Monday, January 13, 2014

Cherry, pistachio and marzipan cake, and things worth waiting for

Cherry, pistachio and marzipan cake / Bolo de marzipã, pistache e cereja

Every time I see something delicious made with cherries I mentally file the recipe to make it by the end of the year, when the fruit is abundant, sweet and not as expensive as during the winter. The problem is there are always many recipes to be made and cherry season is, unfortunately, too short.

One of the recipes I’d been meaning to make for a while was this cake from Delicious Australia, which combines two passions of mine: cherries and marzipan. The cake turned out moist and flavorsome, perfumed with orange blossom water, which is something I love, but if you’re not into it just replace it with vanilla extract. I found the pistachios on the top of the cake to be a bit too much and, as much as I love these nuts I don’t think they’re an interesting addition here – I liked the cake better without them.

It certainly paid off to wait months to prepare this wonderful cake, as much as it paid off to go to sleep at 2 a.m. to see the brilliant Leonard DiCaprio receive a Golden Globe. :)

Cherry, pistachio and marzipan cake / Bolo de marzipã, pistache e cereja

Cherry, pistachio and marzipan cake
slightly adapted from the stunning Delicious Australia

300g cherries, pitted, finely chopped
150g marzipan, chopped into 1cm pieces – I used homemade
150g all-purpose flour + 1 tablespoon, extra, for dusting the cherries
200g unsalted butter, softened
185g granulated sugar
finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 eggs
100g almond meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
50g unsalted pistachio kernels, lightly toasted, chopped
icing sugar, for dusting

juice of the orange zested for the cake
1 teaspoon orange blossom water
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Butter a 20cm (8in) springform cake pan (I used a pan with a removable bottom), line the bottom with a circle of baking paper, then wrap the outside with foil (this will prevent batter from leaking).
Toss cherries and marzipan in the extra 1 tablespoon of flour and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter, granulated sugar and orange zest with an electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until thick and pale, then beat in orange blossom water and the vanilla.
Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Fold in flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt, then stir through half the marzipan and cherries. Spread mixture into pan, sprinkle over remaining marzipan and cherries, then gently press into the batter, making sure they’re just covered.
Bake for 20 minutes, then reduce oven to 160°C and bake for a further 50-60 minutes until light golden and cooked through.
Meanwhile, for the syrup: place all the ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, then cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes until sugar has dissolved. Increase heat to medium and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until thick and syrupy.
Pierce cake all over with a skewer, then drizzle over warm syrup. Sprinkle with pistachios and dust with icing sugar. Cool slightly, then remove cake from the pan and cool completely before serving.

Serves 6-8 – I made the exact recipe above, but baked the cake at 180°C/350°F the entire time (total of 60 minutes)

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