Sunday, 30 June 2013

Pistachio & Lime Cake

This cake forms the impressive front page of my new favorite book: "The Clandestine Cake Club Book". Needless to say, it looks wonderfully impressive, and I couldn't not attempt to replicate it.

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 butter
300g caster sugar
5 eggs
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
grated zest of 3 limes, plus the juice of 2
50g pistachio nuts, finely chopped
Lime syrup:
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*
Lime curd:
60g butter
2 eggs
170g caster sugar
grated zest and juice of 3 limes
Frosting and decoration:
250g butter
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.

Meanwhile, make the syrup. Put the lime juice and sugar into a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved, then turn up the heat until the mixture simmers. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

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.

For the decoration, melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Pour the melted chocolate onto a sheet of baking parchment and spread it out with a palette knife so it is about 3mm thick. Scatter over some chopped pistachios and leave to cool and set.

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. 


  1. Yum!!! Yours looks fab too, I like how you have piled the shards in the middle, it looks great! I want to make this again NOW!!!

  2. Very impressive!!
    I'm definitely going to try my version of this cake xx