We love the decorative frosting of tiered cakes. If you prefer a less ornate cake, forget the fancy piping and simply go for a plain iced version instead. This cake is not all about good looks. The pistachio cake itself is rich, while layers of mascarpone and strawberries add tang and freshness. This stacked beauty feeds a crowd, but can easily be reduced to just one layer to feed fewer.
- 375 gm mascarpone
- 375 ml pouring cream (11/2 cups)
- 70 gm icing sugar
- Scraped seeds of 1 vanilla bean
- Grand Marnier (optional), for drizzling
- 500 gm strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced, plus extra to serve (optional)
- Food colouring (optional)
Pistachio cake (28cm)
- 300 gm softened butter
- 440 gm caster sugar (2 cups)
- Finely grated rind of 1 orange
- 8 eggs
- 400 gm plain flour (22/3 cups)
- 360 gm pistachios, processed to a powderin a food processor
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 200 ml milk
- 50 ml orange juice
Pistachio cake (22cm)
- 150 gm softened butter
- 220 gm caster sugar (1 cup)
- Finely grated rind of ½ orange
- 4 eggs
- 220 gm plain flour (1 cup)
- 180 gm pistachios, processed to a powder in a food processor
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 100 ml milk
- 25 ml orange juice
- 1Preheat oven to 180C, and butter one 28cm-diameter cake tin and one 22cm-diameter cake tin, line the bases with baking paper and dust with flour.
- 2For 28cm pistachio cake, beat butter, sugar and orange rind in an electric mixer until light and fluffy (4-5 minutes), scrape down sides of bowl and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Combine flour, pistachios, baking powder and a pinch of salt and add in 2 batches, alternating with milk and orange juice and beating until smooth. Transfer to prepared tin, smooth top and bake until golden brown and centre springs back when lightly pressed (1¼-1½ hours). Cool in tin for 20 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, then trim top flush.
- 3For 22cm pistachio cake, repeat method as for 28cm cake, and bake until golden brown and centre springs back when lightly pressed (1-1¼ hours). Cool in tin for 20 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely, then trim top flush.
- 4Whisk mascarpone, cream, icing sugar and vanilla seeds to soft peaks (don’t overwhisk or mixture will split), and refrigerate until required.
- 5To assemble, halve cakes horizontally and drizzle cut surfaces with Grand Marnier. Place a large cake half on a tray, spread with mascarpone mixture to 5mm thick, then top with sliced strawberries, overlapping slightly. Top with remaining large cake half and refrigerate while you repeat the process with the smaller cake.
- 6Tint the remaining mascarpone mixture with food colouring (we used green food colouring to tint most of it and strawberry juice in the remainder for contrast piping). Using a palette knife, spread tops and sides of cakes with mascarpone mixture, stack smaller cake on top of larger cake, pipe decorations on and serve.