A little while back, we had guests travelling from interstate to attend our pasta-making workshop at Relish Mama. The male partner of the pair phoned first to see if we had any cooking classes running specifically on the 18th of March. This date was his partner’s birthday and he wanted to surprise her with a wonderful cooking class. He wanted them to enjoy a different and fun experience together.
The brief was that his partner was an avid foodie and she has a real ‘thing’ for Italian food. It felt as though fete was at work here. As it happened, a hands on pasta making cooking class was scheduled for the very day of her birthday. I could feel our high-fives and fist pumps down the phone lines. Neither of us had ever met or chatted before but I found the ‘planning chat’ so much fun. He shared how much he loved his partner. It was easy to love them both even before meeting. It was delightful to get swept up in their romance.
A cake was in order. Something special to be shared at the table as a surprise for her birthday. So after the guests had carb loaded on about seven or so varieties of pasta and accompanying sauces, something lighter would be needed. The cake below is what I made to share. It was a wonderful hit. So much so that I didn’t get to try it myself but I have made it a few times since. It is always slightly different in presentation but it is always a joy to enjoy. It has a lightness and sweetness that is well balanced and the tartness from the pomegranates (as well as them shining on the cake like jewels) is (for me) a thing of beauty. When pomegranates are out of season, feel free to leave them out or substitute them for candied orange or lemon segments. Alternatively, perhaps serve with orange segments tossed in a little sugar syrup (maybe spiked with a little orange blossom water) and some additional yoghurt.
Feeding people is what I love. This was a very special class with very special guests and one very special cake. Needless to say – I love my job!
- 2 Mixing bowls
- 1 Electric besters
- 1 Oven
- 150 g caster sugar
- 150 ml olive oil
- 2 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300 g natural yoghurt
- 300 g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 100 g pistachios unsalted and shelled plus a few tablespoons extra to dress the cake with
- 225 g icing sugar
- 100 g natural yoghurt
- 1 pomegranate seeds and a little juice both needed
- Preheat oven to 160oC. Line and grease a 20cm springform cake tin.
- Place the pistachios in a blender or food processor to grind them to a fine crumb.
- Place sugar and oil in the large bowl of an electric mixer. Whisk for 2 minutes to dissolve the sugar. Add the eggs followed by the vanilla extract. Add the yoghurt and combine well. Fold in the flour, baking powder and ground pistachios.
- Pour mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 45-50minutes or until your skewer comes out clean. Leave in tin to cool for 10 minutes and then take out of tin and cool completely on a wire rack.
- o prepare the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and blend to a smooth paste with the yoghurt. Pour icing onto cake and smooth it out and down the sides using a spatula (I usually take the lazier approach and let it drip down the sides which also looks quite lovely).
- Allow small droplets of pomegranate juice to fall on the cake. You can let it find it’s own style or if you prefer to be more in control, use a toothpick to swirl loosely and gently to form your own pattern through the icing.
- Scatter pomegranate seeds and roughly chopped pistachios on top of the cake and around platter to decorate.
To prepare the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and blend to a smooth paste with the yoghurt. Pour the icing onto the cake and smooth it out and down the sides using a spatula (I usually take the lazier approach and let it drip down the sides which also looks quite lovely).
Allow small droplets of pomegranate juice to fall on the cake. You can let it find it’s own style or if you prefer to be more in control, use a toothpick to swirl loosely and gently to form your own pattern through the icing.
Scatter pomegranate seeds and roughly chopped pistachios on top of the cake and around the platter to decorate.