Surprise of my day: I actually like this cake. I'm getting down to the cakes that I am not incredibly excited about (fruitcake, quail egg cake, etc) and this one was no exception. But I think I wasn't as excited about this cake because of this confession: I've never had a pistachio before this. I am a recovering picky eater so in the past, I looked at them and thought "strange looking green vegetable looking nut" and so I've never been tempted to try it. As a curious baker and an adventurous eater though, I tried one as I was shelling them and surprise surprise, they were tasty.
One of my friends commented as I was making the cake that she heard that pistachios are the most unhealthy nut that you can eat. But, thankfully, she was wrong (sorry to whoever said that but fear not, I won't name you). I looked it up and according to my extra-credible source, Shape.com (I hope that you're catching my sarcasm here), pistachios are actually one of the top five most healthy nuts that you can eat. They are high in cholesterol-lowering plant sterols (I don't know what that means but I like it) and have more potassium than most nuts. Hooray!
Making the cake wasn't much different than making a normal butter cake except that you process pistachios with the sugar. The cake turned out to be incredibly soft and moist so I think I can give a shout out to the sour cream and to the butter for that.
The icing was a bit more tricky. The "golden neoclassic buttercream" is basically a halved version of Rose's "neoclassic buttercream" that is in The Cake Bible. I made this neoclassic version last year while I was living in Chattanooga and I wrote in the book next to the recipe, "I tried this but the syrup mixture hardened in the blender- YUCK!" I think I threw it away and turned to Irma (The Joy of Cooking) for my buttercream up until I started this little adventure.
This time it was much easier because I've gotten a little bit more experience under my belt and the steady stream of hot sugar syrup went straight into the icing rather than hardening onto the sides of the bowl or into clumps. The difficult part was the heated discussion about feminism and its relationship with Christianity that was going on all around me with my housemates and friends. I really don't know how the icing came out in one piece.
All in all, the cake was a success. I think my mom would have even liked it because it was sweet and soft (she only likes the Kroger white cakes because they are really sweet). It was nice because of the extra flavor and the tiny bit of crunch of pistachios that went into every bite. It's definitely a unique cake and it is one that I would be happy and proud to share.
Rose's Heavenly Cakes- page 65
P.S. If you would like the recipe to this cake, Rose kindly put it on NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120742534