Why have one treat, when you can have layers of them? This pistachio & apricot baklava cake is guaranteed to be a showstopper – and a snap for your guest’s ‘Gram!
- 500 gram plain yoghurt
- 375 gram butter, softened
- 1⅔ cups caster sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla essence
- 2 tsp. ground cardamom
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups self-raising flour, sifted
- ⅓ cup cornflour, sifted
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ⅓ cup milk
- ⅓ cup pistachios, finely chopped
- ¼ cup honey
Spiced apricot syrup and puree
- 3 cups water
- 450 gram dried apricots
- ⅔ cup honey
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 8 cardamoms pods, crushed
- 5 whole cloves
- ½ cup pistachios
- 1 Tbsp. caster sugar
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. ground cardamom
- 15 sheets phyllo pastry
- 150 grm butter, melted
PLACE yoghurt in a strainer lined with muslin or paper towel, place over a jug or bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
PREHEAT oven to 180°C. Grease three 20 cm round cake tins and line bases and sides with baking paper.
BEAT butter, sugar, vanilla and cardamom in a bowl for 8 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at the time. Fold in flours and baking powder, then mix in the milk. Divide mixture evenly among tins and smooth the surface.
BAKE for 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
SHAKE pistachios through a sieve over a bowl, separating the finer and larger pieces.
BRUSH cakes all over with reserved syrup until it is absorbed. Holding the base of a cake with one hand over a bowl, press finely chopped nuts around the side of the cake. Repeat with remaining cake layers.
PLACE one cake layer on a stand and spread with ½ cup of the apricot puree. Top with one-third of the fillo layers, some facing up and some facing down, to create height. Spread 2 cups of the yoghurt over the pastry and repeat with the remaining cake, apricot puree, phyllo layers and another ½ cup of the yoghurt. Decorate the top with remaining yoghurt and coarsely chopped pistachios. Drizzle with honey.
Spiced apricot syrup and puree
PLACE all the ingredients in a pot and bring to the boil over medium high heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, until apricots have softened.
STRAIN apricots and reserve the syrup. Discard spices and cool apricots for 5 minutes. Process apricots and half the reserved syrup to form a smooth puree. Cool puree and remaining reserved syrup.
LINE three oven trays with baking paper.
PLACE pistachios, sugar and spices in a blender and blend until finely chopped.
LAY 1 sheet of phyllo pastry on a clean work surface. Cover remaining sheets with baking paper, then a damp tea towel. Brush pastry lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with 2 tsp of the nut mixture. Top with another sheet of phyllo and repeat the layering nine times to form 10 layers.
LAYER remaining five sheets of phyllo with butter and nut mixture in between. Cut the five layered pastry in half crossways to form two squares. Brush the top of one square with butter, sprinkle with 2 tsp nut mixture and top with the remaining square.
CUT two 20 cm rounds from the rectangular layered phyllo and one 20 cm round from the square layered phyllo, using a cake tin as a guide. Place rounds on oven trays, then using your hands, crumple the stacks to create more height.
BAKE layers for 15 minutes or until golden and crisp. Transfer to a wire rack to cool, then carefully separate phyllo layers.
TIP: To bake three cakes evenly, place two cake tins on the top oven shelf and one tin on the shelf beneath
ALSO SEE SPICED APPLE PHYLLO COIL CAKE