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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Honey for the First Year

We celebrated Miss Jackson's transcendence to her 29th and the 1 year anniversary of 312 square feet, in fitting fashion with a decadent, yet almost savory cake. The request this year was to honor the missing bees and bake with honey. I created a pistachio sponge cake with a deliciously rich, but not overly sweet French buttercream frosting.

The cake came out with a perfect sponge crumb, and next time I will take advantage of that by sprinkling the layers with combination of simple syrup and orange liqueur. You bake, you learn!

Pistachio Cake with Honey Buttercream

2 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
10 eggs, room temperature and separated
1 cup pistachios shelled and finely chopped

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Flour and line the bottoms of three 9" cake pans with parchment paper.

Whisk the four and baking powder together to combine. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until thick. Longer than think about 15 minutes.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites together until light and fluffy and stiff peaks form. Again, this will take longer than you think! Get a magazine in one hand and your mixer in the other. (Please! Some one get me a Kitchen Aid!)

Fold this into the egg yolks, fold in the flour and then fold in the pistachios.

Bake until the cake test comes out clean, about 25-30 minutes.

for the icing
6 egg yolks at room temperature
1/3 cup honey plus 1/2 cup honey to add to taste
2 cups butter, softened

You see "room temperature" in all of my cake recipes. I can not stress enough how important it is to bring you butters and eggs to room temperature. They bake better cakes, especially butters. Since they will combine better with your sugars.

This recipe is not for an American buttercream, which is basically butter and powdered sugar, which I love, but can have over power sweetness. I wanted to have an icing that really emphasized the savory cake and the deep floral nature of the local farmer's honey.

Beat the egg yolks until pale yellow, again longer than you think! they should be very, very light.

Heat the honey over medium heat until just bubbling. Slowly pour in stream into the eggs. Be careful to avoid the beaters. Beat until very well combined.

Beat in the butter, pat by pat until you get the consistency you like. It will be much more shiny and soft than other frostings. Add more honey until you get the flavor you desire.


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