I don't know about you, but I am living for this time of year. I love the longer days, the cool breezes and all of the flower bursting out of the ground to say hello. Spring has sprung.
I'm just about to finish up the show I've been on since the beginning of the year, and I'm planning a little getaway for myself. I'm planning on dedicating the trip to the things I crave most, towards a little personal re-birth. I want to read, write, meditate, eat popsicles and watch the sunrise. This time of year always makes me feel energized and hopeful, and I don't think it's just because it's the time of year I get my tax return either. It's like the bright sun and the fresh air are taking root in my heart and giving me a reason to feel passionate again.
While thinking about what I wanted to do for March's entry in the #SSYearOfCake, I decided I wanted something that felt as springy and romantic as I do right now. If you've kept up to date with my baking, you know I'm a sucker for anything flavored with rosewater. I think its such a delicate but complex flavor, and I'm obsessed with using it in everything. But it's a little boring of me to constantly bombard you with rosewater recipes, so I decided to add a little something else to this cake. And what I came up with is a masterpiece, a Vegan Pistachio and Rosewater Cake fit for all your springtime needs.
Pistachios are the most difficult kind of nut, those hard ass shells always seem so impossible to pop open, and I've definitely broken a nail or two trying to get to that green center. Thankfully, it's 2017, so we can now buy raw, shelled, pistachios in bulk. The future is here, and it means I get to keep my cute fingernails.
Soooo.. I decided to make a pistachio cream and swirl it through the rosewater cake batter in the tin. I had to do this in layers, because the first time tried this recipe, all of the pistachio cream floated to the top of the cake and wasn't dispersed evenly. I got into a nice little rhythm of pouring the batter, dropping in pistachio cream, swirling it around with a toothpick, and then repeating it all over again about 3 times.
I know you know this, but go easy with the rosewater. It works best in very small quantities, and when it's allowed to bloom and grow with other flavors like vanilla. Trust me on this or your cake will taste like soap.
I bought some new Russian flower piping tips online, and was eager to try them out on this cake. But, spoiler alert, I wasn't able to get them to work. the rosewater buttercream I made wasn't quite stiff enough, so I decided to use the drop flower tips I had (Wilton 225, 129 and 109). I think my piping tip skills are getting a lot better, and I love how these ones turned out. Still a little afraid to tackle sugar flowers, but one of these days I know I have to. I'm thinking i'll experiment with fondant next month, so keep me in your prayers.
Oh, and real quick. Just read this article on millennial pink, and I have some thoughts:
1. there's a name for the color I've decided to incorporate into ever facet of my being?
2. I just finished decorating my apartment in the millennial pink aesthetic so I hope it's not going out of style for the next 5 years or so. Also every dessert or cake I make I want to be this color.
Pistachio & Rosewater Cake
makes a two layer, 6 in cake, serves 6-8 people
Pistachio & Rosewater Cake
- 1/2 cup raw, shelled, unsalted pistachios
- 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups plant based milk
- 1/2 vegetable oil
- 1 Tablespoon aquafaba *
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
- 1/4 teaspoon rosewater
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
Vegan Rosewater Buttercream
- 1/2 cup Earth Balance Buttery Sticks (room temperature) **
- 1 cup vegetable shortening (crisco brand is vegan friendly)
- 2-3 cups powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanille bean paste or extract
- 1/4 teaspoon rosewater
- food coloring (optional, Wilton gel coloring is vegan friendly)
Begin by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease, flour and line your baking tins and set aside. Then in a food processor, combine the pistachios, powdered sugar and water. Process until a thin cream forms, adding more water to thin it out as needed. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Then add in the plant based milk, vegetable oil, aquafaba, vanilla, rosewater and apple cider vinegar until a batter forms.
In prepared baking tins, pour in a thin layer of batter. then dollop small portions of the pistachio cream in and swirl around with a toothpick. Then pour another think layer on top. Repeat this process until your cake tins are about 3/4 of the way full.
Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30-35 minutes. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before removing from tins and allowing to cool on a rack.
Once the cake is completely cool, begin preparing the rosewater buttercream. In a stand mixer, combine the shortening and the vegan butter, then slowly add in the powdered sugar until you've reached your desired consistency. Add in the vanilla and rosewater and combine. Buttercream should be light and fluffy, and easily spreadable.
Frosted cake is best served the day of, but will store well in an airtight container for 3-5 days.
** I've only ever used the Earth Balance buttery sticks in this recipe, and I'm not sure how well a vegan spread or coconut oil would work in it's place. Be mindful of this if you're planning on straying from the recipe as I have written it. I am not sponsored by Earth Balance, I just really dig their products.