It was M's birthday the other day, and it's traditional that I bake him a cake every year. When I asked, he said he wanted something with chillies and pistachios in it. Funnily enough, I got this recipe from him a long time ago and then tweaked it a bit - it was yummy then, and I'm happy to say it's still yummy now.
I went out shopping for this and I remember bringing the ingredients home, but when I came to making the cake I could not for the life of me remember where I put the pistachios. I looked in my food cupboard, in the communal cupboard, in my room, in my handbag, everywhere. I asked all my flatmates if they had seen a stray bag of pistachios hanging about the place and they all agreed they hadn't. I think we concluded that my bag of pistachios has clearly gone to another universe together with several door keys, some odd earrings, and a few of Miss H's socks. Since they were integral to the whole situation, I went and bought some more, but if you see a bag of pistachios looking forlorn and lost, please let me know. I mean, how would you like it if you were a pistachio who never got eaten?!
Chilli and White Chocolate Cake
300g white chocolate
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
250g caster sugar
200g plain flour
150 ml water
2 large chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
- Set the oven at 180 C
- Melt the chocolate in a bain marie, or in a bowl that is balanced over a saucepan of boiling water. When it is melted then take it off the hob and leave to cool.
- In the meantime, put the chillies, the water and 100g of the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, and then simmer for 5 minutes til the mixture becomes more syrupy.
- Cream the remaining 150g of sugar and the butter together til they are fluffy and completely mixed. Then add the vanilla, eggs and sugar.
- When white chocolate is completely cool, mix it in. After that add the chilli mixture, and any optional extras.
- Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour, til a fork comes out clean. If it starts looking a bit brown on top way before the rest is done, then cover it with tin foil and carry on cooking.
In this case I added pistachios to the mix, but I have done this with sour cherries as well which was yummy (though if you want to do that I would recommend chopping them up or they sink to the bottom while the cake is cooking.) This cake is pretty dense and heavy so I went for icing made from golden icing sugar which is a bit more fudgy than white icing sugar. On the whole I would say it doesn't really need a topping, but I really wanted to sprinkle it with glitter and it doesn't work as well on a plain cake.
We ended up going for tea and inappropriately eating cake. A couple of the staff walked past but no-one commented on it... I'm supposing that it was because it was heart-shaped and glittery so it clearly looked like a birthday cake. And who's going to ruin your fun when you're eating glittery cake?! We went for a stroll afterwards and played on the swings and the see-saw til we were dizzy and then went for another cup of tea. What a rock n' roll life we lead! M says his folks were impressed by the cake, which I'm really happy about because his mum is an amazing baker, so high praise indeed.