Pistachio Cake With Orange Blossom Icing



40 min


2 hrs 10 min



Pistachio Cake With Orange Blossom Icing

Photo, Erik Putz.

If a spring blossom were a cake, it would be this gorgeous, moist and fresh flavoured delight.


  • 4 8 to 9 in. disposable foil pans
  • 1 cup pistachios , (150 g)
  • 3/4 cup cake-and-pastry flour , (90 g)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 9 eggs , separated, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar , divided (288 g)
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 tsp orange zest
  • 20 drops green liquid food colouring


  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar , (128 g)
  • 5 tbsp cake-and-pastry flour , (37 g)
  • 1 cup 2% milk , warmed
  • 1 cup unsalted butter , at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Position rack in centre of oven and preheat to 350F. Line 4 disposable foil cake pans with parchment, then spray with non-stick flourbased baking spray.
  2. Combine pistachios with ¾ cup flour and ¼ tsp salt in a food processor. Whirl until pistachios are finely ground. Sift into a medium bowl. If coarser pieces remain in sieve, whirl again in food processor and sift into same bowl. Set aside.
  3. Beat egg whites, using an electric mixer on mediumhigh, in a large bowl until foamy, about 2 min. Continue beating, gradually adding ¾ cup granulated sugar until medium-stiff peaks form, 3 to 4 min more. Set aside.
  4. Combine egg yolks with remaining ¾ cup sugar in a very large bowl. Beat, using same electric mixer on medium-high, until pale yellow and thick, 3 to 4 min. Beat in vanilla, orange zest and food colouring until combined.
  5. Gently fold one-third of the egg white mixture into yolk mixture, using a rubber spatula, until no streaks remain. Gently fold in remaining egg whites.
  6. Sprinkle one-third of the pistachio mixture overtop. Gently fold until no streaks remain. Repeat process with remaining pistachio mixture. The batter should look fluffy, similar to meringue.
  7. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans. Smooth tops to make as even as possible.
  8. Bake until the tops of cakes are golden, and a cake tester inserted into centre of cakes comes out clean, 18 to 20 min.Transfer pans to a rack and cool completely, about 1 hr.
  9. Icing: Meanwhile, combine ⅔ cup granulated sugar and 5 tbsp flour in a medium saucepan set over medium. While whisking constantly, gradually pour in milk. Whisk until smooth. Continue whisking until mixture thickens to a pudding-like consistency and starts pulling away from bottom of pan, 2 to 4 min. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl. Lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface to prevent skin from forming. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hr.
  10. Beat butter, using an electric mixer on high, in a large bowl until fluffy, 1 min. Beat in cooled sugar mixture, 1 tbsp at a time, until each addition is well combined and stiff peaks form. Beat in orange blossom water and salt.
  11. Assemble cake by placing 1 cooled layer on a large plate or cake stand. Lay short strips of parchment paper under edges of cake to protect the plate. Spread cake with ¾ cup icing, right to edge. Top with another cake layer. Repeat icing and layering with remaining cake layers. Then very thinly spread remaining icing on top and around sides of cake (scraping off excess icing to create a “naked” look).

Kitchen Tip

Cake-and-pastry flour is ideal for cakes with a light, airy texture, like sponge cakes. Using all purpose flour may produce a denser cake.