Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
150 g (5oz) unsalted shelled pistachios
225 g (8oz) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
100 g (31/2 oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225 g (8oz) caster sugar
100 ml (31/2 fl oz) milk
finely grated zest of 2 oranges
double or regular cream, whipped, or greek yoghurt, to serve
for the glaze
juice of 1 orange
100 g (31/2 oz) soft light brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4), then butter the sides of the cake tin and line the base with a disc of baking parchment.
Place 100g (31?2oz) of the pistachios in a food processor and pulse a good few times until coarsely ground. Tip into a large bowl and sift in the flour and the baking powder, mixing together to combine.
Cream the butter until soft in a separate bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl for a few seconds or just until mixed, then gradually add these to the creamed butter mixture, beating all the time.
Next beat in the milk and orange zest, then tip in the ground pistachios and flour and fold gently to combine. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the surface with a spatula.
Bake for 30–40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is in the oven, make the glaze.
Place the orange juice and sugar in a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved, then bring to the boil and immediately remove from the heat.
When the cake is cooked, take it out of the oven and let it sit in the tin for just 5 minutes. Loosening around the edges using a small, sharp knife, carefully remove the cake from the tin and transfer to a serving plate.
Straight away pour the hot glaze over the cake (reheating it if it has had a chance to cool down), chop the remaining pistachios and scatter over the cake to decorate, then allow to cool completely while soaking up the glaze. Serve with a spoonful of softly whipped cream or natural Greek yoghurt.