Make Ahead

Pistachio Cake With Confiture Ispahan & Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream

April  9, 2022
12 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger. Food stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Molly Fitzsimons.
  • Prep time 6 hours
  • Cook time 2 hours
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

Pistachio, rose, lychee are my favorite flavors and I will eat them in any and every combination. I've tried various combos and this makes a not-too-sweet nutty cake with a not-too-sweet marshmallowy meringue frosting, but the confiture Ispahan is the star. The combination of lychee and raspberry, perfumed with rose water is exactly how you'd like a rose & pistachio cake to taste.

Rose water and canned lychees can be found in the "international" food isle, in any Asian supermarket, or ordered online. —GML

What You'll Need
  • Pistachio Cake
  • 2 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pistachio flour or paste
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened)
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup whole milk (room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Confiture Ispahan & Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • Confiture Ispahan
  • 60 ounces canned, peeled & pitted lychees
  • 12 ounces fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced and washed peel
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 ounces freeze-dried strawberries
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  1. Pistachio Cake
  2. Preheat oven to 360°F. Prepare 2 8x2 round pans (parchment and oil).
  3. Mix all of the dry ingredients (including pistachio paste) until well blended.
  4. Add softened butter and blend on slow speed. It should just come together in a rough, heavy batter.
  5. Add egg whites one at a time, then the whole egg, beating on high to aerate. Scrape down sides and bottom or bowl.
  6. Add the vanilla and almond extracts to the milk. Give it a stir before adding milk to cake batter, 1/3 at a time.
  7. Beat on high 1-2 minutes after each addition of milk to get the batter really fluffy.
  8. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes at 360°F.
  9. Assembly: Pipe a thick layer (1x1 inch) of frosting around the edges of the middle and top layer. This will keep the confiture Isfahan in place and allow you to layer it on thick. You do not want to skimp on this delicious rose-perfumed jam.
  1. Confiture Ispahan & Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
  2. Drain and roughly chop canned lychees and raspberries. (Note, this recipe makes enough for two layers of filling, i.e. in between the cakes and on top with a little left over for garnish or drizzling (not pictured). It's *that* delicious.
  3. Macerate fruit together by mixing in 2 cups of sugar and letting sit aside for 30 minute.
  4. Pour fruit mixture in a heavy bottom pan and mash with a potato masher.
  5. Bring to boil, while stirring gently to keep fruit from sticking to bottom of the pan.
  6. When the jam starts to show signs of thickening, reduce heat to medium and add juice from half a lemon. Toss lemon peel in, too to help the jam thicken. (Pectin or jam sugar not required for this chunky, loose jam.)
  7. Keep stirring at a gentle boil until jam has reduced 30%-40%
  8. Remove from heat and remove lemon peel.
  9. When the jam has cooled and stopped bubbling, stir in the rose water.
  10. Chill in refrigerate overnight or until fully cooled and thickened.
  11. To make the strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream: Crush in mortar/pestle or blitz strawberries into a fine powder. Sift through medium-mesh strainer to remove seeds, then set aside.
  12. Place egg whites in double boiler over medium-high heat. Whisk in sugar and continue whisking over a medium high. Boil until the sugar has fully dissolved and the egg whites no longer feel gritty.
  13. Remove from heat. With a hand or stand mixer, beat on medium-high until stiff peaks stage. The meringue should be cool by this point (if not, refrigerate for a few minutes).
  14. Fold in strawberry powder, vanilla, and salt.
  15. With a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium-high, add in butter, a few cubes at a time, until fully mixed into the frosting. The texture should be light and fluffy and the color should be a pale pink.
  16. Chill frosting until ready to use on the cake.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Niki Boyd
    Niki Boyd
  • Ellen Alyssa
    Ellen Alyssa
  • boulangere
  • Cathy
  • GML

19 Reviews

AmyKae May 2, 2022
This is, without a doubt, the most beautiful tasting cake I have ever made. The ispahan jam is otherworldly and I will be making it just to slather on a hot scone. The icing gave me fits (I added the butter when the egg whites were still too warm- popped it in the fridge and then whisked to fix it), but it all tasted just heavenly. Will make again.
GML May 2, 2022
Protip: Whole Foods has clotted cream. Scones+clotted cream + confiture Isfahan = pure heaven.
knoh May 2, 2022
I made this for a friend’s birthday. What a hit! I loved the strawberriness of the frosting, so delish with the nutty cake. I think I underbaked the cakes just a bit, and they shrunk while cooling but the texture and flavor were still great. Also, i didn’t have the right type of strainer to remove the strawberry seeds which affected the appearance of the frosting, but I don’t think it harmed the flavor. 1/3 of the filling seems sufficient. I’m a huge fan of bright pink birthday cakes and can’t wait to make this one again.
GML May 2, 2022
I'm so glad it was a hit!
Niki B. April 25, 2022
Fantastic flavour combinations! Question: When I assembled the cake, I put a thick layer of jam in the middle, as instructed. But there was a lot of jam left over. Is that meant to be served alongside the cake or do you incorporate it elsewhere in the assembly? Thanks
GML April 25, 2022
I put it on the top layer of the frosted cake, also. The test kitchen left the top blank in the photo, however. And feel free to dot or drizzle extra on plate while serving to make a snazzy presentation.
Niki B. April 25, 2022
Thanks so much for the quick response. The jam is so delicious - I am sure it would be great spooned over the top of the cake
GML April 25, 2022
I think it's best enjoyed straight from the jar under the dim light of an open refrigerator ;)
Colleen O. April 23, 2022
Question: Canned lychees in syrup? The only canned leeches I can find are in syrup. Plus 2 cups of sugar seems like it will be way to sweet ...
GML April 23, 2022
Step #1 directs you to drain the lychees. It doesn't matter if they're packed in syrup or water. And jam traditionally has a 1:1 fruit:sugar ratio (or more). The cake is more nutty than sweet and complemented by a sweet jelly filling, and not-too-sweet frosting.
Colleen O. April 23, 2022
Ellen A. April 15, 2022
Question: the canned lychees, is the 60 oz the net weight canned or the drained weight? Thank you!
GML April 15, 2022
Net weight canned. Buy 3 of the 20oz canned lychees and you'll be good. The recipe actually makes a little extra because the jam is so'll want to enjoy it on toast, too.
Ellen A. April 15, 2022
Awesome, thank you for the quick reply! Can’t wait to try making this!
boulangere April 13, 2022
Suzanne, you’ve been masterful in reviving Contests. The best recipe won, hands down.
Cathy April 3, 2022
This sounds amazing, am going to make it for a friend!! Congratulations on being a finalist!!
HRMehr April 1, 2022
The ingredients are so creative. Really want to make this.
cketal March 24, 2022
This is a question not a review. - Where is the recipe for the frosting?
GML March 24, 2022
Hi! Thanks for stopping by. You can find it here: