Pistachio, coconut and lime cake


I don't remember at which point I stopped buying magazines and newspapers, the internet slowly took over and became my main source of information of all kind. I used to buy them at the station while I was commuting a lot, but my interest in their content usually lasted a train journey. I would either leave them behind on a train, or at the office.Then I got a Kindle, and electronic pages left hardly any room for the good old print in my life. And that gap was reserved for the books, which I still prefer the old fashioned way.
Then, a few weeks ago I found myself in a shop flicking and reading through magazines for almost an hour, like a child, amazed by glossy, perfectly edited food pictures, and cross with myself for missing the beauty of it for such a long time. Hungry for the latest baking trends, I ended up buying  almost every single available magazine. Of course that I didn't have the time to look into all of them properly, but one page caught my eye, before I had even bought the magazine. It was the beautiful picture of a Pistachio, coconut and lime cake, accompanied with an excellent recipe by Annie Rigg in "Baking Heaven". The cake has immediately gone into my favourite tea time bakes. It ticks all boxes: it's easy to make, it's delicious and looks so pretty. I kept taking pictures of the cake and could not decide which one to leave out and as you could see, decided to post all of them (almost).

For decoration, the original recipe called for the crystallised rose petals and fresh coconut shaves. Since I had only chemically treated roses and did not have knife sharp enough to crack open a coconut, my dried rose buds and the store bought, large coconut flakes worked just fine.

It has a moist and crumbly texture.

The rosebuds are better left for a tea. 

Pistachio, coconut and lime cake

175 g shelled, unsalted pistachio nuts
75 g desiccated coconut
the finely grated zest of 2 limes
freshly squeezed juice of 1 lime
125 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
225 g softened unsalted butter
225 g fine caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
1 tsp rose water
To decorate
 1/2 fresh coconut/or 2 tbsp of large coconut flakes (shaves)
zest and juice of 2 limes
250 g icing sugar
50 g shelled, chopped pistachio nuts
dry rose buds or crystallised rose petals

Preheat the oven to 180 C /gas mark 4 and grease and lightly flour a 23 cm (9 in)rink cake mould.
Pulse the pistachio nuts in a food processor until finely chopped, then mix with the coconut and lime zest. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Beat the butter with sugar until fluffy and creamy, add the beaten eggs gradually, mix to combine and add the rose water. Now, add the pistachio nuts, coconut and lime zest and the dry ingredients, then the lime juice and mix until smooth.
Bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 40 minutes. leave to cool in the tin, then take it out on a wire rack. 
To decorate, beat the lime juice and zest with icing sugar to make smooth paste, thick enough to drip over the edges of the cake. Place the cake on a plate and spoon the icing to cover the top, allowing some to drip over the sides. Leave to set.
Chop some pistachio nuts and sprinkle them along with the rose buds and coconut flakes on the top of the cake. If you are using freshly shaved coconut strips, toasts them over moderate heat, in the oven for 10 minutes until lightly golden.
To crystallise rose petals, or other edible flower, beat one egg white lightly until it's foamy, put a few tablespoons of caster sugar in a separate bowl. Using a brush, coat both sides with the egg white, one petal (flower) at the time. Sprinkle with sugar all over it. Leave to dry for couple of hours, over night if possible.

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