Turkish Delight and Pistachio Cake

A dramatic cake with a tasty and intriguing mixture of flavours and textures. The recipe below gives several options, take your pick. All are good.

Serves: 12

Time: Basic cake 90 mins + cooling; with shards add on 30 mins + setting time

Difficulty: The cake is reasonably easy, adding the shards needs a little care.

Ingredients

    FOR THE CAKE
  • Oil or butter for greasing
  • 180g/6oz plain white flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 180g/6oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 180g/6oz caster sugar
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp rose flower water
  • 40g/1.25oz – 50g/1.75oz Pistachio nuts, chopped
  • 30g/1oz Mixed candied peel
  • 100g/3.5oz Turkish delight, chopped small* (see tip below)
  • FILLING/TOPPING
  • 180g/6oz White chocolate
  • 70g/2.5oz unsalted Butter – very soft
  • 240g/9oz full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 350g/12oz – 425g/15oz Icing sugar
  • 1 tsp rose flower water
  • Pink food colouring (optional)
  • DECORATION – THREE OPTIONS
  • 50g/1.75oz Turkish Delight, chopped small
  • 30g/1oz pistachios, chopped small or crushed
  • A choc coated Turkish Delight bar, cut up
  • CHOCOLATE SHARDS (If using)
  • 200g/7oz white chocolate
  • 20g/0.75oz finely crushed or ground pistachios
  • *To chop the Turkish Delight use scissors and have a small bowl with 2 tbsp icing sugar ready to keep the pieces from clumping together. Coat them well to avoid them all sinking when baked.

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/fan 160/350F/Gas 4. Grease and base line two 20cm/8” round baking tins, preferably loose bottomed. Dust lightly with flour.
  2. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and add the butter, caster sugar, and eggs. Beat well until the mixture is smooth then stir in the milk and rose flower water.
  3. Stir in the pistachios, candied peel and Turkish Delight pieces. (Put the Turkish Delight pieces in by hand, stirring after every few, to keep them from clumping together.) Mix to evenly distribute.
  4. Divide the mixture equally between the two tins and smooth the surfaces. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, until well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool fully.
  5. For the filling and topping, melt the chocolate carefully and set aside to cool.
  6. Beat together the very soft unsalted butter and cream cheese. Add in the rose flour water and beat again.
  7. Add the icing sugar in two or three stages, beating slowly at first each time, then faster once the powder has been incorporated.
  8. When the chocolate mixture has cooled (but is still runny) add in and mix together.
  9. 8a. If using food colouring, scoop out enough to fill a small bowl. Add colour to this bowl (it will be a stronger colour than the end-product) Return this coloured mixture to the main mixture and continue mixing until the colour is consistent throughout.
  10. Use half the final mixture between the two cakes to combine them.
  11. Crumb coat the cake. Either use some of the mixture as it is, or take some out and “thin” it slightly with a tbsp. of milk. Once crumb coated, put the cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  12. Put the rest of the mixture on top (+ sides if desired). It can be piped, or swirled, or simply smoothed. (Save any extra topping. You may need to do some “patching” later if inserting shards)
  13. Decorate with the remaining Turkish Delight pieces or cut up the Turkish Delight chocolate bar and use that. Or scatter with the chopped pistachios. Or leave the top plain – your choice.
  14. FOR THE SHARDS
  15. Melt white chocolate carefully, either in a bain marie or Microwave (Use a low heat and stir regularly)
  16. Line a small baking tray (around 23cm x 15cm/9” x 6”) with baking parchment.
  17. Pour the melted chocolate into the baking tray then tip the tray each way back and forth, left and right, to even out the layer. Sprinkle the pistachios on top and allow to set in a cool place (not the fridge.) Once cold and set, cut or break into shards. (If cutting, use a heated knife.)
  18. 15A. An optional extra is to add a coloured pattern as follows. Reserve a small amount of the melted white chocolate. Before sprinkling the pistachios, colour the reserved chocolate and fill a small piping bag. Snip a very small hole in the tip and pipe a pattern over the white chocolate, then feather or ripple it by dragging a cocktail stick through it.
  19. Use a sharp serrated knife to cut insertions around the edge of the cake. Slide the shards into cake.