When I rang my Nan up to ask if she needed a birthday cake for her big day on Sunday 30th, she jumped at the oppurtunity. Just another excuse for a Matthews family get together really! Drinking tea and eating cake is what we do best.
I am an absolute pistachio fiend, another reason why this recipe leaptoff the page at me. One of my main memories of summer holidays with my family in France is bags full of the things, spending hours and hours cracking their shells off and munching away with my Dad. The pistachios added a lovely crunchy texture in between mouthfuls of soft sponge and creamy lime frosting.
For the sponge:
300g caster sugar
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
grated zest of 3 limes, plus the juice of 2
50g pistachio nuts, finely chopped
juice of 2 limes
2tbsp caster sugar
*NB - This is the amount given by the recipe. If I were to make this cake again, I'd make double the amount of syrup, as it was just so zesty and scrummy*
170g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 3 limes
Frosting and decoration:
200g full fat cream cheese
grated zest of 1 lime
250g icing sugar
75g good quality dark chocolate
125g pistachio nuts
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius (170 fan) and line three 20cm round sandwich tins.
Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one a a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in the flour and the baking powder until thoroughly combined. Add the lime zest and juice and the finely chopped pistachios and mix until well combined.
Divide the mixture between the tins, spreading evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave in the tins to cool slightly.
While the sponges are still warm turn them out of their tins onto a wire rack. Spoon the lime syrup over the top of each. Leave the cakes to cool completely.
Put all the ingredients for the lime curd into a small, heavy based pan. Heat gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon - don't let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. When it has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, strain through a sieve into a bowl. Cover and leave to cool.
To make the frosting, beat the butter until smooth. Add the cream cheese and mix until combined. Add the lime zest, then beat in the icing sugar.
To assemble the cake, place one of the cooled sponges on a plate, spread with a third of the frosting, then cover with a generous layer of he lime curd. Add a sprinkling of pistachio nuts. Repeat with the next layer, and then place the final cake on top and cover with the remaining frosting. Feed the remaining curd to a willing recipient, ie your Mum.
Break the pistachio coated dark chocolate into rough shards and scatter these over the top of the cake.
Here's my beautiful Nanny slicing into her birthday cake in her back garden. Needless to say, it went down very well; my Auntie Chris devoured two slices and i'm pretty sure Nan snaffled the rest of the cake away too eat herself this evening.