The next three weeks are going to be a complete whirlwind for me, so I'm desperately trying to stay on top of everything at work and at home. It feels like it will be an endless streak of doing laundry, batch cooking (hopefully) so I don't have to spend all my money on take-out. Regardless of the impending stress, I am excited to be heading off on some new adventures - the first up to New Orleans with my sister and mom. I'm looking forward to seeing all of the beautiful houses in the Garden District and eating all of the amazing New Orleans food. I'm currently taking recommendations, so please let me know if you've been anywhere that is a must!
Speaking of travel, I've been trying to do a better job at documenting my travel experiences. Not in photos, per say, but just my thoughts in general about some of the places I visit. I can usually conjure pretty good memories and feelings about places I visited (especially if they were particularly magnificent) but I feel like I have trouble vocalizing it or even writing about it. I've brought little journals with me with the intent of writing in them each day to no avail. Does anyone have things that they do to document trips that work for them? Let me know!
I've been doing a lot of non-baking recipes on my blog lately in my goal to expand my cooking horizons, but after having the delicious pistachio layer cake at the Point Reyes workshop, I knew I needed to try to replicate something just as delicious. When I started working on this Pistachio Cake with Lilac Strawberries a couple weeks ago I immediately felt a calm settle over me and I loved the results. It's funny how much more comfortable I am with baking - it just comes so much more naturally to me.
A couple weeks ago when I was home for a weekend, I picked some of the beautiful lilacs in my neighbor's yard (they don't mind, I promise!) to enjoy their intoxicating scent before one of my favorite flowers was gone for the season. I wanted to capture the essence of lilacs so I infused the little flowers into sugar. What was left behind was a delightfully sweet sugar with a hint of lilac. The sugar is perfect left alone, so I like to keep it simple by sugaring berries with it, or using a dash of it in my tea.
Preheat oven to 350°F and grease and flour a 9 round pan. Using a blender or nut grinder, grind pistachios until finely ground, but not so much that it becomes a paste. In a large mixing bowl, stir together pistachios, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
Using a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in Greek yogurt, ricotta, and vanilla and keep mixing until smooth. In batches, add in pistachio/flour mixture until just combined.
Transfer batter into the cake pan and bake until wooden skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan until just warm and run a knife around cake to loosen and invert onto rack.
Coat strawberries in lilac sugar, and in a small bowl, mix confectioner's sugar and mascarpone. Slice cake and top with strawberries and mascarpone.
Pistachio Cake with Lilac Strawberries
- 1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios, ground into a powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced, sugared in lilac sugar
- 1 cup mascarpone
- 2 teaspoons confectioners sugar