Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Chocolate Pistachio Loaf Cake

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! I think I'm just starting to recover from my food coma, but that intense feeling of fullness was completely worth it. This year, my family celebrated the holiday with my boyfriend's family for the first time, which seemed fitting given that we moved in together literally four days before. Our families joined forces and created an amazing Thanksgiving meal with an Italian flair. We started with prosciutto and melon and caprese salad, followed by an enormous plate of the best lasagna in the world, and then all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings were served. After downing a plate piled high with turkey, stuffing, two types of cranberry sauce, two potato dishes, several types of salad, stuffed mushrooms, and an assortment of freshly baked rolls and cornbread, it was time for dessert. I went a bit overboard and ended up bringing Gluten-Free Brownies, pumpkin pie, a Simple Almond Cake, Linzer Cookies, and the prettiest Apple Pie I've ever made. Tiramisu and roasted chestnuts rounded out the meal and by the time I realized how full I was, I was in no condition to do anything except pass out on the couch...basically, I did Thanksgiving proud.

While I love Thanksgiving, I'm happy the holiday is over. One down, two more to go! The holidays are my favorite time of the year, but I'm really looking to just get back to a more normal schedule. Between getting ready for the move to Astoria, the actual move, setting up the apartment, work, and Thanksgiving, I've had an incredibly busy November. It flew by and i can't believe that I'm sharing a recipe I made in the last week of October in December. I've worked on this post in bits and pieces over the last few weeks--typing up the recipe one night, selecting photos the next, editing them a few days later, and this entire post was pretty much written on the subway ride to and from work. 

I do see an "end" to all this craziness coming soon though. The apartment is in amazing shape, and C. and I are getting used to what is now the new normal. We'd been planning on living together since we graduated from college two years ago, and even though we've spent so much time together over the last six years, being able to say that we actually live together still feels very surreal to me. I'm sure it will feel that way for a while, but it's nice that we're slowly settling into a routine and figuring out how this whole cohabitation thing works. It's been an exciting and busy time, and as much as I'm ready to just have my regular routine all figured out, I couldn't be happier about the way things are unfolding.

And on a much less sentimental level, I'm also really, really pumped to be getting a brand new stove this weekend. Our apartment is perfect in so many ways, except for the ancient pilot light stove with teeny tiny burners and no window in the oven door in the kitchen. The numbers on the oven temperature knob have been completely rubbed off, so cooking and baking with this stove were pretty much just not going to happen. This new stove is going to make a world of difference, and will definitely play a big role in helping me get my routine back. Baking on the regular is gonna happen! 

But until then, let's talk about this chocolate pistachio loaf cake. Even though I made it so long ago, I still remember exactly how it tasted—like a really dense, fudgy brownie. This cake is easy to make and is an ideal treat for anyone who loves chocolate. The chocolate flavor is intense, so just be aware of that. I used all dark chocolate when I made it, but feel free to use a blend of your favorite chocolates to get the flavor exactly as you like it. The best part about this recipe is that it's both gluten- and dairy-free, so it's a great option to have up your sleeve if you need to be aware of food sensitivities. My mom, who avoids gluten and dairy, loved this cake, and my dad, who really just likes cake a lot, also loved it. The nuts and olive oil help keep the cake moist, the eggs provide lift, and the sugar and chocolate give the cake its deliciousness--everything works in sync to create a cake that doesn't need gluten or butter to be really, really satisfying and spectacularly flavorful.  

Chocolate Pistachio Tea Cake

recipe adapted from Bon App├ętit


1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup unsalted pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons chopped
7 ounces bittersweet/dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
4 large eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 tablespoon raw sugar


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Spray an 8-1/2 by 4-1/2" loaf pan with nonstick spray and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on either side.

Combine the cocoa powder and pistachios in a food processor and process until very finely ground, about 1 minute.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate and 1/4 cup water. Microwave at 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate has melted. Whisk in the oil and salt, followed by the pistachio mixture and half the granulated sugar, and then the egg yolks.

Using a hand-held mixer, beat the egg whites and cream of tarter until frothy. With the mixer running, add the remaining granulated sugar. Beat the egg whites until they reach firm peaks.

Gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture in 2 additions, folding until just incorporated each time. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the top with chopped pistachios and raw sugar.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 1 hour-1 hour and 10 minutes. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Use the paper overhang to lift the cake onto the rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Makes 1 loaf cake


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