Bake a Pistachio and Orange Blossom Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Bake a Pistachio and Orange Blossom Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Mascarpone is the most deliciously indulgent Italian cheese – rich and extremely creamy. Okay, it’s not exactly low in calories, but a small amount goes a long way and it tastes delicious. In this cake recipe, which appears here with permission, mascarpone is used to make an easy frosting for a summertime cake. The recipe comes from Bake and Decorate by Fiona Cairns (pub Quadrille £19.99, photographs Laura Hynd) and would be perfect for afternoon tea in the garden. The cake is made with pistachio nuts, which have a delicate flavour, and orange flower water.

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Pistachio and Orange Blossom Cake – Recipe

Ingredients – Serves 8

For the Pistachio Cake:

  • 175g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
  • 100g shelled unsalted pistachios
  • 70g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 200g golden caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 70g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp orange flower water

For the Orange Syrup:

  • Juice of 1 orange
  • 45g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp orange flower water

For the Topping:

  • 250g mascarpone
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp orange flower water
  • 30g golden caster sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 170°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Lightly butter a 20cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round loose-bottomed tin, and line with baking parchment.
  2. Scatter the pistachios on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5 minutes, shaking once and watching all the time to make sure they don’t burn. Allow to cool, then grind finely in a food processor.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Then, in an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and zest until very light and fluffy – expect it to take about 5 minutes – and slowly add the eggs, adding 1 tbsp of the flour mixture as you do so to prevent curdling.
  4. Fold in the almonds and pistachios, the remaining flour and, lastly, the orange flower water.
  5. Scrape the batter into the tin and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  6. Meanwhile, make the syrup; tip the orange juice, sugar and orange flower water into a small pan and bring to a rolling boil. Cook until reduced to about 60ml.
  7. Immediately the cake comes from the oven, prick it all over with a fine skewer or cocktail stick and evenly drizzle over the syrup. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  8. Turn the cake upside down on to a cake stand or place, so the flat base now forms the top. Beat together all the ingredients for the mascarpone topping, and spread it on with a palette knife.

Now try Fiona Cairns’ recipe for Strawberry, Mint and Balsamic Cheesecake.


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