Small-batch baking: lemon pistachio cake with lemon cream cheese frosting

While I love cooking, baking was always my very first love. I still have fond, happy memories of being upstairs in my aunt’s kitchen, scooping out balls of cookie dough and placing them neatly on a baking sheet. I still remember the birthday cake she made me for my 5th birthday that was covered in a thick white frosting, dusted with rainbow sprinkles all over as I had requested. I sat there at the kitchen table and helped her mix and scoop the batter into the cake pan before baking… I also remember how my mom refused to let that cake be the centerpiece cake in the photos and pushed my rainbow sprinkled white cake off to the side in favor of this chocolate cake that I didn’t pick out or like. Yes, you have to remember the good with the bad.

Given that it’s just the three of us at home, and I don’t let Kaia indulge too much on sweets, there’s not too many mouths to bake for anymore. So when I get the opportunity to bake or feed more mouths, whether that’s because Chris’s parents are in town or we have friends coming over for a meal, I usually jump at the chance to bake something new. And I try to look for small batch bakes because I don’t necessarily need three or four dozen cookies, or to eat a cake for the next two weeks. For my father-in-law’s 71st birthday, I decided to make a cake that I thought of when thinking of Chris’s mom: a lemon pistachio cake with cream cheese frosting. It would be perfect because it’s a small batch cake, made in an 8×8 pan, as opposed to the 9-inch round monstrosity that was the orange olive oil cake from a few weeks ago that would require a small army to eat. This cake has toasted ground pistachios and lemon zest to give it a rich flavor, but it’s actually quite light and airy. It’s a moist sponge cake that pairs really nicely with a slightly sweet cream-cheese based frosting, with a little sugar, vanilla, and fresh lemon juice added to it. And what gives it its beautiful green hue is a secret ingredient: just a teaspoon of matcha!

This lemon pistachio cake was a beauty and a hit: both Chris’s parents had two generous slices each. There’s only three slices left for tomorrow. This cake was not only easy and quick to make, but also delicious and satisfying to look at and eat. I’m definitely making this again in the future!

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