Pistachio Honey Cake with Berries and Cream

I’m fairly certain you’ve already heard about my undying devotion to and affection for the local Columbus ice cream company, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The place is darn right magical. I mean, they put cayenne in chocolate, incorporate Reisling wine into pear sorbet, and somehow make a scoop of ice cream taste like fresh berry cobbler. Even the flavors I’ve raised a suspicious eyebrow at (goat cheese and cherry, anyone?) have been totally delicious. 

Still, if I absolutely had to pick one favorite flavor of Jeni’s Ice Cream, and I mean really, really HAD to…like, someone is going to torture kittens if I don’t decide a favorite…I would choose Pistachio Honey.

Unexpected, right? Of all the chocolatey, cakey, crumbly, marshmallow-y, peanut buttery flavors Jeni’s has to offer, I pick Pistachio Honey.

But this flavor had me at the first mini-spoon sample taste. It’s perfectly simple, yet mysteriously complex. Pure pistachio flavor is softened by a hint of honey, making the ice cream taste sweet at one moment and savory the next. It’s alluring, this dance between sweet and salty, and it draws me in every time…bite after delicious bite.

Which is why, as you can probably imagine, I was beyond excited to find this recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens magazine a few months ago. And, thankfully, this cake delivered the same nuance of flavors I love so much in my favorite ice cream. This is a sturdy, dense cake with a nut-flour base that is complimented by sweet, subtle honey. Topped with a whipped mascarpone cream and fresh berries, this is the perfect finish to an early summer meal.

If you find yourself wandering aimlessly through aisles and aisles of refrigerated foods at your local grocery store looking for mascarpone cheese (and no, this was definitely not me two weeks ago), here’s a tip. I found it in the fancy cheese section near the deli, and it’s in a little tub, similar to a cream cheese tub. But don’t, I repeat, don’t spend 20 minutes looking for it in the cream cheese section. It’s NOT THERE. And no, I don’t know this from experience.

Pistachio Honey Cake with Mascarpone Cream and Berries
Heavily adapted from Better Homes and Gardens
Serves 8

1 cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup pistachio nuts
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. orange juice
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
1 cup whipping cream, chilled
2 Tbsp. honey
5 strawberries, sliced
8 blackberries

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9 in round cake pan. Line the bottom with parchment, butter on top of the parchment, and set aside.

2. Place pistachio nuts in a food processor and pulse until nuts take on a coarse flour-like texture. (or use some mad mortar and pestle skills to grind those nuts up!) In a medium bowl, combine flours, ground pistachios, baking powder, and salt. Whisk together.

3. In a large mixing bowl beat butter on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add honey and beat for another 2 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined. Add about 2/3 of the flour mixture and mix just until combined. Add milk and orange juice and stir. Add remaining flour and mix until just combined. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the cream topping. Add mascarpone cheese to a mixing bowl and beat on high speed for about 30 seconds. Add cream and 2 Tablespoons honey and beat on high speed until soft peaks form. Spread over cooled cake, then top with strawberries, blackberries, and additional honey, if desired.

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