Vegan cardamom, rose and pistachio cake
This cake uses the perfect flavour combination of spices, nuts and floral scents found in Eastern desserts. The use of cardamom and nutmeg in the sponge is an idea borrowed from my friend Kate's kulfi cake; I've added pistachio and rose frostings to complement the spice.
for the sponge:
375g self raising flour
225g light brown sugar
2 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1 ½ tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
150g vegetable oil
2 tblsp rose water
330 ml soya milk
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
2 tsp vanilla extract
for the frostings:
150g dairy free margarine
150g Trex shortening
1kg icing sugar
40g pistachio paste
2 tblsp rose water
1 tsp rose extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
pink food colouring
1 tblsp pistachio nuts, crushed
a few dried rose petals
for extra decoration, see note at bottom
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Grease and line three 6 inch tins.
Sieve the flour into a bowl and add all the other dry ingredients, including the spices.
In another bowl add all the wet ingredients, then pour these into the dry ingredients and mix as quickly as possible. Pour the batter into the prepared tins.
Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean from the centre; allow to cool in the tins for 10 minutes then transfer the sponges to a wire rack.
Beat the margarine and shortening for 30 seconds, then add half the icing sugar and a tablespoon or two of water and beat again. Add the rest of the icing sugar and beat again. It should be a very firm consistency. Split the frosting roughly one third into one bowl and two thirds into another.
Add the pistachio paste to the smaller quantity of frosting – you will use this to sandwich the sponges together. Add the rose water, rose extract, vanilla paste and pink food colouring to the larger amount of frosting – you will use this to coat the cake. If the frosting is too stiff add a splash of water; if it is too runny add more icing sugar and beat again.
To assemble the cake, cut the top off the sponges and sandwich the three layers together with the pistachio frosting.
Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of the rose frosting, then leave to chill for half an hour in the fridge or 10 minutes in the freezer.
Once this is firm, use the rest of the rose frosting in a thick layer on the top and sides. Decorate the top with crushed pistachios and rose petals.
I’ve used a white chocolate drip on this cake – to do this you need to chill the cake again once it is frosted, then melt 100g vegan white chocolate and 20g coconut oil. Mix and while it is still runny use a teaspoon to drip the chocolate down the sides, then use the rest of the chocolate to cover the top of the cake and sprinkle on the pistachios and rose petals.
I’ve also used vegan meringues but vegan macarons would work beautifully too. There are a lot of recipes available and I’ve had varying degrees of success with them, but the ones that work for me are here for meringues and here for macarons, both from Sanjana Modha’s excellent vegetarian food blog.