Pistachio Cornmeal Cake with Rosewater Icing

Pistachio Cornmeal Cake with Rosewater Icing

Serves 8 to 10


17 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks plus one tablespoon), at room temperature, plus extra for greasing the pan

1-1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1-1/4 cups shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios, 150 grams or 5 ounces (see note on pistachios), coarsely chopped, plus a little bit more for decoration

1-1/2 cups finely-ground cornmeal

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons almond flour or almond meal

3 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs, at room temperature

The juice and finely-grated zest of one large lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut a piece of parchment to fit the bottom of an 8-inch springform pan. (You can use a 9-inch pan, but you’ll need to reduce the baking time slightly. Also, if you don’t want to take the cake off the springform bottom, you don’t need to use the parchment). Butter the bottom of the pan, then fit in the parchment circle, and butter the paper and the sides of the pan. Set the pan aside.

Beat the 10 tablespoons of butter and the sugar together using an electric mixer. Beat until the mixture is light-colored and a little fluffy. This takes 6 minutes or so. Add the dry ingredients plus the yogurt and beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in the eggs, then the lemon juice and zest.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, start checking after 40 minutes by sticking a toothpick in the cake near the center — it should come out clean when the cake is done. Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool until just barely warm.

Rosewater syrup

1/2 cup water

2 tablespoons honey

2-1/2 teaspoons rosewater

Heat the water and honey in a small saucepan to dissolve the honey. Let the mixture cool slightly, then stir in the rosewater. Taste the syrup — you can add a little more rosewater if you want more of that flavor. Reserve 2 tablespoons of the syrup for the icing

Rosewater icing

3/4 cup Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar, sifted to remove any lumps

2 tablespoons rosewater syrup

Whisk the yogurt, sugar, and syrup together until completely mixed.

To assemble: Unlock the springform and remove the ring. Gently place a lightly-greased cooling rack on top of the cake, then turn the cake over, taking care not to squeeze the cake and rack together. Remove the pan bottom and parchment, then put a second rack on the bottom of the cake and turn it right-side up. Set the cake on the rack over a rimmed baking sheet or large plate. Make a few small holes in the cake top with a toothpick and brush the rosewater syrup on the top and sides of the cake, making sure it’s absorbed.  You may not need to use all the syrup on the cake.

Pour and spread the icing on top of the cake and decorate with some chopped pistachios, if desired. Gently lift the cake and transfer it to a serving plate.  Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The cake keeps in an airtight container for a few days at room temperature.

Note on pistachios: It can be difficult to find shelled roasted unsalted pistachios. If you can only get the salted ones, put them in a strainer and rinse them under running water for a few seconds. Then spread them on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F for 5 or 6 minutes. For this recipe, you can chop them before you rinse and bake them — just be sure to let them cool completely before you use them in the cake.

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