Pistachio Yogurt Cake

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I remember going into the bathroom one night when I was three. It was dark, and everyone else was still sleeping. That bathroom was frightening, with the shadows of mountain ash branches coming through the little window and moving on the dark walls. The wallpaper is still so clear in my memory – such a dark-dark blue – and then the blank white space that was left when I grabbed a little loose edge and pulled away.

There is a sort of fear instilled into you in growing up a poor girl. You are told that the safe road is the only road, because it is the only one the rest of them have ever seen. If you dare to stray from it, your books are locked up, and your drawings stolen from the closet you thought they’d be safe in. That’s a lesson: do what you are supposed to, or bad things will happen.

So I grew up thinking I’d settle for being some Vera to some Vladimir with a very questionable measure of talent. Get through university, through graduate school, get a job to the pay the bills to fuel someone else’s dreams. It was safer to expect someone else to take the risks of putting their heart, soul, ambition, childhood …whatever you’d call that part that comes out in one’s work and art…out there.

Still, I didn’t smother that part completely. A teacher submitted a short story I’d written for class to the school annual magazine’s. Then there was an essay that my freshman English teacher read out loud to the class, the one on appreciating “every, every minute” – the sort of slightly silly, sentimental thing a fourteen-year-old would write.

And there it is, what I’ve been afraid to admit to for all these years. I can’t quite say it yet, it feels too arrogant to even try to dream of it. I’ll say this instead: I’d always been a reader. Books filled my head with ideas, stories. It’s always been what is real, and the outside world feels like the fiction. Silly analogies comparing writing and reading to air and breathing, saturation and focus come into my mind. But this – it is too important to be reduced to that. I know that this is something that I do. It’s part of wresting from life whatever meaning and happiness and version of love I can. To do good works and do something to be proud of, whatever that may be. To not not be afraid, but to look at whatever that fear is in the face, and live fully in spite of it.

 

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I used raspberries in this cake because – they’re finally here! it’s spring! and they are so good! already! – but feel free to use whichever berry/fruit you feel. I bet sliced apricots would be nice.

 


Pistochio-yogurt cake
3/4 cup finely ground pistachios (You’re essentially making a pistachio flour; I used a coffee grinder but a food processor should work)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup unbleached AP flour
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine salt
7 tbsp softened unsalted butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
1 large egg + 1 egg white, both at room temperature
3/4 plain yogurt (NOT Greek-style)
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground clove
6 ounces raspberries
Line a 9-inch springform (or 9*3) circular pan with parchment paper and butter sides. Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a medium bowl, combine ground pistachio, both flours, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, whip together butter and sugar, until the mixture is smooth and pale. Whisk in yogurt, egg, egg white, and spices. Add dry ingredients (flour mixture). Whisk thoroughly, until smooth and homogenous.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Gently fold in raspberries using a rubber spatula (or a wooden spoon). Test at 35 minutes, and bake cake tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean. Allow cake to cool for 5-10 minutes prior to removing from pan.
Tea pairing: A hearty black, such as an Assam or Yunnan. I chose a lighter Darjeeling, which works well with the berries.

54 comments:
  1. nandoo,

    This looks so yumm… First time here. Nice space.

  2. Cailee,

    This looks so lovely!! The raspberries add a nice pop of color as well! Love that it’s made with yogurt! Yummy and healthy! Win-win!!

  3. Wow…beautiful cake…It has all the ingredients I love – Pistachio and yogurt :)

  4. “To do good works and do something to be proud of, whatever that may be. To not not be afraid, but to look at whatever that fear is in the face, and live fully in spite of it.”

    You’re amazing, Joyti. This is such a brave, honest post. Love your writing, love your pistachio cake.

    xo,
    Sini

  5. You are so inspiring. And your writing just touches me so deeply. Thank you for this.

  6. lena,

    Simply stunning–and the cake is lovely, too.

  7. Swathi,

    Beautiful cake lovely color, nothing to afraid of. You are best always.

  8. Deb,

    Life is such a fantastic journey. There must be a reason we circle round and round our childhood dreams before we learn to honor them with our full attention.
    A precious post with a serving of fabulous cake!

  9. Ohhh that sounds good.
    You know I’ve never ground pistachios into a fine ground, they don’t turn to a paste? Or we do it until it almost turns into a paste?
    This would make a great donut batter!

    • Joyti,

      They turn into a sort of flour, sort of a moist one :)

  10. gloria,

    Dear look really beautiful! xo

  11. Such beautiful words, and so relatable! I love this post :) And the cake looks stunning!

  12. Louise,

    Yesterday did feel like Spring Joyti and it was wonderful! Rain today but that’s okay at least it isn’t snow and those Spring buds need their drops of rain:)

    Your Pistachio Cake looks gorgeous! And your words inspiring:) Thank you so much for sharing…

  13. Love your writing, Joyti.
    The pistachio cake looks so inviting and delectable.
    Happy Spring!
    Angie

  14. Never be afraid to be what you are! You will be more afraid if you can’t recognize yourself. Make a plan and bake this cake. You have figured it out so far!

  15. You are amazing. Thanks for the uplifting words. Oh great choice with the raspberries, beautiful cake.

  16. This looks so delicious and sounds so tasty, and we still have raspberries in the market :)

  17. you write beautifully!!
    As for the cake, looks amazing, something that i would like to try out..

  18. I think I understand what you mean by saying “the outside world feels like the fiction”. Sometimes I feel “this way”.
    Beautiful cake and combination of ingredients.

  19. Hi Joyti, Your unusually-shaped and beautiful pistachio cake mirrors your eloquent framing of thoughts and images; keep writing, putting ‘em out into the world. I agree, it often feels like a fiction “out here,” but it’s what we’ve got to work with.

  20. Awe…love that mould…plate..and the marbled background! Beautiful bake.

  21. Nandita,

    I am not sure what I like the most about this post!! Is it the photography, the writeup, or is it the recipe. Everything about this post is just perfect!! Thank you for sharing Joyti.

  22. Pistachio & yogurt combined in a cake…that sounds divine!!! Got to try this combo for sure :)

  23. Beth,

    I think the drive to write – to create – is one of the most basic. Writing is simply part of who I am, and if I didn’t write, I’d be less whole. Good luck to you on your writing journey!

  24. ‘Silly analogies comparing writing and reading to air and breathing, saturation and focus come into my mind. But this – it is too important to be reduced to that. I just know that this is something that I do. It’s part of wresting from life whatever meaning and happiness and version of love I can’ – Just the thing we need to understand and follow in life.So inspiring & deeply felt.
    You know, I read your posts when my little one naps, the silence of the house makes them all the more beautiful.Keep them coming!
    I love pistachios & yogurt together. This cake is just the perfect thing for upcoming hot months!

  25. I think I commented twice,my browser is acting weird today :(

  26. Sissi,

    As usually, it’s such a moving post and such a pleasure to read. I wish I could write at least half as well as you… in any language.
    The combinaton of pistachios and raspberry is quite popular in French cuisine, but I have never tried playing with both in the kitchen. I will try it when raspberries appear finally. Wonderful cake!

  27. Juliana,

    Beautiful post Joyti…and the cake looks amazing…pistachio, yogurt and raspberries…gorgeous!
    Have a wonderful week my dear :D

  28. This cake is gorgeous! And sounds tasty too! I just bough a whole bunch of pistachios. I think making this is in order.

  29. Spot on: ‘To not not be afraid, but to look at whatever that fear is in the face, and live fully in spite of it.’ – I love that so much because it’s so true:) Btw: the cake looks scrumptious. Happy spring, beautiful and talk to you soon:) xoxo

  30. I still find going to the bathroom in the middle of the dark night a little creepy.

  31. Joanne,

    Sometimes it’s hard to admit to ourselves that the dreams that other people set out for us, aren’t really our own…and to break from them and follow our own path. You can do it, though!!

  32. Katerina,

    We are all captives of the dreams of others! I love the addition of yogurt in cakes!

  33. Mallika,

    Spot on! Beautiful writing as again by you. I loved reading this one thoroughly! The Pistachio cake looks delicious!

  34. What great inspiration to do what what you’re meant to do! And, what a lovely spring cake. It looks delicious with the berries.

  35. rashi,

    Gorgeous cake!! Feel like eating it right away :)

  36. Greetings to you, Dear Joyti, and thank you so much for the glimpse into the mind of someone who is just about ready to finally admit they are a writer! I feel so much affinity with your words today. May we both find our paths in the worlds of writing and creativity! And thank you for the recipe for the lovely cake! Once again, your love of cooking is clearly just another aspect of your artistic spirit!

    Wishing you a day filled with sunshine and creative progress,

    Betty

  37. That looks beautiful! Obsessed with the tin

  38. Emma,

    Lovely, lovely cake! I’ve baked with other nut flours but not pistachios, the combo of these and the raspberries must be lovely.

    Beautiful words, as always.

  39. Gintare,

    You can’t lock up talent, especially so distinctive as yours. Your writings are always a pleasure to read :)

  40. Suzanne,

    Funny, even way back
    when I first discovered
    your blog, I remember
    thinking that you should
    absolutely dig in (past
    recipes) with your writing,
    and being a bit surprised
    when you decided to chuck
    it all and go to law school.
    So, this post makes absolute
    sense to me, who took the
    expected path and didn’t reach
    back into my writing heart until
    my oldest child was 15. Keep
    writing and keep following your
    heart!

    xo Suzanne

    PS: This cake sounds wonderful.
    I’ve just discovered another coconut
    flour and wonder if you’ve ever baked
    with it?

    • Suzanne,

      I meant, another type
      of flour–coconut : )

    • Joyti,

      Thank you for the lovely comment. I’ve bought a bag of coconut flour, but I haven’t used it yet :)

  41. Daniela,

    Yogurt cake sounds delightful.
    I love everything about it: texture, color and pistachios and raspberries.
    It can’t get much better :)

  42. Katerina,

    I love the addition of yogurt to cakes!

  43. Ashlae,

    The loveliest cake accompanied by even lovelier words. You’re a gem, lady.

  44. What a beautiful cake and the mold looks so nice. From the first photo, I had no idea how the cake looks like, so that was a lovely surprise! Pistachio and raspberries – so spring-like and I love it!

  45. It’s been clear since the beginning that this space has been more than just about the food, you have a gift for words that can’t help but be noticed.

  46. This was lovely and so well-written! I’m glad that you’ll be pursuing your passion in writing (and baking delicious looking cakes) and I can’t wait to read where it takes you :)

  47. Joyti! Beautiful piece of writing – I understand your childhood fears, because even though I did not grow up poor (upper middle-class instead, there was the fear of taking the road less traveled. Study finance and go work in a bank, they told me, it’s where the money lies. And so I did, because my young mind was too easily persuaded & influenced by peers and professors alike. But as you said, my thoughts constantly lie in half-written drafts that I’d love to finish; in strings of words that are evocative and sensual and provoking, and for me, a life without writing would be akin to a life not worth living.

    So glad to have met a kindred spirit in you, whose words are beautiful, honest and raw.

    Sending love.

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