On May 1st, pies are out of the question. April is a month that has been full of sun, rain, snow and wind. For such extreme weather conditions, pie with custard is necessary. May on the other hand, is a different matter. May is meant to be full of sun not snow, and so in an attempt to control the weather, I baked an orange and pistachio cake to summon the sun.

Oranges have a strong yet fresh flavour to them. The fresh sweet flavour is perfect in a cake. By using the juice the cake becomes extremely moist whilst the zest can be aesthetically pleasing and provides a different texture. Using ground nuts in cakes is becoming much more popular. I much prefer using ground nuts rather than using all flour. Not only do they provide another flavour but they make the cake incredibly light in texture (meaning you can eat copious amounts of it without feeling too full!).

Having tried the classic ground almond as well as pecan and hazelnut, I went for ground pistachios today. They are a beautiful bright green once they’ve been crushed and make a beautiful Instagram on their own. Pistachios are not a particularly sweet nut. This balances well with the sweet orange flavours which are prominent in the cake. By using mascarpone for the topping it does not overpower the cake with sweetness, it merely adds a slight richness and smooth texture.

The pistachios look incredibly striking against the white mascarpone topping. I sprinkled a few edible rose petals on top too. These add yet another vibrant colour to the cake.

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The Recipe

150g butter
200g caster sugar
Zest and juice of 2 oranges
4 eggs, beaten
150g self raising flour
120g pistachios, crushed
1 tsp. baking powder
250g mascarpone
Edible rose petals

– Pre heat the oven to 170 degrees celsius.
– Grease and line a 20cm cake tin with baking parchment.
– In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and light in texture.
– In another bowl add the zest and juice of 1 orange to the beaten eggs.
– Slowly pour the egg mixture into the butter (add a little of the flour if it looks like it’s curdling).
– Add the flour, 100g of crushed pistachios and baking powder.
– Mix together and pour into the tin. Bake for 40 minutes.
– Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
– In a bowl, mix the mascarpone with the juice of the 2nd orange.
– Once the cake has cooled, spread the mascarpone over the cake.
– Decorate with the orange zest, remaining pistachios and edible rose petals.