I’m feeling all sorts of inspired by spring at the moment. The longer days, the flush of beautifully colored flowers appearing in the garden, the birds happily chirping from their perches in the trees around the house…it’s making me feel really, really hopeful. And that optimism is showing through in my images lately, too, I think. They’ve taken a turn for the brighter these past few weeks, and I can’t say I mind it! And this orange blossom cake is definitely solid evidence of that.Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

It’s nice to have that feeling of lightness and color and joy in the food that I’m making and the images I’m shooting, especially after the long, dark winter we had. And Jeremy and I also got our first COVID vaccine, so I’m feeling especially happy and hopeful about that, too. It feels like a really big weight has been lifted, one of stress and anxiety and fear, and one that I didn’t realize I was carrying around until it was gone. I’m also extremely grateful and both my parents and Jeremy’s parents are fully vaccinated, too, which definitely helped relieve a lot of that anxiety, as well!

Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio ButtercreamOh! And the 26th of last month was my 34th birthday, and hopefully the last birthday I have to have on zoom 😬 And to celebrate, I made myself this cake a few days beforehand. Some might find it weird to make your own birthday cake, but I like it because that way I get to put precisely what I want inside of it, no matter how weird or strange others might find the flavor. And this flavor combination was definitely not something you’d come across at a local bakery. Instead, it’s inspired by the flavors of a land very far away, and that land is Greece.

Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio ButtercreamGreek cooking tends to use floral flavors in desserts much more liberally than in the western world, it’s pretty normal to come across rose or orange blossom-flavored sweets. And one of the flavors that pairs best with them is pistachios and honey. So, I combined them all in this very delicious honey and orange blossom cake with pistachio buttercream. The cake has orange blossom water and honey in the batter, and *also* in a syrup that’s poured over the baked cake and allowed to absorb into it. Then you just make some pistachio butter by pureeing shelled pistachios in a food processor, and make a buttercream with it. Slather that all over the cake, and you’ve got yourself a prettttttty nice dessert situation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and that it brings some of the brightness of spring into your kitchen + home.Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream
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Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

Course Dessert
Cuisine Greek
Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings 12 people

Ingredients

Honey Orange Blossom Cake

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 ounces butter room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 cups buttermilk room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest

Honey Orange Blossom Syrup

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom water (I used Nielsen Massey brand)

Pistachio Buttercream

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
  • 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped pistachios for garnish

Instructions

Honey Orange Blossom Syrup

  1. In a small saucepan, bring the honey, sugar, and water to a boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool until warm, then stir in orange blossom water. You can use more or less of the orange blossom water in the recipe depending on the strength of the brand you have. I used Nielsen Massey brand, but the flavor concentration can vary depending on the brand you have, so giving the syrup a taste and adjusting to your personal flavor preference is a good idea.

Honey Orange Blossom Cake

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease (3) 8-inch cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, almond meal, baking powder, cardamom, baking soda, and salt. Set it aside.

  3. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar at medium speed until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, waiting until the egg is fully incorporated into the batter before adding the next one. Add the honey and mix to combine.

  4. With the mixer running at low speed, alternate between adding the flour mixture and the buttermilk in 4 increments until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract, orange blossom water, and orange zest. Evenly distribute the batter between the cake pans and place them in the oven. Bake until golden around edges, lightly golden on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

  5. Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then poke top the top of each cake 1 dozen times with a fork pour, and drizzle the syrup evenly over the three cakes. Allow the cakes to cool to room temperature and absorb the syrup, then flip them out onto a wire rack and allow them to continue to cool while you prepare the buttercream.

Pistachio Buttercream + Assembly

  1. Place the shelled pistachios in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth (like a thick peanut butter in texture), about 1 minute. Set the pistachio butter aside.

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until utter until pale and smooth, about 1 minute. Add the pistachio butter and beat until incorporated. Then add the powdered sugar and beat at low speed until combined, then add the milk and salt and raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 to 4 minutes.

  3. To assemble: layer and frost the cake with the pistachio buttercream. To create the round icing decorations around the top edge of the cake, use a pastry bag with a large round tip and follow the icing method in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sl24VWJZFMI

  4. Sprinkle the finely chopped pistachios around the lowest inch of the icing around the bottom edge of the cake. Sprinkle any excess chopped pistachios on top, and serve.

Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio ButtercreamHoney Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio ButtercreamHoney Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

Honey Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio ButtercreamHoney Orange Blossom Cake with Pistachio Buttercream

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