Monday, November 10, 2008

Chocolate Pistachio Apricot Spice Cake

There's nothing like a good spell in hospital to make you appreciate the simple things in life. Just walking down the street feeling the warmth of the sun and a fresh breeze across your face is heavenly. This is the situation I found myself in last week.

Then of course there is the food. I have to say that the meals were not bad, but institutional cooking is institutional cooking. It can never match up to home cooked food.

And given that I was feeling so much better, one of the first things I wanted to do was get into the kitchen and do some baking. Together, this all added up to a cake. A cake to celebrate was definitely in order.

This was the end result - a pistachio almond and apricot cake studded with chunks of chocolate and spiced with cardamom and vanilla. I spotted the recipe in the weekend paper a few months back. It's been on my mind ever since. It just sounded so so good.

And it is. Lovely and soft and moist. Rich with complex flavours. And simple to make to boot. A perfect homecoming.

Chocolate Pistachio Apricot Spice Cake
(adapted from The Sun Herald)

100gm pistachios
100gm slivered almonds
165gm butter
100gm caster sugar
4 eggs, separated
100gm dried apricots, finely sliced
150gm dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 tspn ground cardamom
1/2 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
pinch salt

Preheat oven to 190C. Grease and line a 25cm round cake tin.

Process two thirds of the nuts until finely ground. Roughly chop remaining nuts by hand.

Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl until pale. Add egg yolks one at a time, then stir in both ground and chopped nuts, apricots, chocolate, cardamom and vanilla seeds.

Whisk egg whites with the salt in a stainless steel bowl until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the cake mixture.

Pour into the tin and bake for 45-50 minutes or until cooked when tested with a skewer.

When cool dust with icing sugar and serve with thick cream.

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