Cakes. Do you really need a reason to bake a cake? I used to think yes, but more recently, I tend to bake cakes simply just because I feel like eating cake. Having said that, this cake happened to coincide with a few nice things: some recent wonderful press coverage by Cyprus Taste Magazine and Downtown. (I’ll start to share these recipes next week.) As well as a mention in a new Cyprus website called Socialicious which allows home-cooks to sell their food to others in Cyprus – it’s a very cool concept. I was also asked to open a photography exhibition in Cyprus at the of June by the Cyprus Food Museum. (More on that in the next post.) So it’s been a great couple of weeks.
To celebrate all the good news, and as we were having a family reunion anyway over the Cyprus long weekend, I wanted to make something special. I wanted to combine something Cypriot with something modern, so I decided to bake a “baklava” inspired cake. I am on Instagram a lot (how much is too much?) and saw a cake that one of my Instagram friends posted – Hannah who runs the beautiful blog called “Nothing But Delicious“. I then saw another snapshot of the same beautiful cake by my other Instagram friend Julie who is creating a fantastic foodie app called “Feedfeed“.
Long story short, I used Hannah’s incredible buttermilk cake recipe and simply played around with the flavours and substituted buttermilk. I can’t find buttermilk in Cyprus, and while I have tried various substitutes, I never really like the substitutes too much and so eventually I just got fed up trying substitutes and chucked sour cream in instead. To my surprise, my baking always seems to turn out well – in fact, I would say that they often end up a bit more moist and dense as a result, and I actually kinda like that.
This cake is a really nice treat. The cake is moist, and has a light vanilla and cinnamon flavour. It’s not overly sweet, and actually makes for a nice stand alone cake with tea. But if you are looking to make a show-stopping cake for a special event, then it is not difficult to make this into a layer cake. In fact, Hannah’s instructions were perhaps the easiest cake instructions I have ever followed. I love the fact that she uses the phrase “whip the crap out of it” when referring to one of the mixing stages. I understand this phrase perfectly. More so than other baking instructions. And even her instructions on how to layer and frost the cake are perfect and easy to follow. I am very thankful that she shared this recipe. It’s a great one.
I won’t repost Hannah’s recipe below, I will simply link to her recipe for those wanting to make it. What I will post below is the small adjustments I made to make this into a “baklava” inspired cake. What I love about this cake is how well the orange blossom pairs with the pistachios and cinnamon. You have to be careful when using a flavour like orange blossom water. It’s a beautiful flavour, but it can easily overpower a lot of other flavours like vanilla. So the key is to not use too much of it, and to use it with the right flavours. It pairs wonderfully with flavours such as nuts, butter and cinnamon. And so combining them together in a cake made perfect sense to me (though many people did just ask me why I didn’t just make baklava). Anyway, I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I did.
Also note that I made a “mini-cake” so that I cut Hannah’s recipe in half when I made the cake you see in the pictures in this post. I have adjusted the measurements below as though you were following her recipe exactly (i.e. to make a larger cake, not a mini-cake like I made.)
For The Ingredients & Recipe Follow Hannah’s Buttermilk Cake Recipe here, and make the small changes I note below to make this into a “Baklava” Sour Cream Cake.
For the Cake:
Follow Hannah’s Buttermilk Cake Recipe here. But, instead of buttermilk use 1 cup of sour cream and add a heaped 1/2 tsp of cinnamon.
For the Frosting:
Follow Hannah’s Buttermilk Cake Recipe here. In Cyprus I found that I needed a little bit more butter in relation to the icing sugar specified to make this a softer-buttery frosting which is what I preferred. I only needed about 3 cups of icing sugar, and my frosting was perfect. I also did not add the bourbon, and instead added 1/2 tsp of orange blossom water. Orange blossom water is delicious, but it is a very strong flavour and so I always add it with caution. Try the icing once you have added 1/2 tsp and if you want more of a punch, add another 1/2 tsp orange blossom water. But I think 1/2 tsp tastes good.
Assemble the Cake:
Follow Hannah’s Buttermilk Cake Recipe here. Sprinkle ground pistachios in the middle layers of the cake, and also decorate the top of the cake with ground pistachios.