A Recipe for (a) Change
I’d always intended that this blog be a combination of my work life and my personal life with some aspects looking at learning technology and the rest about baking. Finally, FINALLY! I can actually make that a reality and post my first recipe.
As part of the celebrations of Wikipedia’s 20th Birthday I decided to get involved in #WikiLovesCakes:
Bakes judged on:
1) Wikipedia story or connection ✍️
2) How the panel think they will taste 👄
3) Appearance/decoration 🧁
Get your icing ready, entries open 15-18th Jan.
— Wikimedia UK (@wikimediauk) January 7, 2021
A virtual bake-off might seem like a bit of an oddity to some but we’ve actually managed to keep our University bake-off team going since we left the office all those years ago back in March 2020 so I was pretty excited.
The University of Edinburgh is fairly heavily involved with Wikipedia, having our own Wikimedian In Residence who organises many events including Editathons which led me to my idea; a cake representing #Wikiwomeninred
For those not in the know, WomenInRed is a group that aims to address the content gender gap in Wikipedia articles by creating or updating profiles of prominent women that are chronically under-represented. You can read more and get involved here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Women_in_Red
Cardamom, Honey and Pistachio Cake with Buttercream and Fondant
Right, lets get down to it. I’ll try to breakdown each part of this into manageable chunks and give shortcuts if you don’t have time.
Cardamom Honey and Pistachio Cake:
- 225g Unsalted Butter, Softened, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
- 225g Caster Sugar
- 4 Large Free-Range Eggs
- 250g self-raising flour (If you are using Plain Flour then add 1tsp Baking Powder for every 150g flour)
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1 tsp Cardamom Seeds, crushed to a powder in a pestle and mortar (Mostly you will be able to buy Cardamom Pods, just crack these open with a knife and get to the brown/black seeds)
- 100ml milk or 80g Yoghurt
- 40g Pistachio Paste/Powder (you can buy this or make it yourself following this recipe – Link to Pistachio Paste Recipe – external site)
- 30g Honey
Pistachio Crème Patisserie
- 250 g Whole Milk
- 2 Large Egg Yolks
- 50g Caster Sugar
- 20 g Cornflour
- 30 g Pistachio Paste/Powder – see above
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 150g Butter
- 280g Icing Sugar
I find it easiest to make the Crème Patisserie first, maybe the day before and then the cake on the day but you can do it all of the same day. Just make sure that both the Cake and the Crème Patisserie are cool before using.
For the Cake
- Turn the oven to 180°C/160°C and allow to reach temperature whilst making the mixture
- Cream the Butter and Sugar together until a smooth paste
- Add the Eggs one at a time and mix thoroughly before adding the next.
- In a separate bowl combine the Flour, Baking Powder and Cardamom Seeds together
- Combine the Flour mixture into the Egg mixture
- Add the Milk and Honey with the Pistachio Paste and whisk for about a minute to form a smooth mixture
- Prepare your cake tin by greasing with butter and then pour in your mixture
- Bake for around 35 minutes but be aware this may be different in your oven, remember to cook until a skewer inserted comes out clean (if you are splitting the mixture between two tins then reduce the cooking time)
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before removing and leaving on a wire rack.
For the Crème Patisserie
- Pour the Milk into a saucepan on medium heat and warm until just before boiling then remove from heat to allow to cool slightly for about 5 minutes
- Add Egg Yolks and Sugar to a bowl and whisk for 1 minute
- Add Cornflour and whisk for a further 1 minute, the mixture should become silky and pale
- Once the milk has cooled slightly so that it is still warm to the touch but not hot pour a small amount (a ladles worth) into the egg mixture and mix constantly. Continue to add a small amount at a time until all of the milk has been added.
- Pour the mixture back into the pan and warm on a medium heat whilst continuing to mix with a whisk or spatula, you will start to feel the mixture thicken after a few minutes. This should take around 5 minutes at medium heat but keep going if it has not thickened yet. Take off the heat
- Leave the mixture to cool for 2 minutes and then add the Butter and Pistachio Paste and mix vigorously until incorporated.
- Pour your mixture into a container such as a measuring jug and cover with clingfilm so that the clingfilm touches the surface of the Crème Patisserie, this is to prevent a skin forming. Leave to cool form around 20 minutes and then place in the fridge to cool further.
For the Butter Cream
- Mix the butter and sugar together until smooth, you can melt the butter slightly beforehand to make mixing easier. You can also add the Icing Sugar bit by bit to make sure you get the right consistency.
Prepare your Cake
- Once your Cake and Crème Patisserie have cooled you can begin to assemble your cake.
- If you used to tins you can place one down and pipe or spoon your Crème Patisserie on top creating a smooth layer before adding the top cake. If you have one large cake then cut in half to make two layers and then add your Crème Patisserie layer in between.
- Place your cake in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to a day. This will help with applying your crumb coat which will sit between the cake and the fondant. If the fondant sits directly on the bare cake it won’t adhere very well so we add Butter Cream in to give a smooth layer to help the fondant stick.
- Apply the Butter Cream evenly and make sure to cover all edges of the cake and smooth down, a pallet knife really helps here but I don’t have one so it is manageable without.
- Put the cake back in the fridge to allow to cool again for at least an hour.
Prepare and Apply the Fondant (Nearly Done!)
- Take your fondant out of the packet and begin to knead it gently to make it more pliable, be aware that this will slightly stain most surfaces.
- Place the fondant between two sheets of clingfilm or baking parchment to prevent sticking (I prefer this method but you can use icing sugar on a normal surface instead) make sure to roll out enough to cover your cake generously as it will be nearly impossible to remove and roll out again.
- Lightly place the fondant over your rolling pin and use this to transfer to the top of the cake, smooth out the top of the fondant using the palm of your hand, gently tugging the edges to remove creases. Follow this across and down to the edges and remove the excess with the knife.
A handy video for how to handle fondant can be found here: Working with fondant guide (including video)
Last Finishing touch (Optional)
If you want to truly recreate my attempt then create a stencile of the #WikiWomeninRed logo and use Icing sugar to apply the design. Then you can finally sit down and enjoy!