Thursday, March 28, 2013

Pistachio Layer Cake

This particular cake may take some time, but the flavor combination of the pistachio and lemon curd is quite a treat.  In the cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar, Christina Tosi does state that this cake became a bestseller.  After tasting this, I do agree.

As you know, food bloggers are not real big on making things twice.  However, I am ready to make this again so I can share it with more people.  Sometimes the big projects in the kitchen are well worth the time and effort, and I put this cake in that category,

This is a six inch layer cake that does require some special equipment.  You will need a six inch cake ring and 2 strips of acetate (3"X 20").  The acetate strips are sometimes referred to as cake collars.

Before starting on this cake, the layering components should already be made.  The recipes for these items can be found (here). Please read through all this recipe prior to making this cake.  This will insure that you are aware of the time and the special ingredients required.

Pistachio Layer Cake
adapted from Momofuku Milk Bar

1 cup of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup of blanched almond flour
1 3/4 cup sifted confectioners sugar
2/3 cup pistachio paste
3 tbs glucose
1/2 cup pistachio oil
1/4 cup heavy cream
6 egg whites (separated/add each in increments)

Prepare a baking sheet by coating the interior with non stick spray and lining with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand mixer, beat together the pistachio paste and glucose together until smooth.  This will take about 2-3 minutes on medium speed.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl when finished.

Put the mixer on low speed and add each egg white to the mixture.  Let the mixer run for about a minute before adding the next egg.  Repeat the same step with all the egg whites, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl after each 2 egg increment.

Keeping the mixer on low speed, blend the confectioners sugar and almond flour.  Continue to beat the mixture for about 3 minutes.  Stop and then scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Then turn the mixer back on low speed and slowly pour in the pistachio oil and the heavy cream.  Those ingredients should be fully incorporated into the batter after one minute.  Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl again.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Using a wooden spoon or spatula, fold the sifted ingredients into the batter until no dry streaks remain.

Spoon the batter onto the prepared pan and smooth to an even layer.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.  Cake is done when the edge bounces back when touched lightly and the cake starts to pull away from the edge of the pan.  Remove from oven and let cool in the pan completely before  proceeding.

Assembly Components (recipes here)

1/2 cup pistachio oil
1 recipe lemon curd
1 recipe pistachio frosting
1 recipe milk crumbs

Invert the cake onto another piece of parchment and peel off the top piece of parchment.  Using your cake ring, cut out two layers.  You will have some cake scraps left over which will be the bottom layer of your cake.

Clean the cake ring and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Line the ring with one piece of the acetate strip.  Take the cake scraps and place inside and lightly press the pieces together to form and even layer. Brush that layer with 1/4 cup of your pistachio oil.

Spoon 1/2 the batch of lemon curd onto the pistachio soaked layer.  Smooth out the curd into an even layer using a small knife or the back of a spoon.  Then sprinkle 1/3 of the milk crumbs over the lemon curd.  Press lightly so the crumbs are adhered to the curd.  The next layer added is 1/3 of the pistachio frosting.  Smooth the surface in the same manner as the lemon curd.

Take the other strip of acetate and tuck it between the cake ring and the previous piece of acetate.  The acetate should only overlap by 1/4 inch.  Choose the worst of the two layers (good layer is for the top) and place inside the acetate, on top of the pistachio frosted layer.  Smooth on the components in the same order and manner as done for the first layer.  In this process, reserve 1/2 of the remaining pistachio frosting and milk crumbs for the top layer and use up all the lemon curd and pistachio oil.

Place the top layer onto the second and smooth on the remaining frosting.  Sprinkle the rest of the milk crumbs on top.  Place the cake in the freezer for 12 hours for flavors to meld.  3 hours prior to serving, pop the cake out of the cake ring (push from cake bottom up) and peel off the acetate. Transfer to cake stand or platter.  Wrap cake in plastic and let defrost for 3 hours.  This cake will last in fridge well wrapped in plastic for up to 5 days.

Tips and Notes:

1. It is important that you have a good sturdy cake pan to insure that the cake bakes evenly.  Older pans sometimes get warped and cause problems when baking.

2. The hardest process I found was installing the 2nd acetate strip.  Since the strips are 20 inches there is a lot of overlap that must be kept even.

3. The amount of pistachio oil brushed on the layers is personal preference, I found the 1/2 cup to be too much initially. However to my surprise, it did finally meld with the cake during the chill time.

4. Do not press or mash the cake scraps too hard for your first layer.  The cake pieces still have to be somewhat spongy to soak up the oil.
                                  **LAST YEAR: Citrus Pie**