My Pistachio Cake with Irish Buttercream is this Christmas’ sleeper hit. I was pleasantly surprised by the 100% approval rate when I gave out this cake to my taste testers. While I admit there are many steps to making this cake, it is not as daunting as you would imagine.
I actually completed this triple layer 8-inch cake over a span of 2 days. Reason being – I started baking them a tad too late in the day and it got pretty dark by the time I finished cooling off the 3 sponges. So I wrapped each sponge with cling wrap and keep them in a cool place. The next day, I continued with the frosting and finished assembling the cake.
The sense of achievement you get from making this pistachio cake is incredible (or maybe that’s just me). Do not worry if your sponge cakes look a little less than perfect. All will be covered up by the baby-green pistachio frosting laced with my favorite Irish Cream (Baileys). So if you have some time on hand and want to impress your dinner guests over this Christmas, heck or even any other occasions, gather your ingredients and make this today.
1 cup shelled pistachios (processed in food processor finely)
2½ cups (320 g) cake flour
¾ cup (64 g) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder (don’t worry, there’s no typo error)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp salt
1 cup (227 g) unsalted butter, softened
1 ½ cups (300 g) caster sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ½ cup (300 ml) iced water
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
¼ tsp cream of tartar
Recipe adapted from: Eats Well With Others
For Irish Buttercream:
1 cup (100g) unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup (118ml) Irish cream (I used Bailey’s)
2 cups (453g) butter, softened at room temperature
8 ounces (226g) cream cheese, softened at room temperature
2 cups (250g) powdered sugar
Green food coloring (optional)
Recipe adapted from: Tatyana Everyday Food
Raspberries and chopped pistachio
For pistachio sponge:
Preheat oven to 165°C/325°F.
Using a food processor or blender, grind the pistachios into fine bits.
Prepare 3 x 8-inch round cake pan by greasing it with butter and lining it with non-stick baking paper. Grease the baking paper and the sides of the pans and dust it generously with plain flour. *see video for details.
In a large mixing bowl, add in both flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Whisk well together and set aside.
Using the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the softened butter with the paddle whisk for 2 mins. If you are using an electric hand whisk, just do it in a large bowl.
Add in sugar and vanilla extract and beat for another 3 mins, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides if the mixture is sticking to the sides of the bowl.
Add in egg and mix until combined.
With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in the iced water and alternative with the flour pistachio mix. You should do it in three batches.
Scrape down the sides if necessary and mix until just combined.
Add the cream of tartar to the egg whites. Using a clean electric whisk, beat the meringue until soft peaks, about 3 mins.
Fold the meringue into the batter swiftly yet gently.
Divide the batter equally into the 3 prepared pan. *I like to weigh the batter to get an even distribution.
Smooth the top and bake them for 45 mins or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. *As my oven is not big enough, I baked them separately and all the cakes turned out well.
Let the cakes rest for 15 mins before flipping them out, removing the baking paper and transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
For pistachio buttercream:
Pulse pistachio into fine powder.
Add in Irish cream and blend until smooth paste.
Add few drops of green food coloring (optional).
Using an electric whisk or stand mixer, whisk softened butter until light and fluffy, approx. 3 mins.
Add in softened cream cheese, pistachio paste and mix until well combined.
Add in icing sugar in 3 batches and mix until your frosting comes together.
Slice of the top of the cake to level it and place it onto a cake board or cake stand.
Drop two generous dollops of buttercream onto the cake and spread well.
Stack another layer of cake and repeat.
When you reach the last layer, frost the top and the sides.
For the outside of the cake, you could do a light layer of frosting or a thick one.
*For thick frosting technique, place cake in the fridge to firm up for 45 mins and apply another layer of frosting all over the cake.
Place cake into the fridge and let it set for 20 mins.