Lime and Pistachio Tea Cakes

Sometimes you just need a little something sweet and syrupy. These are for those times.

Inspired by the gluten free classic seen in almost every cafe sweets cabinet, this is my variation on the classic Orange and Almond cake; Lime and Pistachio cakes, in miniature. Sweet and sticky, yet fragrant and bright from whole limes and my favourite, pistachios.

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Lime and Pistachio Tea Cakes

Makes 6-12 individual sized tea cakes, the perfect size for sharing with a friend.

  • 5 or 6 limes, 450 – 500g
  • 6 eggs
  • 450g caster sugar
  • 300g ground almonds
  • 250g ground pistachios
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking powder

Put the limes into a saucepan and cover with water. Pop on a lid and bring to the boil; boil the limes for around an hour or until they are completely tender. Remove the limes from the water and cut them open to remove any seeds. Place the limes in a food processor and blitz until completely smooth. Set aside for now.

Grease a 12-hole muffin or friand tin well with butter. If you have a tin that has removable bases, then now is the perfect time to use it. If not, then cut out some little circles of baking paper and pop them into the bases of the muffin tin.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.

It is up to you how many little cakes you would like to make, you can easily divide this mixture into 12 little cakes, or even just divide it into 6 and make the little cakes nice and tall. Just slightly increase the baking time if you are making taller cakes. I divided my mixture into 8.

In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until combined; you don’t want to add too much air here, just make it all nice and smooth and dissolve the sugar a little bit.

Stir through the lime puree, and then fold in the ground almonds, ground pistachios and baking powder, until beautifully smooth.

Spoon into the muffin tin, dividing into as many as you wish. Bake for around 35 minutes (adding an extra 10 or 15 minutes if your cakes are taller), until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Allow the cakes to cool in the tin before removing them.

Serve with a dollop of thick cream, and a few curls of lime zest and crushed pistachios if you are feeling fancy.

These cakes keep really well for several days, but you probably won’t be able to resist them for that long.

Lovely photography by Sarah Collins from Love Katie and Sarah

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Jewelled Orange Blossom Florentines

Inspiration. It comes from all around. A word here, a picture there, even perhaps a smell snatched whilst en route.

Florentine

Florentines. Why did you pop into my head and consume my thoughts? Perhaps it’s the Christmas decorations that have started to adorn the streets; an invitation to dinner; a flick through some cookbooks?  I’m sure it’s a combination of all these things and probably more.

Traditionally florentines are flavoured with either orange peel (of which I am not particularly fond) or orange zest. Neither of these did I have. But what I did have was inspiration! Hurrah. So I took a more middle eastern route and flavoured mine with sour cherries, cranberries (okay, maybe that’s just Christmas inspiration) and orange blossom. Dark chocolate drizzled on top, of course.

Crunchy, tangy, sweet and delicately fragrant. And festive, oh yes, definitely festive.

Cranberry

Jewelled Orange Blossom Florentines

Makes 30 – 40 biscuits
  • 75g unsalted butter
  • 100g sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon orange blossom honey, or 1 tablespoon honey plus 3/4 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 1/4 cup dried sour cherries
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 100g flaked almonds
  • 20g flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 70g dark chocolate, melted

almonds

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Line two baking trays with aluminium foil, matte side up.

In a small saucepan, place your butter, sugar, milk, honey and orange blossom water over a low heat until the butter has melted. Once the butter has melted, turn the heat up just a little and cook, stirring occasionally to prevent it from catching on the bottom of the saucepan, until the mixture reaches 115 degrees celcius on a sugar thermometer, or soft-ball stage.

Remove the saucepan from the heat, then stir in the flour, salt, almonds and dried fruit.

Place scant teaspoons of the mixture on the lined trays. Allow lots of room between the drops of mixture, as the mixture spreads tremendously while it bakes! See before, and after baking…

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You may need more than two trays, in which case you can bake in two batches.

Bake in the oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until the florentines are deep golden brown and smell like sweet buttery heaven. If they are not baked enough they will stay sticky, so check on them and give them an extra minute if needs be.

Transfer the florentines still on the foil to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

While they are cooling, melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Drizzled the melted chocolate over your florentines.

Allow to cool completely before gently peeling the florentines from the foil. They are quite fragile, but this is part of what makes them so delicate and delicious. They will keep in an airtight container for up to one week.

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a little romance with some Persian Love Cake

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Life’s big experiences always feel a little easier when you have someone to share them with. Having your first baby changes you immensely, and I was lucky enough to make two dear, dear friends just after we all had our first babies. We’ve shared hard times and happy times, day to day hum-drum and excitement, and now our children have the most special kind of friendship that hopefully they will take with them through their entire lives, friends you have had since birth.

These ladies are my kin, and our families feel interwoven.

Times may come when we don’t get to see each other as much as we have in these formative years, but I know that we will always hold a special place in each other’s hearts. My life has been so much richer for having grown alongside them.

Congratulations to beautiful H + D, we love you and all you are. Another of life’s big moments, what a treat to share it with you.

And whilst I made this as a wedding cake, it really is perfect to share for morning or afternoon tea with some close friends or loved ones.

Persian Love Cake for H + D…

honest and exotic just like you, to help celebrate your declaration of love xx

adapted from Nutmeg Love Cake by Amber Rose, from Love Bake Nourish.

  • 80g mix of toasted pecans, almonds and pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 260g spelt flour
  • 200g rapadura sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 280ml natural yoghurt
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 large free-range egg

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour a 20cm springform cake tin.

Measure the flour, salt, sugar and nutmeg into a medium bowl and stir to combine.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and maple syrup together, until liquid.

Pour the butter and syrup into the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until all the butter has been incorporated. Press half of this mixture into the base of your cake tin.

With the remaining half of the butter/flour mixture, stir in the natural yoghurt, egg and bicarbonate soda. Mix well until there are no lumps, it will be quite runny. Pour this mixture into the cake tin over the buttery base.

Sprinkle your chopped nuts on top and place in the middle of the oven (pop an oven tray on the bottom of your oven to catch any buttery drips) and bake for around 40 minutes, or until the centre of the cake springs back when you touch it. I baked mine a little longer at H + D’s request, turning the oven down to 160 degrees C after 40 minutes to avoid burning the nuts. If you bake it until the centre just springs back, the middle layer will have the consistency of a thick, set custard… if you bake it a little longer it will be chewier and a bit more spongey.

Let the cake cool completely in the tin before removing the springform.

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Because this cake was for a celebration, I decorated mine with crystallized rose petals, nut praline, edible glitter and a touch of edible gold leaf. But really, the nuts look beautiful on top just as they are. Honest, comforting and delicious.