This isn’t a language lesson. But it is a story of the power of social media, friendship, and kitchen therapy.
My friend Angela lives in Moscow and works for Cru (Campus Crusade). I’m honestly a little jealous of her – she speaks fluent Russian, lives in a foreign land, and gets to enjoy real winters with real snow. Angela and I share a passion for long conversations, a good cup of coffee, and cooking great food for friends. Lately, we’ve had Facebook chats about cake – in particular, wedding cake. She’s been asked to bake a cake for a friend, and that friend has a specific request. She loves pistachios. So our chats about life have taken a rather nutty turn as we’ve pondered what the perfect pistachio wedding cake might taste like. It would be light and delicate, full of flavor but not overwhelming. Those beautiful green pistachios would be sprinkled throughout the cake like confetti. And it would be topped with swirls and flowers of frosting.
Our chats inspired me to get in the kitchen and create. And the result is delicious. It’s been taste-tested by my sweet hubby and folks at work. And now it should be tasted-tested by you. No wedding is required – this is a great cake to simply celebrate the beauty of today. And friends. And social media. And kitchen therapy.
Anzhelina Cake (Angela’s Cake)
Makes 24 regular cupcakes, 72 mini-cupcakes, or 2 9” rounds
2 c. granulated sugar
½ c. butter, softened
1-1/2 t. vanilla
5 eggs separated (you’ll use both the yolks and the whites)
½ c. olive oil (you can also use vegetable oil, but olive oil gives the cake a wonderful flavor)
1 c. buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, take one cup minus 2 T. whole milk or heavy cream, add 2 T. white vinegar, and stir quickly. In less than a minute, you’ll have a rich, creamy buttermilk substitute)
2 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
1 t. baking soda
1 c. roasted pistachios, shelled and coarsely ground
½ c. roasted almonds, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 (175 degrees C). Prepare baking pans. In a small bowl, combine flour and baking soda; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add egg yolks and olive oil. Continuing mixing until fluffy. Add flour mixture to your wet ingredients, alternating with buttermilk, mixing until smooth. Add nuts and mix until they are well-incorporated. Set aside.
In a small glass bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a spatula or large spoon, gently fold egg whites into cake batter until no streaks remain.
Spoon batter into prepared pans, and bake until toothpick in the center comes out clean. For cupcakes, you’re looking at about 15-20 minutes; for cakes, the time could be up to 40 minutes. Watch them closely. They’ll brown and be lovely.
Remove from oven, place on cooling rack for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely. Frost with your favorite frosting (I used Chai Buttercream) and celebrate.