"I wonder how it is I miss
I've never known."
~ Lang Leav, from "A Stranger," in Love & Misadventure
'Let fly.' In my sometimes too self-controlled, hyaline world, I long for someone to give me permission to just...be. There's an intricate tear in the cosmos that ruptures during strange weather. When negative ions build in the stratosphere prior to a thunderstorm, earth & air are open and charged and filled with the static of endless possibilities. My taut rein loosens; worry, fear, and overthinking hesitation escape from their crowded symmetrical stable. Someone somewhere in the universe breaks my ice with an invisible velvet voice: 'Let fly!' I absolutely adore late spring and its surreal, ether filled elements.
Amid the swelling tree buds, late-blooming lilacs, and distant storms, I wanted to make a toothsome dessert that captured the lush, sylvan atmosphere outside my yawning windows. Last week, while absently nursing a second cup of strong coffee, I came across this exquisite cake from The Ginger & White Cookbook. I knew we had to meet!
I buy impromptu gluten free muffins and cookies but I'm still a bit awkward when it comes to the alchemy behind the process. This cake, however, makes a very welcoming (and enticing!) ambassador. I shall definitely tiptoe more often through the foreign world of gluten free baking.
A cosy-pebbly mix of ground pistachios and almonds gives the cake a rich, luxurious texture. The glaze is a simple mix of sugar, lime juice, and chopped pistachios; when drizzled over the cake, it forms sweet/tart rivulets that wind their way throughout the entire loaf. As soon as I took a bite from my first slice, I knew the next serving would have to be larger. I shared, *almost* hesitantly. Everyone was equally spellbound. This cake certainly took me over the moon and back again - falling in love with portals and storms, and the verdant galaxies of ground pistachios & zested limes. xo
Pistachio & Almond Cake
yields about 10 happy slices
adapted from The Ginger & White Cookbook website: Ginger & White
for the cake
200g granulated sugar
grated zest of 4 medium-size limes (set limes aside for the glaze)
250g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 room temperature eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
120g almonds, ground
100g unsalted, shelled pistachios, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g plain, gluten-free flour
for the glaze
60g granulated sugar
juice of 4 limes
60g pistachios, shelled & coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line an 8.5 x 4.5" loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang over the sides. Lightly spray entire pan with nonstick cooking spray.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and lime zest. Use your fingertips to rub zest into the sugar until moist and aromatic. Add butter and, with paddle attachment, beat on med-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in almond extract.
Add ground almonds, pistachios, salt and flour. Beat on low speed for about 30 seconds then switch over to a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon and gently stir till incorporated (try not to overmix).
Scrape batter into prepared tin.
Bake 45-55 minutes or until a thin tester inserted through center of cake comes out clean. Remove tin from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before releasing.
Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lime juice. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves (the mixture will be thick and syrupy). Remove pan from heat and fold in chopped pistachios.
Assembly: Use the parchment overhang to pull cooled cake out of tin. Spoon the still-warm glaze on top of cake (any excess syrup can be dripped around the edges). Enjoy immediately or cover and set aside at room temperature for midnight snacking.