draw people in?’ But in the end, we left it like this because I thought, ‘I know this cake tastes great,’” says Ebuehi.
Intended to be a vehicle for one of her favourite nuts, a healthy amount of pistachios in the batter gives the cake an enticing texture. “It’s got a bit of a chew to it because it has such a high ratio of nuts to flour — it’s almost a bit squidgy. Then you’ve got the cherries that cut some of that nuttiness and bring a bit of tartness as well,” she says. “It’s really, really simple in a simple-looking cake, but it’s one that I really love.”
1 1/2 cups (175 g) shelled pistachios
2/3 cup (150 g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (175 g) superfine sugar
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla bean paste
2/3 cup (80 g) all-purpose flour
1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder
1 tbsp (15 mL) sour cream
2/3 cup (100 g) fresh pitted cherries, plus extra to decorate
Icing sugar, to dust
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Grease a round 8-inch (20-cm) cake pan and line with parchment paper.
Add the pistachios to a food processor and pulse until you have a fine powder. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla for 3 to 5 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl every so often. Add the flour, baking powder and ground pistachios, mixing on low speed until just combined. Stir in the sour cream before transferring the batter to the prepared pan. Smooth the surface of the batter with an offset spatula and arrange the cherries randomly on top without pressing them into the batter.
Bake for 32 to 38 minutes, or until the cake is well browned and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from the pan and setting on a wire rack. Once the cake is completely cool, use a sieve to dust lightly with icing
sugar and top with extra cherries.
Yield: 1 round 8-inch (20-cm) cake
Excerpted from The New Way to Cake: Simple Recipes with Exceptional Flavor by Benjamina Ebuehi. Copyright © 2019 Benjamina Ebuehi. Published by Page Street Publishing Co. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.
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