I discovered a love of nuts quite late in life.
As a little girl I detested marzipan, so always assumed that I hated almonds. Walnuts made me wrinkle my nose when they appeared atop an otherwise perfectly good cake and if I got a nut at the centre of a Christmas chocolate, I’d be very disappointed indeed. Once a child ‘knows’ that they don’t like something, they tend to avoid it like the plague.
As a young adult I rejected all nuts as I felt they were too high in fat, but then a couple of years ago, I decided to try them again.
I better understood that some fats are actually good and I was tired of hearing how delicious they were from other people.
It turns out, nuts ARE delicious. Almonds, brazil nuts, walnuts, pistachios. Oh my gosh pistachios are amazing!!!
I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on these little morsels my whole life.
Since then pistachios have become my healthier snack of choice. The shells are a great indicator of how many you’ve eaten , they’re full of good fats and because you have to peel them, you can’t absent-mindedly pop them in your mouth.
This love heart cake showcases the favour, crunch and colour of my most favourite nut. It’s a bit of a faff, but it tastes as lovely as it looks and would make a great centrepiece for a party or a Valentine’s dinner.
You will need:
200g unsalted, shelled pistachios
100g Ground almonds
6 whole almonds
250g Butter or Margarine
140 g light brown sugar
60g caster sugar
50g plain flour
- Preheat your oven to 160, gas mark 3
- Combine the sugar and margarine and beat until the mixture begins to pale.
- Add the eggs and mix well. The mix may start to look like it’s curdling but don’t panic!
- Blend 120g of pistachios, until finely ground.
- Add the ground pistachios and ground almonds to the mix.
- Stir until combined and then add the flour.
- Marvel for a moment at the colour of your cake mix!
- Spoon into a prepared tin or mould. For heart shaped cakes, use a silicone mould as I find it easier to turn the cake out.
- Bake for around 30 minutes or until the mixture is set and you can poke a skewer in and it comes out clean.
- Now this is the part that makes me question whether the recipe is good for sharing – the top burns. There doesn’t seem to be any way of avoiding this – I’ve tried tweaking just about everything! I simply slice the top off. If anything, this is the perfect base for the nut topping!
- So slice the top off and spread with a thin layer of lemon curd.
- Roughly chop the almonds and the remaining pistachios and sprinkle on the top of the cake.
Serve with more lemon curd or a little cream.
Love Rachel ❤️