When people ask me which city is my favourite city, Washington, D.C. is always on my list of top five favourite places. I did not expect to love Washington as much as I did because frankly I did not know much about the city. I went for a conference when I was still in graduate school and I spent all my free time exploring the city. The year I went to Washington, D.C. was the the year Bon Appetit magazine named Rose’s Luxury as their best new restaurant of the year. I was warned that the line for a table at Rose’s Luxury is around 2 – 3 hours — and it was true. They did not take reservations but I was very determined to have dinner there. Luckily, my wait was only a tad over an hour (I opted for bar seating) and I had one of the best meals I could remember. I ended my great meal with one of the plated desserts on the menu — an english pea cake served atop a mint curd with sweetened buttermilk, pea shoots, pistachios, and violet flowers. The flavour was nothing like anything I have ever had before. The sweetness of the peas were prevalent without being too vegetal tasting. Before I even finished the first bite I knew that a variation cake was something I wanted to make in my own kitchen.
At the restaurant, the english pea cake was a plated dessert but for my pea I wanted to turn it into a layer cake perfect for any celebration. I added the pistachio component of the original dessert into the dry ingredients mix and instead of a buttermilk curd, I added the buttermilk into the batter itself. The layers of pea and pistachio cake is frosting with a tangy whipped cream cheese frosting to bring some extra freshness to the cake. I would even add some lemon zest to the frosting next time.
This is a very special cake — it is perfect for a party and will definitely be a conversation starter.
Decorate this cake however you like! This would look beautiful with just the whipped cream frosting — the vibrant green colour of the cake is a decorative element itself. Adding some fresh flowers or pea shoots would be an elegant touch. If you want to pipe buttercream flowers like the cake above, check out this Tutorial Tuesday with a step-by-step photo tutorial guide.
A fluffy three layer cake with the sweetness of green peas and nuttiness of pistachios.
Pea and Pistachio
2 1/4 cups fresh or frozen peas
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, grounded
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting
1 cup whipping cream
275g cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
FOR THE PEA AND PISTACHIO
1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Prepare three 6-inch cake pans. Set aside.
2. In a medium size pot, boil the peas for a few minutes until soft. Once the peas are soft, drain the peas and run the peas under cold water until they are no longer hot.
3. Transfer peas into a blender. Add buttermilk. Purée mixture until completely smooth. Set aside.
4. Combine flour, ground pistachio, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
5. In the bowl of a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in the cooled pea purée. Add vanilla.
7. Add dry ingredients into the wet mixture and mix until just combined.
8. Divide the mixture evenly into the prepared pans and bake for 25 – 27 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Cool cakes for 15 minutes in the tins and then turn onto a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
FOR WHIPPED CREAM CHEESE
10. Pour whipping cream into bowl of standing mixer. With the whisk attachment whisk the whipping cream until it becomes fluffy and forms stiff peaks. Transfer whipped cream into a different bowl.
11. With a paddle attachment on your mixer, beat cream cheese and powdered sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and mix until fully incorporated.
12. In the same bowl, gently fold in the whipped cream.
13. Keep whipped cream cheese frosting chilled until ready to use.
The frosting recipe yields enough frosting for covering the cake layers. If you want to add decorative elements like buttercream flowers, whip up your favourite buttercream recipe (I like using American or Swiss Meringue!) to do so