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Sicilian Pistachio Cake!!
Posted: 29 June 2010 04:22 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Just got confirmation that the Sicilian Pistachio Cake is ON!  Making it this weekend!  Serving it up next Friday!

Okay, you are all tired, I know, of hearing about this cake from me.  Nonetheless, this is my first sort of deocrating experience, so if you don’t mind, I’m going to shoot my thoughts by you in case there are fatal flaws!

OKAY—

> This will be two 9” stacked layers.
> For the cake part, I’m grinding the unskinned, roasted California pistachios in my juicer.  Does them really fine, but no oils released.
> I’m grinding add’l roasted pistachios—with skins—into pistachio butter. 
> For the frosting, I made the Neoclassic buttercream—which I will give LOTS AND LOTS of time to come to room temp (following Julie’s overnight method).  I will add vanilla to it. 
> Some of the pistachio butter will have powdered sugar added to it to make it a marzpian.  I’m rollilng this out and putting a 1/8” or so disk on top of each layer, buttercreaming each layer, and buttercreaming the sides.

Here’s my questions:

> Do I have to trim the layers to make them flat or can I leave it domed-ish.  I think domed-ish is more friendly.
> Does the marzipan idea above sound reasonable?
> I’m also planning on adding pistachio butter with SOME powdered sugar (not as much as marzipan) to the buttercream—or some of the buttercream—to flavor it.  Will add however much maintains good texture while making good flavor.  Should I (A) do this to ALL the buttercream or (B) put ‘plain (vanilla only)’ buttercream between the layers and the pistachioed on top and sides?
> I have no pistachio extracts and not am getting any.  I do have almond extract.  Any thoughts on if I should use almond in addition to vanilla?
> If I can, I’m going to pipe some pistachioed buttercream into thingies around the base and mabe the circumference of the top.
> I’m going to use the pistachio marzipan to make little disks about the size of a pencil eraser and press them into the sides of the cake in lieu of pistachios
> On the top, I’m gong to make a big genetic thingy (see the pic for a rough sketch—of course it will be all one color)—the edges will be flat (or thin rope) marzipans, and the cross bars will be flat marzpians OR rows of marzipan disks
> I might make a marzipan candle if I can manage it, but I don’t want to get too tacky.

Am I already to tacky?  Too busy?  The cake will be sort of monochrome-ish, obviously, between the vanilla buttercream (which might or might not get used), the pistachio buttercream and the pistachio marzipan.

Any ideas would be awesome!

I am totally a newbie!

And I AM PSYCHED!!!!

And thanks!!!!!

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Posted: 29 June 2010 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Oh, p.s., I have blanched, skinned ones—spent lots of time on this—but their flavor isn’t as good as unskinned, and their texture isn’t as good either, so I’d prefer not to use them.  I don’t mind mixing them in, if necessary, but I’d rather use the unskinned unless it’s a big deal.

Thanks!

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Posted: 29 June 2010 10:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Sorry I can’t offer any advice but I am so looking forward to seeing this cake when it’s completed

You said you are making it this weekend and serving it the following Friday….how will you store it?

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Posted: 29 June 2010 11:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I’m making it Sunday and will pop it in the freezer as soon as it’s frosted.
When the frosting is firm, I’ll wrap it in platic wrap and foil.
On Wednesday night, I’ll take it out of the freezer, unwrap it and put it in its cake carrier.
On Friday, I’ll take it out.  Normally, I’d take it out at about 3:00 AM so it’s ready for about 10:00 AM, but this will be in the afternoon, so I’ll take it out when I get up and let it sit in my office until it’s time.

Wish me luck!!!!

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Posted: 29 June 2010 11:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Good Luck!!!! I’m sure your cake will be a hit

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Posted: 30 June 2010 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Anne in NC - 29 June 2010 07:22 PM

> I’m grinding add’l roasted pistachios—with skins—into pistachio butter.

Have you done this before?  Consider the texture you are able to achieve with your equipment, if the butter isn’t ground finely enough to be perfectly smooth, then you will need to be happy with a nubby/crunchy buttercream.  In general, a smooth nut butter is beyond the ability of home equipment, but I’m not sure about yours.  Smooth pistachio paste can be ordered from lepicerie.com.

> For the frosting, I made the Neoclassic buttercream—which I will give LOTS AND LOTS of time to come to room temp (following Julie’s overnight method).  I will add vanilla to it.

I would recommend making Rose’s version as written, with Lyle’s, vanilla, almond (if I remember correctly) and a touch of lemon.

> Do I have to trim the layers to make them flat or can I leave it domed-ish.  I think domed-ish is more friendly.

Up to you, domed is fine unless it makes it harder to decorate with the double helix.  For the record, Rose tends to make one layer cakes slightly domed, two layer cakes flat.  But personal preference is fine.  Here’s a picture of a torted cake that I left slightly domed, so you can see how it looks:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/julie2357/4293439748/

> Does the marzipan idea above sound reasonable?

Have you made this before?  Have you tried to mold it into decorations and shapes?  If not, there is a recipe on p. 323 of the Cake Bible for pistachio marzipan.  It is tested and will work.

> I’m also planning on adding pistachio butter with SOME powdered sugar (not as much as marzipan) to the buttercream—or some of the buttercream—to flavor it.  Will add however much maintains good texture while making good flavor.

I’m a not-too-sweet person and would try adding just the pistachio butter, no powdered sugar.  Also, most of Rose’s buttercream additions are unsweetened and work perfectly.  If possible, try to taste the buttercream with some of the cake when deciding how much pistachio butter to add, as the balance between cake and frosting is important.

Should I (A) do this to ALL the buttercream or (B) put ‘plain (vanilla only)’ buttercream between the layers and the pistachioed on top and sides?

 
Depends on the color of the pistachio buttercream.  If it’s reasonably pretty, You could put it everywhere.  It might turn out sort of brownish due to the skins.  In that case, I’d just use it as a filling and use the neoclassic specified in the recipe for the outside.

> I have no pistachio extracts and not am getting any.  I do have almond extract.  Any thoughts on if I should use almond in addition to vanilla?

  I would only use it as Rose does.  Basically, my recommendation for your cake would be to follow Rose’s recipe as closely as possible, with the exception of using pistachio butter in the buttercream instead of chopped pistachios (and that deviation is only because you need to decorate it differently). 

The cake will be sort of monochrome-ish, obviously, between the vanilla buttercream (which might or might not get used), the pistachio buttercream and the pistachio marzipan.

  A gentle tint to the marzipan might be in order.  Everything else is probably OK monochrome.

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Posted: 30 June 2010 10:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Many thanks, Julie—many thanks!

My juicer is awesome and reduces any nut to an ultra-creamy fabuloso.  First time through, you get extraordinary nut flour.  Keep running it through and you get nut butter that gets creamier with each pass.  Except for hazelnuts, more’s the pity, because they’re so dry.  They appear to have a limit.  Nonetheless, just in case, I’m going to grind the ones with skins separate from those without, since I’ve never actually done pistachios in it before.  this way, if there’s a big difference, I’ll use the no-skin pistachio butter in the frosting.

And I made Rose’s Neoclassic buttercream—with the amazing Lyles and lemon—4 beautiful batches (likely won’t need it all)!  I’ll add the vanilla and almond after the thaw.  I’ve heard vanilla loses some punch when frozen?

Julie!!!!!!  That Almond Coffee Caramel Genoise is gorgeous!!!!  Please come decorate my cake!!!!

Will do re adding pistchio butter only to the frosting, and not adding extra sugar.  This actually make sense, as it’s more similar to sticking pistachios to the outside. I’ll use the same proportions—i.e. same weight of pistachio butter as pistachios stuck to the outside per batch of frosting.

And thank you for your thoughts re the coloring, etc.  Your mentioning adding unsweetened pistachio butter to the buttercream was a real revelation, because it made me realize I can still stick to the original flavor by keeping the proportions the same.  I’ll likely be ginger with the decorating w/marzipan so it doesn’t throw the flavor off too much.

Julie, much, much appreciated!  Pics coming!!!!!

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Posted: 30 June 2010 12:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Julie, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that genoise! Gorgeous. Love the caramel drizzle, and the sliced almond around the side. Is this from TCB?

Anne, I look forward to seeing the picture of your cake! Sounds heavenly. When I made the Sicilian Pistachio, I didn’t have pistachio extract either, but I added a little bit of amaretto to the buttercream, and it turned out good. Not sure whether it will be a good idea for your cake - as you have other components there. Oh, and I used California pistachio. The picture is on my blog:
http://knittybaker.blogspot.com/2010/03/california-pistachio-cake.html

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Posted: 30 June 2010 05:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Jenn, that is so amazing looking

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Posted: 30 June 2010 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Oh, Jenn, really pretty!!!!  That slice!!!  Let me at it!! 

Thanks!

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Posted: 30 June 2010 09:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Jenn - 30 June 2010 03:17 PM

Julie, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that genoise! Gorgeous. Love the caramel drizzle, and the sliced almond around the side. Is this from TCB?

...I used California pistachio. The picture is on my blog:
http://knittybaker.blogspot.com/2010/03/california-pistachio-cake.html

Here’s the write-up for the caramel coffee genoise, components are from RHC, with flavoring from TCB:  http://www.realbakingwithrose.com/index_ee.php/forums/viewthread/1875/

Yes, nice pistachio cake, Jenn!

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Posted: 01 July 2010 01:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Anne, have a great time baking this weekend!  I know you will have a lot of fun.  The cake sounds wonderful, the only question I had was whether a disc of marzipan between the layers along with the buttercream might be overkill.  Then again, I haven’t had an opportunity to make this cake yet, so marzipan might be the perfect accompaniment, just never had marzipan that way.  We all eagerly await the pictures, and everyone’s ooh’s and ahh’s when you serve it!

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Posted: 01 July 2010 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Thanks, Loopy!  I’m sooo looking forward to it.  I wonder the same, but only slightly slightly.  I plan to make it a very thin disk.  What brought it to mind is that , in reading stuff from lots of folks who made it, they felt it could be a bit more pistachio-y.  As I’m not using the sicilian pistachios (which might be more flavorful) or the pistachio essence in the frosting, I thought this might be an avenue to good pistachio flavor.

That said, about 10 minutess ago, I chopped up some roasted California pistachios, and most of the skins came off and they looked rather attractive.  I might pistachio the outside vertical parts of the cake and decorate the top genomicly.

I have a sneaking suspicion there will be a lot of last minute decisions!!!

Fingers crossed!!!!  And thanks for the good wishes!

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Posted: 01 July 2010 11:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Putting the pistachios on the sides sounds like a good plan—it will up the pistachio flavor, and also be a lot quicker and easier than trying to place all those little dots of marzipan!!

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Posted: 01 July 2010 12:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Yeah, plus it will bring me closer to the original cake.  I’m thinking now of (A) using the vanilla neoclasic on the top and sides, (B) affixing pistachios to the sides, (C) mixing pistachio butter into another batch of neoclassic buttercream and using that between the layers (since there’ll be no/few pistachios on the top it will keep the horizontal pistacho ratio going) and piping the genomics decorations on the top with it, as it will be a different shade.  May use a few pistachios there as well.  It’s very exciting.  I think I am subconsciouly stealing Julie’s decorating basics from her beautiful link above!!!!!!!

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Posted: 01 July 2010 12:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Glad you liked it well enough to “borrow” it!  LOL

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