Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pistachio Pound Cake

 Ever since I made the decision to start blogging about food I've been a bit overwhelmed with the million-dollar question - what do I cook? I've been pinning things here and there... ripping recipes out of my favorite magazines... But one night I was reading my most current Bon Appetit magazine and told my husband about this recipe for Pistachio Pound Cake. His head popped around the corner from the kitchen and he said, "make that!" So I did. Welcome to my first official blog post as a "food blogger"! (Cue marching band, cheerleaders & Blue Devil fly-over!)

The recipe is from the section of the magazine where people write in to the BA editors & ask them to get recipes from restaurants - this recipe is from The Tasting Room in Houston, Texas. The amazing chef that concocted this deliciousness is Chef Raymond Vandergaag. Well done, sir!

This is a pound cake which means it is dense but sweet and buttery and just tasty all-around. The citrus and the pistachios really add a great flavor & crunch to the already-amazing cake. My only critique of the recipe was that, in my opinion, it could have used a bit more pistachio. Alas, to each their own. 

And now, for our more visual readers, on to the picture portion of our show.

The citrus mise en place - fresh lemon & orange juice; lemon & lime zests. Well worth the effort.
The dry ingredients - it's important to mix them all up ahead of time so you don't get any big clumps of baking soda in your mouth. Honestly - few things are grosser.

Whipping butter really does make a difference - it becomes much lighter and incorporates into the recipe much smoother. I used to skip that step all the time.. what a bone head!

The finished batter - it's all thick and delightful. Even at this stage I knew this was going to be amah-zing.

Batter into the pan, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of pistachios before heading into the oven.

The finished product. By the way - I hate silicone pans...

This was as far as I got before I had to try it! Holy cats!

Pistachio loaf showing it's good sides... which would be all of them. There is a crust that forms on the top that adds a special little crunch to the loaf. It's life changing... really.. it is.

As I said, there was virtually nothing I would want to change about this recipe with the exception of maybe a bit more pistachios in the batter. The recipe calls for 1 cup, divided (1/4 cup goes on top) but I think if you are a fan of the pistachio... throw another handful in the batter. Live life on the edge!

As per my normal routine when baking goodies, I cut the loaf up, ate a piece right away... just to make sure it wasn't poison... It's what all responsible bakers do. Then I put 2 pieces in a container for my dear husband to eat with his coffee at work. Then, I wrapped the remainder up and took it to work. I cannot have things like this in my house because I would end up calling in sick to work, brewing a pot of coffee and just laying on the kitchen floor eating the entire thing. So, in efforts NOT to have to wear stretchy pants for the rest of my life, I take all treats to work and make everyone there eat them. (See why it is so important that I make sure the baked goods are not poison?!) I'd like to report that everyone that tried this was just so impressed with my baking skills. And the best part is they know it is because of my skill that the loaf was so good... not because it was a great recipe...but because I was amazing enough to follow the directions and execute it flawlessly. Right? 

Ok, enough of my babble. See below for the knock-your-socks-off recipe. Oh - did I mention someone actually offered to pay me to make them a loaf? It is true! I said no to the money... so we're bartering instead. I will have a new hand-made desk tchotchke by next Friday!



  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour plus more
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 1 cup* shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided    
* or more!


  • Arrange a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°. Coat a 9x5x3" loaf pan with nonstick spray. Dust pan with flour; tap out excess.
  • Whisk 2 cups flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2–3 minutes. Add sugar; beat until well incorporated, 1–2 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions. Add juices and zests; beat until well combined (mixture will look curdled), 2–3 minutes. Add dry ingredients; reduce speed to low and beat just until blended. Fold in 3/4 cup pistachios. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup pistachios over.
  • Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 1/2 hours. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in pan. Run a sharp knife around sides to loosen; unmold cake.

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