Pistachio Cardamom Semolina Cake

The original recipe was Pistachio Rosewater Semolina Cake, from the NYTimes. I took the rosewater out of the cake, did not make the candied rose petals (but include the directions for below), did not make a rose syrup or rose cream (but directions are still included), and I iced it with a simple whipped cream and confectioners sugar.

  • 150 grams shelled pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons, finely chopped, for serving
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 170 grams fine semolina flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 300 grams unsalted butter 
  • 330 grams granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  •  Finely grated zest of 1 lemon(about 1 teaspoon), plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and grease a 9-inch/23-centimeter round springform pan and line with parchment paper. Preheat oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Combine pistachios and cardamom in a food processor. Process until the nuts are finely ground, then transfer to a bowl. Add almond meal, semolina, baking powder and salt. Mix together and set aside.
  3. Place butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until fully combined, but take care not to overwork it; you don’t want to incorporate a lot of air into the mixture. With the machine still running, slowly add eggs, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times and making sure that each batch is fully incorporated before adding the next. The mixture will curdle once the eggs are added, but don’t worry; this will not affect the end result.
  4. Remove the bowl from the machine and add the dry ingredients, folding them in by hand and, again, taking care not to overmix. Next fold in lemon zest, lemon juice, rose water and vanilla extract and scrape the batter into the pan. Level with an offset spatula and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean but oily.

(The cake keeps well for up to 5 days in an airtight container. The rose petals should be sprinkled over just before serving.)


  • 1 large egg white
  •  About 40 medium pesticide-free red or pink rose petals (from about 2 roses)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit/100 degrees Celsius. Whisk egg white by hand until frothy. Then, using a small pastry brush or paintbrush, very lightly paint both sides of each petal with egg white; do this in a few small batches, brushing and then sprinkling the sugar lightly over both sides of each petal. Shake off excess sugar and lay petals on the lined baking sheet. Place in the oven for 30 to 45 minutes, until dry and crunchy, then set aside to cool.


  • ¾ cup/190 grams plain Greek yogurt
  • ¾ cup/200 grams crème fraîche
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon rose water

Place all the ingredients for the cream in a bowl and whisk to beat everything together for about 2 minutes, until thick. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to serve.


  • ½ cup/120 milliliters lemon juice
  •  cup/80 milliliters rose water
  • ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar

About 10 minutes before the cake comes out of the oven (you want the syrup to be warm when the cake is ready), place all the ingredients for the syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring so that the sugar dissolves, then remove from the heat. Don’t worry that the consistency is thinner than you might expect; this is how it should be.  As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, drizzle all of the syrup over the top.

Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment

Victoria Sandwich

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g softened butter
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Strawberry or raspberry jam
  • Butter cream filling

Heat oven to 350F. Butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, beat all the cake ingredients together until you have a smooth, soft batter.Divide the mixture between the tins, smooth the surface with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 20 mins until golden and the cake springs back when pressed. Let cool completely. Pipe the butter cream over the bottom of one of the sponges. Top it with jam and sandwich the second sponge on top.  Dust with a little icing sugar before serving. Keep in an airtight container and eat within 2 days.

Posted in Dessert, Recipes | Tagged | Leave a comment

Peanut Butter Cake

  • 200 g flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 100 g peanut butter
  • 100 g vegetable oil or butter
  • 200 g brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk

Beat sugar with oil/butter until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla.  Beat in flour and milk, alternating in 2 parts each. Do not over mix. Pour into a buttered and parchment-lined round layer pan. Bake 35 minutes at 350F.

When cool, split into two layers and fill with Nutella Cream Cheese Icing.  Frost with buttercream frosting.


Posted in Dessert, Recipes | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Nutella Cream Cheese Icing

  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff

Beat together until fluffy.

This is enough to fill one layer cake, but not enough to cover it.

Posted in Dessert, Recipes | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Buttercream Filling

  • 100 g softened butter
  • 140 g confectioners sugar
  • drop of vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons milk (optional)

Beat the butter until smooth and creamy, then gradually beat in icing sugar. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat in the milk, if using.

Posted in Dessert, Recipes | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Pear & Brussel Sprout Salad

  • bacon, slices cut into 1/4″ pieces
  • ripe but firm Bosc pears, quartered, seeds removed
  • brussels sprouts, trimmed & halved
  • blue cheese, crumbled
  • olive oil
  • Glazed Pecans
  • salt, freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400° F. Place the brussel spouts, olive oil and salt on a sheet tray and toss to combine. Bake the brussel sprouts, cut side down, for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp around edges, 10–12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 Tbsp. bacon fat from skillet.

Season pears with salt and pepper and cook in skillet with bacon fat over medium-high, turning occasionally, until golden brown and starting to soften (they should be slightly firm at cores), 5–7 minutes.

Toss all of these together and sprinkle with a vinaigrette.

Posted in Recipes, Salad, Side dish | Leave a comment

Glazed Pecans

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 1/2 cups pecans (about 6 ounces)
1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325°F. Spray large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Stir pecans and oil in medium bowl to coat. Mix sugar, cayenne, and salt in small bowl, then add to pecan mixture and toss to coat. Scatter coated pecans on prepared baking sheet. Bake until pecans are brown and crisp, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to rack and cool completely. (Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.)  Makes 1 1/2 cups.

From Bon Appetit, December 2002

Posted in Appetizer, Recipes, Salad | Tagged , , | 1 Comment