So my last recipe (Matcha Almond Joy (Coconut Macaroon Recipe)) has matcha in it, and this weeks recipe/tutorial is also very full of matcha! What can I say? I am obsessed with, and LOVE the taste of matcha. Matcha and coconut are a wonderful pairing, but matcha and pistachio is basically a match(a) made in heaven. I got this request to make a matcha pistachio cake, and while I hadn’t done it before, I was confident that I could create an amazing cake and find creative ways to incorporate those flavours. For the matcha cake, I took my vanilla cake recipe and dissolved the matcha in some warmed up milk to ensure there would be no lumps of it in the cake. Alternatively, you could also treat it the way you treat cocoa powder, by sifting it and whisking it straight into the flour, baking powder, and salt.
For the pistachio buttercream I decided I would make some homemade pistachio paste using an adaptation of an adaptation of a Pierre Hermes recipe that I found here. That way I could get the purest flavour of pistachio right into the buttercream, since I definitely was not looking to have an artificial pistachio flavour. Alternatively, you definitely do not have to make your own pistachio paste, because store-bought pistachio paste is a thing and does exist. Since I couldn’t seem to get my hands on it I decided I would take this as an opportunity to learn new things and come up with some homemade paste.
As for the design of the cake, it’s a Pusheen-themed cake, and if you aren’t familiar with the Pusheen character, she is a lovable, tubby, food-loving, and relatable cat who is usually seen with food items, so I decided to create two Pusheens, one 3D and on 2D, with food accessories and heart bubbles all out of fondant. If you would like to see how I made them, then feel free to watch the video tutorial below!
Here is the recipe:
220g (2 cups) cake flour
8g (1-1/2 tsp) baking powder
3g (1/2 tsp) salt
150g (2/3 cup) milk, heated
5g (1 tbsp) culinary grade matcha powder
143g (2/3 cup) butter
250g (1-1/4 cup) sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
- Grease and line two 6″ round pans with butter and parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
- In a medium mixing bowl, sift and whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small pitcher or bowl, add your heated milk and whisk the matcha powder in, until fully dissolved and no lumps remain. Set aside.
- Using a paddle attachment in a stand mixer, cream the the butter and sugar together on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add in the eggs one, by one, mixing thoroughly and beating until pale and fluffy, scraping down the sides after each addition.
- Add half of the dry ingredients into the butter sugar egg mixture, and mix on low speed until the flour absorbs a bit of the butter. About 10 seconds. Add in all of the milk matcha mixture, and mix on low speed until the batter is broken up (about another 10 seconds). Add in the rest of the ingredients, and mix on low speed until everything is mostly combined (about 10-15 seconds), then turn your mixer to high speed until the batter comes together and looks very silky and smooth (about 10 seconds). Hand fold the rest of the batter until no butter remains at the bottom of the bowl, and portion out into your pans.
- Bake for 30-35 min or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack before removing from the cake tin.
125g (1-1/8 cup) shelled pistachios
63g (1/3 cup) sugar
17g (1 heaping tbsp) water
125-250g (1/2-1 cup) hot water *
- Blanch the pistachios by placing into a small saucepan of boiling water for 2 min, and placing then straining them, and placing the nuts in ice water to shock them and stop the cooking. This will help to soften the pistachios as well as loosen the thin papery layer of skin on the pistachios. Rub the skin off of the pistachios using your hands or a clean kitchen towel.
- Place the clean and dry pistachios aside, and place the sugar and water into a clean saucepan, being careful not to get sugar onto the sides of the pot. Bring to a boil on high heat, and once the sugar water mixture is at a rolling boiling, take off heat and carefully place the nuts into the pot and stir around until the sugar starts to thicken and/or crystallize.
- Pour out onto a baking tray lined with parchment paper and let cool in one layer.
- Place the cooled sugary pistachios into a food processor, and pulse to break up, then blend on high speed for about 5-10 min or until as smooth as you can get it. Mine went from grainy to a thick paste.
I had a few problems with my paste after blending, and I believe my paste started to split because the oils in the nuts were separating from all the water content in my paste. If your pistachio paste starts to become very thick and chewy, and separates from the oil, try to emulsify the paste by adding in a few teaspoons of in boiling water a little at a time, and blend it between additions until the mixture had emulsified and creates a very smooth and creamy paste. Be careful not to add in too much hot water, or your paste will become liquidy.