Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mini Pistachio Pound Cakes

Finally, it what has seemed like dinosaur ages, spring has arrived! I forgot what it felt like to have the sun on my face. I forgot what it felt like not to wear boots, a heavy down jacket, mittens and bitter cold gusts of wind hurting my face. Hey, I can drive with the windows down and not risk getting pneumonia. It’s a miracle!

Another thing to be excited about, my countdown to my vacation: T-7 days! I’m heading to California with one of my best friends for 11 days. We’re going to San Jose, San Francisco, Napa, and then LA. Also part of our itinerary: tons of eating, drinking, dancing, picture-taking, tanning, and repeat it all over again. We’ve been planning this for more than half a year and we’re absolutely stoked! We made reservations for Angele and Tartine. Omg!Can’tfreakingwait.

I’ve been good at keeping up my workout routine, swimming a few days a week along with high-intensity interval training. I’ve been eating fairly healthy, lots of fruit and vegetables and my protein shakes in the morning (except on weekends when I just can’t refuse beer and pizza). My motivation is California, I keep daydreaming about frolicking on the beach, running like a madwoman and diving into the ocean. But that hasn't kept me from baking.

Orangette shared this recipe and it caught my attention right away (she has a new book coming out, I've already pre-ordered it, can't wait!). I looked up other pistachio-worthy desserts, like a chocolate pistachio tart or pistachio sables, but I kept coming back to this pound cake. 

These cakes are dense and dotted with pistachios inside and out. The nuts give a beautiful floral flavor and with plenty of citrus, they make for an excellent snack. The top of the cakes have a lovely shell, similar to the crusty muffin tops that I love so much. I ate these for breakfast with a smear of apricot jam. I gave them away to my coworker who texted me the next day raving about them. I love compliments.

Mini Pistachio Pound Cakes
Adapted from Molly Wizenberg of Orangette

I dialed down the sugar and used more pistachios to sprinkle on top of the cakes. I made about 20 mini pound cakes. They keep well in an airtight container. 

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ¾ 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 ½ cup shelled, unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped, divided

Center a rack in middle of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line muffin liners in a muffin pan.

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. Using 1/3 measuring cup, evenly pour batter into individual muffin cups and evenly sprinkle remaining pistachios over each cake.

Bake cakes, rotating halfway through, until a tester inserted into a cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely in the pan.

Recipe here!

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