This cake can be described in three words: to.die.for.
This beauty contains layers of moist pistachio cake, with homemade lemon curd, a perfectly sweet pistachio frosting, and a crunchy pistachio crumb sandwiched in between. They are layered together using a cake ring and strips of acetate. While these items are not readily available in the common kitchen, they are extremely affordable and can easily be purchased online. The original recipe also calls for milk crumb (essentially a crumble made of milk powder), but in an effort to make this cake totally gluten free, I followed Tosi’s suggestions and replaced it with an adapted version of her pistachio crumb. All of these elements mesh together perfectly to create a cake with the most incredible texture and flavor.
If you have an entire day (or at least 4-5 hours + 12 hours of freezing time) to dedicate to this cake, I highly recommend it. It’s worth every single minute spent in your kitchen.
|Gluten-Free Pistachio Layer Cake||
Pistachio Layer Cake
- 6 inch cake ring
- 2 3 inch tall by 20 inch long strips of acetate
- 1 recipe pistachio cake (recipe follows)
- 1/3 cup pistachio oil (or other oil, I used almond oil, grapeseed would also work)
- 1 recipe lemon curd (recipe follows)
- 1 recipe pistachio crunch (recipe follows)
- 1 recipe pistachio frosting (recipe follows)
- 2/3 cup pistachio paste (see this recipe to make your own, or purchase online)
- 2 tbsp light corn syrup
- 6 egg whites
- 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 3/4 cups blanched almond flour, divided
- 1/2 cup pistachio oil (or almond oil or grapeseed oil)
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 3 lemons
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 tsp powdered unflavored gelatin
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) very cold unsalted butter
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup pistachio paste
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup raw unsalted pistachios
- 1/2 cup pistachio paste
- 1/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Combine pistachio paste and corn syrup in bowl of stand mixer using the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to low speed and add egg whites one at a time, waiting until each egg white is fully combined before adding the next one. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after every 2-3 egg whites are added.
- Add 1 1/4 cups of almond flour and powdered sugar, and mix at low speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Stop mixer and scrape down sides of the bowl.
- Turn mixer back to low speed and slowly pour in oil and heavy cream. Let mixer run for about a minute then scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Finally, add remaining 1 1/2 cups of almond flour, baking soda, and kosher salt. Turn mixer to low and run for 2-3 minutes until batter is very smooth.
- Pour batter into parchment or Siplat-lined and greased quarter (9″ by 13″) sheet pan. Spread evenly in pan. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes until cake is golden brown at the edges and springs back when poked with your finger. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
- Using a Microplane or fine grate of a box grater, zest lemons. Juice lemons, accumulating about 1/3 cup of lemon juice.
- Using a blender, blend sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest until sugar has dissolved. Add eggs and blend at low speed until mixture is bright yellow. Transfer mixture to medium-sized pot and clean blender.
- Add the powdered gelatin to 2 tablespoons of water, sprinkling the gelatin evenly over the water to prevent clumps of gelatin.
- Heat lemon/sugar/egg mixture over low heat and whisk regularly. Once mixture boils, remove from heat and add back to blender. Add gelatin, butter, and salt and mix until thick, shiny, and smooth.
- Pour mixture through fine mesh strainer into heat-proof container and refrigerate at least 30 minutes (and up to one week, should you choose to make curd in advance).
- Combine butter and powdered sugar in bowl of stand mixer. Mix on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Add pistachio paste and salt and mix on low for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again on high (only if mixture is not fully combined). Use to frost cake immediately or store in refrigerator for up to one week. Allow frosting to thaw at room temperature 30 minutes prior to frosting (if refrigerated).
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spread pistachios over baking sheet and bake at 325 for 15 minutes until toasted. Allow to cool to room temperature.
- Place pistachios in a clean towel and crush with heavy bottomed pan or rolling pin, breaking them down to no smaller than 1/8 their original size.
- Combine pistachios with pistachio paste, powdered sugar, and salt in mixer and run at medium-low speed for 1 minute.
- Place piece of parchment or Silpat on counter and invert cake onto it. Using your cake ring, stamp out two circles in the cake. The scraps surrounding these circles will serve at the bottom layer of your cake.
- Place a piece of parchment or Silpat onto baking sheet and set cake ring on top. Line cake ring with strip of acetate. Insert cake scraps evenly throughout cake ring and using the back of your hand, pat down into one even layer. Using a pastry brush, spread this layer with a good helping of pistachio or oil of choice, about half of the oil.
- Top this layer with approximately half of your lemon curd, spreading evenly with the back of a spoon.
- Sprinkle 1/3 of the pistachio crunch over the lemon curd.
- Using the back of a spoon, spread pistachio frosting as evenly as possible over the pistachio crunch.
- Using your index finger, tuck the second strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate. At this point, the acetate should stand about 5 to 6 inches tall. Set your first cake round on top of the frosting. If one of your layers looks slightly less pretty than the other, use that layer here. Top layer with remaining oil and lemon curd, 1/3 of your pistachio crunch, and 1/3 of your frosting.
- Finally, place your third layer on top of the second layer of frosting. Cover the top of the cake with remaining frosting and pistachio crunch.
- Transfer sheet pan to freezer and let freeze at least 12 hours (and up to two weeks).
- Remove cake from freezer. Using your fingers and thumbs, pop cake out of cake ring and transfer to cake plate. Gently peel off acetate strips, wrap cake in plastic, and let thaw in refrigerator at least 3 hours prior to serving.
- Slice cake and enjoy! You most certainly deserve it!
Prep time and cook time are estimated figures, this cake is pretty involved. You can make many of the components ahead of time to cut down on this time significantly.
Adapted from the Momofuku Milkbar Cookbook