With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
– from The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare
The waratah flower, native to the south-east coast of Australia, is a striking plant. Its deep crimson flowers bloom on top of a branch whose spirally-arranged leaves are serrated along the edges. It is known to be difficult to cultivate and can take five years from seedling to flower. It is in season for just a short few weeks in late spring. The name comes from the Eora Nation, the sovereign peoples of the area known as Sydney. We named our first born Waratah, our bright spark of a child.
I’m not one for lavish birthdays. It’s not anxiety – age being but a number and all that. With the lack of solitude inherent in a busy life with two small kids, all I really want these days is a quiet birthday with my three loves. And that is what I got this year – dinner at the pub, bedtime for the kids, slice of this mouth-meltingly delicious cake with S on the couch, early night for both of us.
Through the year when I bake I have to balance the different preferences and tastes of a family of four. But on my birthday? On my birthday I bake the kinds of cakes that I love best. If you’re not into pistachios you won’t be into this cake because it is pistachio through-and-through. But if you are into pistachios?
Make this cake.
Previous birthday cakes include: Pistachio & Rosewater Cake with Cardamom Frosting and Brown Butter Cardamom Cake with Chai Buttercream Frosting (hmm… I’m sensing a theme here).
Pistachio Butter Birthday Cake
If you can’t find pistachio butter at your local, it’s super easy to make. Take 160 grams of shelled pistachios, lightly roast, then run through a food processor for about 10 minutes until they’re god and buttery.
160 grams pistachio butter
100 grams butter
180 grams sugar
120 grams yoghurt
1/2 tsp vanilla
60 grams almond flour
120 grams plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
Cream the pistachio butter and plain butter together. Add the sugar and cream until fluffy. Ad the egg, yoghurt and vanilla and continue to cream until fully combined.
In a small bowl combine the almond flour, plain flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt.
Add to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined.
Transfer to prepared baking tin and bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out (almost) clean of crumbs.
This cake is moist so really doesn’t need frosting – with just a light dusting of icing sugar it would be a perfect afternoon tea cake. Here, I’ve glammed it up for my birthday, hence the frosting and the candied pistachios.