There are few things I like more in life than birthday cakes. Especially birthday cakes that are for my favourite people. Like my dad, who was born on New Year’s Eve, who is one of my most favourite people, and who deserved a truly epic cake.
For as long as I can remember, we’ve had a New Years/Birthday Party for my dad at my grandparents’ house. We spend most of the day stressing about food, fire, and fireworks (more on that later), so the dinner is the calm between prep and party, and it’s all about pops. This year my mum made an epic lasagna, and I volunteered to make the cake.
We have a genetic love of carrot cake on the Jeanes side of my family, but when I found a recipe for pistachio layer cake, I knew I’d found the one. We both love pistachios almost as much as we love each other. Unfortunately, the recipe I found took forever and reqired things like lard and cream of tartar. So, I took Butter Baked Good‘s Classic White Cake and Famous Butter Cream recipes, threw in a cup of shelled pistachios and honey, and baked it for 45 minutes. I also used two six-inch cake pans instead of seven-inch, which meant I had enough batter left over to make twelve giant cupcakes and a few mini cupcakes as well. Bonus.
Pistachio Layer Cake
- 2 1/4 cups Cup4Cup glutenfree flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
- 1 cup pistachios, shelled (shelling the pistachios takes forever, so it’s best to do this the night before, preferably with wine on hand.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped.
- Remove about two tablespoons worth of the pistachios to a large bowl and set aside.
- Process the rest of the pistachios until they are very fine.
- Stir the finely chopped pistachios into the rough chopped pistachios. Set aside.
- Onto a large piece of parchment paper, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluggy. Add the sugar, egg whites, and vanilla and continue to beat until well combined.
- Turn the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and buttermilk alternately (begin and end with the dry). Scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice during the mixing.
- Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30* minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. *For cupcakes, bake for 12-15 minutes. For two six-inch cake pans, bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes then invert the cakes onto wire racks to cool completely. You may need to run a sharp knife around the edge of the pan if the cakes do not easily fall out when first inverted.
- Transfer the cakes to a rotating cake stand and use a large serrated knife to cut each cake in half on the horizontal to create four layers.
Honey Butter Cream
- 2 cups butter, room temperature
- 4 cups icing sugar, sifted
- 1/2 whole milk (I used whipping cream)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons honey
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until very pale in colour. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl at least twice while beating the butter.
- Turn the mixer to low and slowly add the icing sugar. Mix until well combined and then slowly add the milk (or whipping cream), vanilla, and honey. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Turn the mixer to high and let it run for at least 10-12 minutes until the butter cream is light and fluffy.
- Ice the cake however you like. Feel free to add sprinkles or other accoutrements.
A few more important things you should know are that the people who got a piece of this cake did not believe it was gluten-free and that those who don’t normally like cake had second helpings. For anyone that has been scarred by one too many Safeway birthday cakes in your youth, you will like this one. Trust me. And for anyone baking this, make sure you tell your gluten-free friends they can eat it because no one will be able to tell the difference.
As for the fireworks, if you’re ever frequenting a beach on New Year’s and there’s a rowdy crowd singing Auld Lang Syne around a bonfire while shooting fireworks into the ocean, it’s not us.