Cookin’ with Condley

Published 3:21 pm Thursday, March 30, 2023

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By Sarah Condley


My husband, Brad, and I were excited to see our family’s newest edition, Bruce. We were going to take homemade lasagna for the meal, and since pistachio cake from Martine’s Bakery is our daughter-in-law, Katelyn’s, favorite cake, I decided to look for a recipe using pistachios for our dessert.

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I love to look at, read, and collect recipes. I’ve collected so many recipes over the years that I’ve had to make folders for different recipe topics to help organize them. When I searched my cake folder, I found no pistachio cake recipes. I went to the computer, searched for pistachio recipes, and found a couple that sounded like something I’d like to try. The one I settled on for this particular trip to our son’s house was titled Pistachio Cake with Cardamom Glaze Recipe. I printed out the recipe and headed to the kitchen.

It was the night before our visit, and I had all of the recipe ingredients on hand. I greased and floured a tube pan and set it aside and turned on the oven to preheat.

The butter needed to be softened and I didn’t have time to wait, so I used a quick softening method: sit a stick of butter on its end on a plate (or bowl), fill a tall drinking glass with water, microwave the water until really hot (two minutes in my microwave) – or you can fill the glass with boiling water, empty the water out, turn the glass over and place it over the butter. After a few minutes, the butter softens. I use this trick all the time.

I used my stand mixer to beat the eggs and sugar until they were light in color and then added the vanilla, yogurt and unsalted butter I’d softened using the abovementioned trick. The recipe says green food color is optional and I did add two drops. The batter was a little darker than the pistachio color. Once everything was combined, I used my Ninja blender to grind the pistachios. I had a small container of pistachios and just threw all of them into the blender and pulsed a few times. When I opened the blender container, some pistachios were ground and some were in a paste form. At that point, I reread the recipe and it said you needed six oz; the can of pistachios I had was eight oz. so I just removed a bit of the paste.

I was stumped since I had what I’d call part ground pistachios and part pistachio paste. I was afraid that if I kept pulsing the blender, I’d end up with paste or pistachio butter. I decided if I dumped all of the pistachio stuff into the batter, it would clump up. Thinking a bit, I decided to put the pistachio stuff into a sifter and hopefully come up with the ground pistachios the recipe was talking about. Lo and behold, it worked, though it took longer than I thought it would get all of the paste through the sifter. While sifting the pistachios, I added the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the sifter. Those dry ingredients helped get the pistachio paste to the right consistency.

After all that, I poured the dry ingredients into the wet and then poured the batter into the prepared pan.

The cake baked for 50 minutes, and when I opened the oven to check the doneness of the cake, I saw that it had fallen, and I let out a big gasp. Brad wanted to know what had happened, and I told him what had happened. He came to look as I tested the cake with a toothpick. No batter remained on the toothpick, so I pulled the cake out of the oven. It was too late to start over; I would have to go with it. The cake cooled in the pan for about ten minutes before I removed it and sat it back on the cooling rack to finish cooling off.

It was late, so I covered the warm cake with a tea towel and went to bed, hoping I wouldn’t dream about messing it up.

When I checked on the cake the following day, it didn’t look too bad, just odd. I mixed all the glaze ingredients in a measuring cup with a spout. Then I chopped up some additional pistachios. I placed a piece of waxed paper under the cooled cake and drizzled the glaze all over it. Once the cake was completely glazed, I sprinkled the chopped pistachios.

After visiting with our son, daughter-in-law and grandson we sat down to eat, and Brad blessed the food. We went straight from the lasagna to dessert. I uncovered the cake, and while it didn’t look great everyone was anxious to try it, especially Katelyn.

Daniel did the honors of cutting the cake and said it looked weird since it was green on the inside and brown on the outside. We all laughed as he cut the cake.

Well, the cake tasted great despite having fallen. The recipe said if you didn’t want to glaze the cake, you could sprinkle powdered sugar over the top or just glaze it with a simple powdered sugar and milk glaze. I’m glad I did the cardamom glaze because it added a delicious flavor to the cake.

Even though the cake was, according to Daniel, a weird color we all agreed that this recipe falls into the Nailed It category. I’m saving this recipe and adding it to my self-made cookbook.

On the way home that evening, Brad and I were talking, and I mentioned that while the cake was baked, I was doing a load of laundry. Our laundry room backs up to the kitchen, and I wonder if when the washer went into spin mode, it shook a bit too much, and maybe that’s why the cake fell. I guess I’ll have to try it again when I don’t have laundry.

Pistachio Cake with Cardamom Glaze Recipe


For the Cake

• 4 eggs

• 1 1/2 cups sugar

• 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

• 1 cup Green Yogurt

• 1 tablespoon vanilla

• 2 drops green food color, optional

• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

• 1 1/2 cups ground pistachios (approximately 6 ounces of nuts)

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1 teaspoon salt

For the Glaze

• 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

• 2 tablespoons milk

• 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

• Dash of salt


• Preheat the oven to 350 degrees; butter and flour a Bundt or tube style pan.

• Using a hand or stand mixer, beat together the eggs and sugar until lightened in color.

• Beat in the butter, vanilla, and yogurt.  Stir in the food coloring, if using.

• Add the pistachios to a food processor and pulse until ground.

• In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, ground pistachios, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

• Beat the dry ingredients into the wet and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

• Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

• Make the glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, milk, cardamom and salt until smooth.

• Drizzle over the cooled cake and sprinkle on some additional chopped pistachios, if desired.