I know Cake Lab blog from its very beginning. I remember the first time I looked into Hussein’s beautiful world of cakes and desserts and simply admired his talent and creativity. There are many recipes of his that actually make me mumble “WOW” excitedly whenever I see them. For example, his beautiful pistachio and lemon eclairs, the most amazing gingerbread castle, and the amazing pirate ship cake. He’s just super talented!
A few months ago, I wrote him that I would love to meet and bake together, and lately it finally happened. We both have an addiction to pistachios and strawberries; so it was clear that we would make something to combine these two delicious ingredients. Also, with Christmas getting closer we knew it had to be an impressive cake that would make a great Christmas dessert too.
We met at my house, and Hussein arrived with delicious Sicilian pistachios, mascarpone cheese and fresh strawberries. After we laughed and talked so much, we just had to finally bake and made this delicious pistachio cake with mascarpone cream and fresh strawberries.
Besides the cake, we also made festive decorated Christmas tree cupcakes together, but really, the cake was the main star. This pistachio cake is made of two layers of pistachio cake soaked in a fragrant lemon syrup that adds to the moisture and balances the sweetness a little. The cake is filled with a rich and creamy mascarpone cream, fresh strawberries and roasted pistachios.
This cake is perfect for special occasions and birthdays and is not very complicated to prepare. We made it relatively small (16 cm pan), but feel free to double the quantities and get a larger cake 20-22 cm cake pan.
Pistachio Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Strawberries
For the pistachio cake layers:
- 90 grams peeled pistachios
- 165 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 large eggs
- 210 grams sugar
- 50 grams vegetable oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 120 ml. milk
For the lemon syrup:
- 60 ml. lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 20 grams sugar
For the mascarpone cream:
- 120 grams mascarpone cheese at room temperature
- 60 grams powdered sugar
- 60 grams sweetened condensed milk
- 250 ml. whipping cream very cold
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
For filling and decoration:
- 30-50 grams roasted pistachio chopped
- 200 grams of fresh strawberries
You will need:
- 2 16 cm cake pans
Heat the oven to 175 Celsius degrees and grease the pans well. Place baking paper at their bottom.
In a food processor with a steel blade, put pistachios and flour and grind into a thin powder.
Add in baking powder and salt and mix.
Heat milk in the microwave or a small pot until it is warm.
In a mixer bowl with a whipping attachment, put eggs and sugar and beat at medium to high speed until you get a light, airy foam.
Add the oil and the lemon peel and mix slowly until they incorporate in the mixture.
Add half of the pistachio-flour mixture and gently fold it with a whisk.
Add the milk and mix well until incorporated, then add the remaining pistachio-flour mixture and fold with a whisk only until uniform.
Pour the batter into both molds and divide evenly.
Bake the cakes for 18-20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out dry.
Run with a knife through the sides of the pans, and allow the cakes to cool for about 10 minutes at room temperature, then remove from the pans. Cool completely.
Place lemon juice, zest and sugar in a small pot and cook on medium heat, stirring with a spatula until the sugar melts.
When the syrup starts to boil, lower the flame and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat.
Remove from the heat and keep aside until the cake is assembled.
In a mixer bowl with a whipping attachment place mascarpone cheese, sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar and vanilla and mix on medium-high-speed until creamy. Occasionally mix the mixture with a spatula to get rid of lumps of cheese and continue to whip until the texture is creamy.
Add in the whipping cream and whip at high speed until you get a very firm mascarpone cream. It is recommended to scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula occasionally to ensure that there are no lumps of cheese that are not absorbed in the cream.
Transfer the cream to a piping bag fitted with a 2 cm serrated piping tip.
Assemble the cake:
If necessary, slightly align the top of the cakes with a knife.
Place a first layer of cake on top of a serving dish, and with a brush, moisten the cake with lemon syrup.
Pour a generous layer of mascarpone cream on top of the cake and sprinkle with strawberries and chopped pistachios. Drizzle a few more mounds of cream on top of the strawberries and pistachios.
Place the second layer of cake on top and brush with lemon syrup.
Drizzle mascarpone cream mounds at the top of the cake. Decorate with strawberries and pistachios and serve.
- The cake is at its best on the serving day and the day after, but is kept in a closed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Instead of strawberries you can use raspberries or any other berries you like.
- The condensed milk makes the mascarpone cream more creamy, smooth and richer, and it is highly recommended not to give it up.