Mini pistachio Buckwheat cakesDecember 6, 2015
These mini pistachio buckwheat cakes are just a little bit more grownup than a kid’s party cupcake. Buckwheat flavour adds grown up texture and pistachios add a perfectly sophisticated flavour profile.
December in Australia is a patchwork quilt of severe and beautiful weather, mixed cultural traditions, images of the old world and realities of the new. It’s hard to say what ‘makes’ an Australian Christmas, because from house to house on any street in the country, the idea of Christmas can mean totally different things!
For me, Christmas is chiefly about food. It’s the loveliest thing to share with friends and family; the smells and textures immediately evoke nostalgic images of childhood or the indulgent sense of the festive. There is no better decoration than the sight of gingerbread, fresh seafood, fruits and nuts strewn across tables at this time of year.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas in my house without pistachios. As a child, they were an expensive treat that my sisters and I would gobble up greedily for the limited time they were available. They were also a link to my mother’s Lebanese heritage, a nod to the hospitality of Middle Eastern households. A flavour that was both exotic and felt like home.
I’m invariably reminded of the overlap of cultures that marks Christmas in this country. In high school, two of my best friends were daughters of Persian immigrants, one Muslim and one Bahá’í. A bowl of pistachios and Turkish delight sat on the coffee table in the lounge room was a small token of our similarities and our families, and a reminder to me that Christmas was something a little broader, a little different to the standard Carols by Candlelight and fake snow routine. I think I’ll be sending them this recipe this year – I have a feeling they’d like it very much.
Mini pistachio Buckwheat cakes
- 250g buckwheat flour
- 230g butter
- 200g sugar (preferably brown)
- 100ml plain yoghurt
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 3 handfuls pistachios (deshelled and roughly crushed)
- 400g icing sugar
- 250g butter
- green food colouring (enough to make mint green color)
- wax flowers for decoration
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a rectangular baking tray.
- In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and pale.
- Beat in the eggs.
- In a separate bowl, mix the baking powder and flour together and sieve.
- Add the flour little by little by folding it in.
- Add the yoghurt and pistachios.
- Spoon into the rectangular baking tray and smooth down evenly with a spoon. You don’t want this layer to be too thick as this thickness will form one layer of each cake only.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Set on a cooling rack and leave to cool.
- While cooling, mix the icing sugar and butter (preferably with a handmixer or standmixer – makes for better, smoother icing). Once this is fluffy and whiteish – add the food colouring for your desired colour.
- Using a circular cutter, cut the cake into identical circles.
- Now taking three layers for each cake, smooth some icing onto all the layers and place all the layer on top of each other. The top layer can have a pattern – TIP: using a wet spoon for the top layer makes it easier to smooth the icing.
- Add some chopped flowers – I used wax flowers.
Geraldton wax flowers are readily available, especially in summer. A member of the citrus family, they’re hardy flowers and fragrant foliage are wonderfully festive and yet feel very Australian. They’ll stay fresh cut in water for ages, so you can snap a few flowers on for dessert and leave the rest to decorate your kitchen.
Icing helps preserve cake and keep it fresh, so bear in mind that these cakes, once prepared, should be served quite quickly. To make my mother really proud, I recommend half a teaspoon of rosewater in the cake batter – to really make the pistachios sing.
I’d love to hear about your Christmas traditions. Let us know in the comments!