My son went to his dad’s for spring break and came back with lots of goodies from his Easter basket. There was lots of chocolate and jelly beans……and a bag of pistachios. My son hands them to me and says, “these were in my Easter basket and they’re for you, I think they (his grandparents) were trying to give me something healthy”. I thanked him, snacked on a few and then said that I would bake something with them. I had my eye on a shortbread recipe I wanted to try.
Cut to a month and a half later and the pistachios are still in my cupboard and I was now in the mood for cake and not shortbread. I found a recipe for a simple 9-inch single layer cake and I imagined it on my cake plate with a layer of honey cream cheese frosting garnished with chopped pistachios. The vision was so very pretty in my head and nothing close to the reality that was waiting for me. Even after generously spraying the pan and parchment with pan coating, the cake still stuck to the sides and bottom, and some of the cake started to fall apart. No problem, I moved to plan b and decided to make mini cakes with it! I popped the cake layer into the freezer for about 30 minutes (to let it get nice and firm) and then cut out rounds with my circle cutters.
The cakes were super cute and I was happy because I’ve wanted to make mini layered cakes for a while and never got around to it. Finally, it was time to taste. I thought it was pretty delicious. It was like eating a sweet pistachio in cake form. I loved the addition of honey to the cream cheese frosting. It gave the frosting sort of an earthy sweetness. I’m looking forward to making this cake again with the entire layer intact, or I may get very brave and make a two-layer cake!
Pistachio Mini Cakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting
for the cake
- ¾ cup unsalted shelled pistachios (approximately 4 ounces; not dyed red)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup whole milk
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
for the honey cream cheese frosting
- 4 ounces cream cheese , room temperature
- 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar , plus more if needed
- 1/8 cup heavy cream or half and half
- 3 tablespoons honey
- dash of salt
make the cake
Arrange oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9-inch-diameter round metal pan and line bottom with parchment paper. Butter paper, then dust pan with flour, knocking out excess.
Using food processor, pulse pistachios until finely ground, about 40 seconds. (Do not overprocess, or mixture will become paste.) Add flour, baking powder, and salt and pulse briefly to combine.
In small bowl, combine milk and vanilla.
In large bowl using electric mixer at moderate speed, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low and add pistachio and milk mixtures alternately in batches, beginning and ending with pistachio mixture and beating after each addition just until combined.
Spread batter evenly in pan and bake until wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes, then run knife around cake to loosen and invert onto rack. Remove paper and decorate as desired.
make the frosting
Using electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter, cream, vanilla, honey and salt in large bowl until smooth. Add powdered sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
Adapted from Rick Tramonto