2 April 2016

Lemon and Pistachio Easter Cake

I'm visiting my parents this week and I grabbed a few recipe cards to try out, since my Mum declared that she'd bought unsalted butter for me to play with.


The first thing I decided to do was continue the Easter theme and made the lemon and pistachio Easter cake from one of my many Waitrose recipe cards. It's from March 2015, but I wasn't able to find it on the website.


Pistachio marzipan
100 g peeled unsalted pistachios
50 g ground almonds
75 g granulated sugar
75 g icing sugar
1 egg white (save the yolk for the sponge)

Sponge cake
340 g plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
265 g unsalted butter at room temperature
265 g granulated sugar
finely grated zest from 3 large lemons
4 large eggs + the yolk
4.5 tbsp lemon juice

Butter icing
75 g unsalted butter at room temperature
75 g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

icing sugar for dusting
a few copped pistachios


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C and line a 20 cm round tin with baking paper at the bottom and grease the sides.
  2. For the marzipan, place the pistachios in a processor together with the ground almonds, granulated and icing sugars and whizz as fine as possible.
  3. Remove from the processor into a bowl, then stir in some of the egg white, a little at a time to make a thick marzipan paste.
  4. Divide into two equal parts and roll each one to a circle between two pieces of cling film. It should be slightly less than the diameter of the cake and be about 1 cm thick. Make sure the two circles are wrapped air tight and set aside.
  5. For the sponge, mix together the flour and the baking powder together well.
  6. Put the flour mixture, the butter, the sugar, the lemon zest and the eggs, including any left-over from the marzipan white and whisk together into a batter.
  7. Finally add the lemon juice and incorporate well.
  8. Pour a quarter of the batter into the baking tin<,
    then peel off the cling film from one side of one of the marzipan circles and carefully place it in the baking tin over the batter, making sure it's as centered as possible.
  9. Cover the marzipan with another quarter of the batter,
    then bake in the oven for about 30 - 35 minutes, until it goes golden brown on top and the sides come away from the tin.
  10. Remove from the oven, and transfer onto a wire rack covered with more baking paper, remove the paper circle and leave to cool down completely.
  11. Leave the tin to cool as well, then repeat by replacing the paper circle in the bottom and greasing the sides, then use the third and fourth quarter of the batter to cover the second marzipan circle and bake.
  12. While waiting for the two sponge cakes to cool, make the butter icing, by whisking together the butter and icing sugar white and fluffy, then adding the lemon juice and beating until fully incorporated.
  13. Once the sponges have cooled, place one of them on a serving plate. Spread the butter icing evenly over the top and place the second sponge on top.
  14. Dust with icing sugar and sprinkle a few pistachios. Ready to serve

In the original recipe, the batter wasn't quite enough for two sponge cakes, though admittedly I didn't divide it up evenly either,
so I've adjusted the amounts to one and a half times that in the ingredients list. The original recipe also stated to use self-raising flour, but this is not available in Sweden, so I used regular flour with the adjustment of 2 tsp baking powder to 150 g flour.

I foolishly added the egg white to the food processor and it point blank refused to work, as the paste was very thick. This resulted in a very crunchy paste, with clear pieces of pistachio, however, this wasn't a bad thing actually.


And my Sister Bip came round to have a taste and liked it, as did my Mum and Dad. My Dad grumbled about it being "too sweet", however this didn't stop him from having seconds, so I think he's complaining out of principle rather than anything else. I rushed the first serving a bit and the second sponge hadn't quite cooled completely, so everything was very soft when I cut the first slices and the internal design was lost a bit, but it was better on the following day. So although the recipe card said serve in the same day, I think it needs to stand for a few hours at least to set a bit.

But it was a fairly easy recipe and a little different to what I normally make - first with pistachios and second a sandwich cake, which I've never made before. But otherwise, the concept was very similar to Lundulph's birthday cake of a couple of years ago.