Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Cookbook Challenge - Week 11 - Mixed - Lime and pistachio zucchini cake

"What are you putting zucchini in a cake for? That's s**t."

"I like it, so shut up."

This lime and pistachio zucchini cake never fails to provoke mixed reactions. People say they hate it - then they actually try it. While it's not to everyone's taste, I'm a fan. This is definitely a cake I find that girls like better than boys, so may be better suited to a girly afternoon tea, instead of a bbq dessert.

This recipe has actually come from my recipe journal, and is a recipe I copied at some point from my mother-in-law, who copied it from a friend of hers. Both on request after having been served the cake at dinner.

It's like a carrot and walnut cake, with the carrot and walnuts replaced with zucchini and pistachios. The zucchini doesn't really add much in the way of flavour, but does make for a really moist cake, and combined with the pistachios, it also makes it quite green on the inside!

I couldn't find shelled, unsalted pistachios (which would be ideal for making this cake) so I had to shell and chop them. You can't tell they're salted in the cake, but can tell with the ones on the top of the cake. I think it works with that sharp saltiness combining with the sweet buttery glaze I poured over the top.

Lime and pistachio zucchini cake

This cake will keep for about 5 days.

2 cups self raising flour - sifted
2 large or 3 medium zucchini - coarsely grated
Zest of 2 limes
3/4 cup vegetable oil
11/2 cups caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 cup pistachio kernels - finely chopped
3/4 cup almond meal - sifted
2 tsp ground cardamom - sifted

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, fan forced. Butter and flour (I used desiccated coconut) a deep, fluted 22cm cake pan - a normal cake pan won't hold all of the mixture.
Yet it still stuck - I'm a doomed baker, I'm sure this won't happen to anyone else who tries to make this cake.

Whisk the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and zest in a large mixing bowl until they're well combined and the mixture thickens.

Add the pistachios, almond meal, flour, cardamom and zucchini and mix with a wooden spoon until just combined. 

Looks more like risotto than cake mix

Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean from being inserted into the cake.

Stand the cake for 10 minutes before turning onto a rack to cool. You can either allow it to cool completely, and pour over the lime glaze (recipe to come)  for an icing like effect or pour it over while it's still warm so that it sinks right in to the cake. Alternatively a lime cream cheese icing would also be good with this cake if you like it rich. 

Lime glaze
60g butter
Juice from 1 lime
1 cup pure icing sugar - sifted
1/2 cup pistachios - chopped

Melt the butter with the lime juice over a low heat. Remove from the heat, add the icing sugar and stir to combine. Return to the heat and stir for 1 minute. Remove from heat again, and stand for 15 minutes before pouring glaze over the cake. Sprinkle with the pistachios.

If you're more fastidious and less forgetful than me, place some baking paper under your cake rack before you glaze and decorate this cake. It will make a mess.

There you go. That's Something by Kate.


  1. Wow, what gorgeous colours! And I love that you've added cardamom...

    Kate, indulge yourself with a really good Wilton or Nordic Ware bundt - lots of sales on at the moment! Peters of Kensington and Home Couture both have pans for around the $42 mark at the moment (usually over $60). I give mine a light spray of canola oil, no flour at all, and the cakes just slide out!

    Cheers, Celia

  2. Hmmm... keep trying - I'm sure you'll figure out the stick/non stick thing eventually :)

    I've never tried making a zucchini cake before. Carrot cake is my favourite cake of all, so I'm sure I would like this one!

  3. Wow! That certainly is a mix.
    This might be a way to get my boy to like zucchini... and me :P
    I've had a zucchini cake before with caramel sauce... nearly had a fit when I was told I just ate zucchini!

  4. I may need to invest in an expensive pan, although I can't choose a pattern in the Nordic Ware - they're gorgeous!

    Hmmm, caramel sauce with zucchini cake? I'm not sold on that one... I really like that this cake isn't particularly sweet. Don't hold your breath that he'll even try it Shellie, mine wouldn't!

  5. Zucchini in a cake. Very curious about how it all comes together. A definite mix.

  6. Great choice of a mixed recipe! It certainly deceives the eye with so much visible zucchini in it when it is supposed to be a dessert cake! The uncooked batter actually looks like a (savoury) zucchini slice I make!

  7. I've had zucchini cake once before and really liked it. I like the idea of pistachios on top.

  8. Yum - the lime butter sauce sounds delicious. Congrat's on a wonderful looking cake!

  9. this looks utterly fabulous. i so want to try this.


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