Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Accidental Cake: Love At First Slice

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

ADDED NOTE: For those of you who have been asking where I got these gorgeous paper cases, you can buy them at any specialised kitchen/baking supply store. If you are from NSW, VIC or the ACT then it will probably help to know that I got these ones from
The Essential Ingredient.

Contrary to what the title suggests, this cake never came to me through any sort of serendipity or eureka. It was by no means an inadvertent light bulb moment, but simply came about through pure chance; completely unintended and coincidental. Yet through this fortuity, this cake has afforded itself as one of my favourite gastronomic finds of late, tipped to become a staple in my kitchen and on future menus.

The story of how the cake found its way on my kitchen table starts several months ago after receiving an email from a reader, K. She was looking for a “chocolate marbled pistachio cake” that she stumbled across while skimming through several food blogs, but could not remember exactly where she found it. She suspected that perhaps the recipe was posted on my blog. After disappointing both her and myself that no such recipe was posted on this blog, I sent off a reply bidding K good luck in her search. And as luck would have it, I received another email from K not long after, informing me that she found the recipe after all- at this blog.

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

To be embarrassingly honest, I didn’t care much that K had found the recipe she had earnestly been looking for; I was too busy being secretly flattered that she would even mistake my blog for Heidi’s. It’s quite laughable, especially when they are eons away from each other in more ways than one. So after being more than pleasantly surprised, I skip over to the exact post. That is where fate takes it’s course and the rest is as they say, history.

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

As chance would have it, I immediately fall in love with the cake. If love at first sight could be had between one and a cake, then I can vouch that it was one of those moments. I have only made this cake once, but at the risk of sounding morbid, if a gun was pulled to my head and it was demanded that I could only make one cake for the rest of my life, this would be the one. As drastic as that sounds this cake is worth forsaking all others. It’s enough to force cake-monogamy on anyone and if you haven’t tried it yet, then you won’t really understand what all this swooning and gushing is all about.

The cake consists of two layers, a moist chocolate cake and a fluffy pistachio speckled cake on top and sandwiched in between is a thin layer of melted chocolate chips. The flavour equation is quite simple but utterly genius at the same time, chocolate and pistachios marry incredibly well together. The recipe is the brainchild of baker/blogger extraordinaire Clotilde of Chocolate and Zucchini. From Clotilde to Heidi and then to me, the cake has gone through a few transformations but the effect remains unchanged, luscious, calorific indulgence.

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

The beauty of this surprise cake is that you can modify the “surprise” to fit your fancy. You can, like Clotilde, envelope the pistachio batter in the chocolate and create a pistachio- green surprise with a little chocolate swirl inside; or like Heidi, cover the chocolate batter with the pistachio one to create a chocolaty surprise.

In these little individual cakes, I decided to make the melted chocolate centre the surprise, so I increased the amount of chocolate chips I used to 1 cup so that the melted chocolate layer would when digging into the cake be considerably pronounced. This I found worked out in my favour after “oohs” and “ahhs” resonated across the dinner table at the discovery of the gooey centre.

Chocolate and Pistachio Cake

The cake was a resounding triumph and the benefit is it comes with little effort. Indeed, you have to make two separate batters but if you have an electric mixer or food processor, most of the work is done at the push of a button. I won’t talk about the cleaning up after; let’s leave that to your imagination.

This seductive treat is sure to turn anyone’s affections, and if you were in fact seeking to turn someone’s affections, then this would be the perfect lure. I hope that you do get to try this cake some time; whatever surprise route you wish to take, the guarantee is that it never disappoints. This is one accident that I really am glad happened. Thank you K.

This cake is also my entry to this month's SHF: The Sweetest Thing- a call for all bloggers to submit all their can't-live-without dessert recipes. Check out the round-up coming soon on The Domestic Goddess.

Gateau Surprise Chocolat Pistache
adapted from this blog
makes 12 little cakes

Gateau Surprise Chocolat Pistache

270g plain all-purpose flour, divided in half
2 tsp baking powder, divided in half
1 tsp baking soda, divided in half
150g unsalted butter, room temperature, divided in half
250g caster sugar, divided in half
4 eggs
1½ cups plain yoghurt or sour cream, divided in half
1½ tsp vanilla extract, divided in half
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup shelled pistachio, chopped finely

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease a 25cm springform cake pan, or alternatively prepare 12 small paper cake cases.

Prepare the chocolate batter first. In a food processor mix together half of the sugar, butter until fluffy.
Add in two eggs one at a time, pulsing in between each addition.
Add in half of the yoghurt and the vanilla extract, pulse again.
In a medium bowl, combine half of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and all of the cocoa powder.
Add the flour mixture into the food processor and mix again until the flour is just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the cake pan, or if you are using the paper cake cases, then using an ice cream scoop, place one scoop of batter into each paper case.
Place the chocolate batter into the fridge.

Rinse the bowl of the food processor and prepare the pistachio batter.
Mix together the rest of the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add in the last two eggs one at a time, pulsing in between each addition.
Add the remaining yoghurt and pulse again.
In a medium bowl, combine the rest of the flour, baking powder, baking soda and all of the chopped pistachios.
Add this flour mixture into the batter and process again until the flour is just combined.

Remove the chocolate batter from the fridge and sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly and liberally over the surface of the batter.
Gently pour over the pistachio batter on top of the chocolate chips, or alternatively if you are using the paper cases, then use an ice scoop to place the pistachio batter on top.
Smooth out the surface using a spatula.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or if you are making the individual cakes, then for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Making the cake...


browniegirl said...

collobeAhhhh........what glorious little cakes. And I love your paper cases! It is still Saturday night here so I know what I will be doing Sunday :) Thanks, I am so glad you "accidented" upon this recipe!!

Helene said...

Absolutely gorgeous! The photos are stunning and the cakes are way too splendid. With such an love proclamation I MUST make it!

Anonymous said...


I relly like to try this recipe , but , where can i find paper cases ??

Squishy said...

These look lovely chick. I love the green it looks so inviting. MMMMMMMmmmmmmm Yummo!

Anonymous said...

Jenjen, your cake sounds absolutely divine (as do all your recipes), but when I was adding it to my recipe collection, I noticed that the yoghurt doesn't actually have a measurement attached to it. I've assumed it's cups?

Anonymous said...

Stunning photos! I love the combination of ingredients. A very happy accident, I would say...

Anonymous said...

They look really gorgeous! I wish I live nearby you...

Hanoimuathuhn_hcm said...

Hi there,I have one case which needs your advise. Is it true that with cookines which we roll it into a log and cut it, we shoudn't use baking powder. Where as with cookied we roll into a small ball & bake it, we can use baking powder. And the moisture of these 2 kind is different, is that right?

Twelfthknit said...

I think this cake is next on my list - can yuo tell me where you get your cake cases? I think the presentation looks so much better like that.

anna/village vegan said...

Love at first sight! That looks SO yummy. Thanks for sharing the story.

Unknown said...

Methinks you're being a little too modest! Both cake and blog are a beautiful thing.

Anonymous said...

Gosh.. jenjen. The way you describes the cakes. I can almost find myself drooling over these nice cuppies.

I gotta agree, you've got some really nice looking cup case.

It seems to be a pistachio craze now, isn't it? At least here in Singapore. Hehe..

Anonymous said...

oh my god, this cake looks amazing! I am in "love" wih it as well. It seems just perfect.

Oh for the love of food! said...

Jenjen, these babycakes look awesome! The recipe is very interesting too. I love the way you've layered the different batters and the chocolate chips.

myCoffee said...

Awesome looking cakes. Saving the recipe for later use. Thanks for sharing! :)

Anonymous said...

they seem really delicious!

wheresmymind said...

You really eat the cake with that little wooden spoon??? ;)

Cheryl said...

So adorable and that chocolate looks so good and gooey. Your presentation is always drool worthy.

Anonymous said...

I knew about these papers but I did not know that they will stand by themselves on a cookie sheet. I had looked for a slim and tall pan to make tubular muffins without success. You may have solved my problem.

A chocolate and pistachio cake, I want some.

Anonymous said...

I agree that this cake is on the menu for this weekend. I also love the paper cases but haven't come across them. Any thoughts jenjen on where I might look for these in Sydney?

Thanks for the inspiration :-)

Susan in Italy said...

Lovely little pannettone-esque things you've got there!

Patricia Scarpin said...

What a wonderful recipe, Jenjen - I would love to have a taste!

Liz :) said...

This looks sensational! And I love, absolutely love the way you describe your food...!!! :)))

Btw - where do you buy these little cake cases? I've been trying to find them! I live in Perth, Western Australia! :) Thanks!

ioyces said...

hi Jenjen! I was very intrigued by your description...that they will be perfect for winning someone's they are THAT good!!! :)
perhaps u can consider renaming it...
with the words, 'love', 'romance' or something similar!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the shot of the crumb at the edge. Great use of depth of field.

Robyn said...

Wow, those look fabulous! And you've tempted me into making them, which I'll be doing today. Thanks for such a lovely post.

Jerry said...

You my dear should open up a bakery. I'd make a special visit down under to eat one of your goodies!

Stepmom said...

just gorgeous! i need to get some of those paper cups!

Unknown said...

I made this last night as a single 9 inch cake for my husband's birthday. We both loved it. It was the perfect amount of sweet. The only change I made was adding the chocolate ganache described in the original recipe (which was really good, but I can see it tasting just as wonderful without). Thanks!

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

anyone looking for these paper cases, it might help to know that they're called "panettone" or "panattone" i was able to find a US supplier that way.