Moist and crumbly Pistachio Meringue Cake with not so overly sweet Mascarpone Lemon Curd Frosting! This was my husband’s birthday cake last week. The cake is pretty good on it’s own but I had to make it look pretty. The candied orange along with few a meringue cookie were the perfect little effortless toppings that went beautifully with the cake. We all loved the cake, including our little fella who doesn’t approve any cake that doesn’t include chocolate in it.
Arvind and I are not much of tradition followers and we often tend to miss the traditions. But, if there is one ritual that we have been following, ever since we met and fell in love, was to bake each other’s birthday cake. Trust me, we are very low key when it comes to such celebrations. We don’t even do mandatory gifts. However, the cake has always been there and we both find a certain amount of joy in baking each other’s birthday cake!
The Pistachio Meringue Cake from the book – Taste & Technique.
This Pistachio Meringue Cake is the first complicated cake I have ever baked. I am calling it complicated only because it’s not one of those one-bowl-cakes that I often go for. It’s complicated because you need to know how to whisk meringue to that perfect glossy stiff texture before it gets added to the dry ingredients. There is no baking powder or baking soda and this meringue gives a beautiful moist texture to the cake. The recipe is from the book and the cake came out just perfect. I would happily enjoy the cake just, as is, with a cup of tea. But, a birthday cake calls for décor and frosting and probably some toppings too.
The frosting was easy to put together. I wanted some citric flavor, which I feel goes very well with pistachio. So, I whisked mascarpone cheese with lemon curd. Super quick and tastes just divine! I didn’t want to overload the cake with frosting and so, I made just enough to seal the layers and cover the crumbs.
As there was lemon curd in the frosting, I figured candied lemons would be a good pairing. There was meringue in the cake batter and so, I made some meringue cookies to add on top. I shaped some of the meringue cookies as drops using a piping bag and spread the rest casually to create meringue chards.
For someone who doesn’t bake a fancy cake, I was over the moon happy when everything came together neatly and most importantly, tasted divine. The birthday boy loved it and also our little fella approved. I am pretty sure I will repeat the cake very soon!
Pistachio Meringue Cake with Mascarpone Lemon Curd Frosting
for the cake
- 10 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup pistachio (unsalted and shelled)
- 1¼ cup white sugar
- ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
- 6 egg whites
- ½ teaspoon salt
for the frosting
- 1 cup room temperature mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- ½ cup lemon curd (Here is the link)
for candied orange
- 2 small lemons
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
for the meringue cookies
- 2 egg whites
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
for the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and grease two 6-inch round cake pans. Place a round parchment paper at the bottom of the pans.
- Grind the pistachio to a powder consistency. I preferred using a coffee grinder rather than a food processor.
- To a big mixing bowl, add the ground pistachio (save 1 teaspoon to dust on top for garnish), flour and salt. Give it a mix.
- Melt the butter and keep it aside.
- Using a stand mixer, whisk the egg whites at medium speed for 1 minute or until it looks a little frothy. Then, increase the speed to medium and add the sugar little by little and continue whisking. Once you are done adding all the sugar, stop the mixer and using a rubber spatula, scrape the side of the bowl. Whisk again for about 8 minutes or until the egg whites are stiff and glossy.
- Add little of the egg white mixture to the flour mixture and start folding slowly. This process will take time and as you keep adding egg whites little by little, the consistency of the batter will get better. Finally, add the melted butter and fold again to mix everything. (Don’t rush this step and take your time)
- Divide the cake batter into the prepared pans and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes. The cake will rise a bit and then, it will settle down to a flat top. Let the cake cool down completely before you take it out of the pan.
for the Meringue Cookies and chards
- Preheat the oven to 225F and line a big cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- In your mixing bowl, pour the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Start whisking slowly and then increase the speed to medium until the mixture looks frothy.
- Pour 1 tablespoon of sugar, increase the speed to high and keep whisking. After every 20 seconds, add 1tablespoon of sugar without stopping the mixer and continue whisking. Repeat the process until you have added all the sugar.
- In about 5 to 7 minutes, it would look glossy and form stiff peak.
- Using a piping bag pipe half of the meringue into drops to make meringue cookies. As for the meringue chard spread the meringue using a spatula.
- Place the cookie sheets in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Then, switch off the oven and let it rest in the warm oven for an extra hour.
for the frosting:
- Whisk mascarpone and heavy cream at medium speed until it looks thick and spreadable. Add the lemon curd and whisk 1 more time.
- Once the cake has cooled down completely, you can divide each cake into 2 layers or leave as is, depending on your preference. Spread the frosting evenly between the layers of the cake. I did a very thin layer on the side of the cake and piped a little on top. You can go with your choice of frosting design.
for the candied lemon slices:
- Slice the lemons into very thin slices. Place a heavy bottom skillet on medium heat. Pour water and sugar and bring it to a boil. Drop the lemon slices, bring the heat to medium low and let it simmer for 30 to 40 minutes. Once done, place the lemon slices on a cookie wire rack. It will take about 4 to 5 hours to set and cool down.
- Top the cake with candied lemons, meringue cookies and meringue chards. Sprinkle the remaining pistachio powder on top and it’s ready.