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It just doesn’t feel like a celebration without cake, and this Pistachio-Cardamom Bundt with Rosewater Glaze just might be the reason for celebration in the first place. Buttery, nutty, and topped with a fragrant glaze, it is a stunning centerpiece.
Moist and delicious buttermilk cake infused with cardamom, a rosewater glaze, and vibrant green pistachios. This flavor combination takes the meaning of ‘special’ to a whole new level.
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This show-stopping buttermilk Bundt cake makes the everyday something extraordinary. It perfumed my kitchen with the sweet scents of Middle Eastern ingredients to include rose water and cardamom.
Not Southern you say? Well, maybe not entirely, however the chief ingredient, the pistachio, absolutely is Southern, with viral recipes such as Southern Living Magazine’s Pistachio Pound Cake hanging around on the food scene for decades now. But that is another cake for another day! Right now, It’s all about Pistachio-Cardamom Bundt with Rosewater Glaze…
Today, I am passing on to you, a recipe that Martha Stewart first highlighted in her Cake Perfection cookbook. That, and I am busting out my best Bundt pan, my prized Nordic Ware Anniversary Bundt Pan, because I am baking this gorgeous cake up for an early Thanksgiving dessert board.
Why this cake? Well in addition to a fleet of tassies, cookies, and several pies, this cake ‘completes’ my groaning board. It’s the dessert that when somebody takes a bite, they don’t know what to comment on first, how incredibly moist it is or trying to discern the flavor they “know” but cannot put their finger on. It serves 16 to 20 people with slender slices, and 12 to 16 with broader slices.
This cake is baked from scratch. It incorporates pistachios, ground cardamom, and fresh buttermilk. It is then adorned with a rose-scented sugar glaze, more pistachios, and edible rose petals.
If you have never purchased or used rosewater/rose water in recipes before, you are in for a treat. Aside from this recipe, I add a teaspoon of rosewater to most, if not all my cream cheese frostings. It’s the highly pleasing olfactory experience people get when they take a bite but have no idea what it is exactly that they are tasting and ultimately smelling.
Rosewater pairs well in almost any recipe that calls for coconut also. It is as if the two were meant for one another. I have added it to my coconut cake as well as a chicken and coconut curry. And beyond cooking and baking, it is a treat for me to use a teaspoon in addition to my shampoo to wash my hair. The fresh scent it leaves is paramount to any product on today’s beauty market. It works well for mood-altering bath water, too.
For an additional cardamom recipe, and a really great one for fall parties, try my Soul Train Tequila And Cardamom Cocktail
Sweet and fragrant rose water is an elegant steam extract of rose petals. The success to using it is to use it sparingly as a little goes a long way. Used raw, the flavor is very floral and aromatic.
Then, there is the cardamom. I have written about cardamom before. And for each of you who attempted my Soul Train cocktail, you likely have this spice in your pantry already. Cardamom is the aromatic seed of a plant in the ginger family, used as a spice and medicinally. Cardamom is the world’s third-most expensive spice, surpassed in price per weight only by saffron and vanilla.
But before you panic, McCormick has just the right size for a respectable price. You will not need much for this cake. My recommendation is to buy the cardamom pods and grind or crush them for the cake, releasing their aromatics. If you have a coffee or spice grinder, you are in business.
If not, use a flat end of a meat mallet and crush the pods inside of a plastic baggie. Boom, you are ready to go. If you have the ground cardamom, you needn’t fuss with any of what I have just explained.
This cake is one of my absolute favorites because of its fragrant and light flavor. It is the subtle ending to any meal and goes fantastically with a hot cup of tea or coffee.
In Martha’s original recipe, she calls for the use of Sicilian pistachios. They are prized for their rich, sweet flavor, and for their distinctive emerald and purple hue. In other words, they make a darn gorgeous cake. This is especially true if you are using food grade dried rose heads and/or petals.
These are specified to use in conjunction with chopped Sicilian pistachios over top of the freshly glazed cake as garnish. And, it is a stunning sight, so much so that I find it tough to cut into the cake for that first slice. It is beautiful. Lavish really. Today, I am assembling this cake minus the dried rose petals. Not because I want to, but because I thought I had a bag in the pantry and as it turns out, I do not. My bad…
Thanks to Nordic Ware’s Anniversary Bundt with its graceful curves and crevices, this cake requires almost no garnishment.
Now, about the Bundt tin. This pistachio Bundt cake may be baked in a regular Bundt without question. For the holidays, a few years back I invested in a sort of early Christmas gift for myself and ordered Nordic Ware’s Anniversary Bundt. I have two traditional Bundt tins, but it was time to mark the holiday cakes with a special shape. I adore its intricate design and absolutely want that for holiday gatherings where things just need to be a bit more special.
And if you use your Bundt all of the time, you know that in order to keep that pan in tip top shape, always melt a little unsalted butter in a bowl, and ‘paint’ the butter on the inside of the tin using a pastry brush.
NEVER use cooking spray or baking spray. After the quick paint job, dust with a tablespoon of all-purpose flour and tap out all the excess. The trickiest part of any Bundt is getting it out of the pan, but the butter and flour will work PERFECTLY every time.
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC
Pistachio-Cardamom Bundt with Rosewater Glaze
- 12 cup Bundt pan
for the cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature, plus more for pan
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan
- 1 cup pistachios shelled, unsalted
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cardamom ground
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk at room temperature
for the glaze
- 1 cups confectioners’ sugar sifted
- 3 tablespoons milk
- ¼ teaspoon rosewater ** I have upped this for my cakes to 1/2 teaspoon
- ¼ cup pistachios shelled unsalted, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons rose petals dried, organic and consumer grade
for the cake
- Arrange rack in middle of oven. Preheat oven to 350°F. Using a pastry brush, butter a 12-cup Bundt pan; dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
- In a food processor, pulse 1 cup pistachios until finely ground. In a medium bowl, whisk ground pistachios, flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom.
- With an electric mixer, beat butter and granulated sugar on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with buttermilk.
- Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 45–50 minutes or until cake springs back to touch and a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Transfer pan to a wire rack set over a baking sheet or a piece of parchment paper; cool 30 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack; cool completely.
for the glaze
- In a medium bowl, whisk confectioners’ sugar, milk and rose water until smooth. (For more opaque glaze, use less milk; for thinner glaze, use a bit more.) Transfer glaze to a measuring cup; pour over top of cake in a circular motion. Sprinkle with finely chopped pistachios and rose petals. Let set 30 minutes.
The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.
Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.