A time for family gatherings and celebrations, November 18th commemorates the 369th anniversary of independence from Portugal.
This day also represents the National Day since Qaboos bin Said al Said’s rise to the throne of the Sultanate, as well as his birthday. During this trifecta of a holiday, you’ll see the red, white, and green of Oman’s flag waving freely. These colors have come to represent the geography of Oman in green, the Imamate leaders of the past in white, and the Sultanate itself in red.
Hence raised the toast in celebration of Sultanate’s big day by making a camel milk pistachio cake, keeping the colours of the Omani flag in mind. The cake was absolutely divine with a super soft texture, and drool-worthy, delicious cream cheese frosting.
SERVES: 10-12 servings
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
BAKING TIME: 20 minutes
1 cup unsalted pistachios, shelled
1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
3 egg whites, room temperature
2 tbsp full cream labneh, room temperature
1/4 cup full fat Laban (buttermilk), room temperature
3/4 cup whole camel milk, room temperature
1 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp almond extract
1-2 drops of green food colouring (optional)
For Cream Cheese Frosting:
8 oz cream cheese (Philadelphia slab), room temperature
185g butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup confectioners sugar
Grease and line two 8” round baking tins with parchment paper.
Using pulse settings on your processor grind pistachios to a fine crumb. If you grind too much it will form into a pistachio spread. So be careful not to over blend.
In a bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt, add ground pistachios reserving a tablespoon for garnishing later. Mix them well and keep aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a handheld or stand mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Add egg whites and whisk on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. In a small bowl, using a hand whisk, whisk labneh and laban together to combine well. Add the laban mix, almond extract and vanilla extract to butter mix, and beat them together.
Now add half milk and half of the dry ingredients to the bowl and give a quick blend until combined. Add the rest of milk and dry ingredients and give a quick blend again until just combined altogether.
Pour the batter in the prepared pans and bake in a preheated oven at 180°C for 20 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean. Leave in pan for 10 minutes, take them out on wire rack to cool completely.
For cream cheese frosting, in a stand mixer bowl, cream butter and vanilla extract, until pale and creamy approximately 2 mins; add cream cheese and blend until smooth and combined well with butter. Add confectioners sugar and beat to thick and fluffy consistency, about 2-3 minutes.
Shave-off the bumps of the cakes to level them for layering, place one layer of cake on top of the cake stand or cake board, keeping the cut side up, add big dollops of cream cheese icing and level it with off-set knife, place the second layer of cake on top keeping cut side down and smooth side up. Spread the rest of icing on sides and top of the cake; decorate with reserved pistachio crumbs and fresh flowers if you wish.
Cow’s milk can be replaced in the recipe if you can get hold of the camel milk.
Please use full fat milk for the soft and spongy texture of the cake.