Recipe Review

Pistachio & Marmalade Breakfast Cake from Cara and Phoebe of Big Girls Small Kitchen

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

What do our fellow bloggers, writers, and online friends eat, first thing in the morning? We are asking some friends to share their favorite morning nourishment with us. I will cook and eat it too, and bring you their thoughts on what to eat first thing in the morning.

This breakfast cake, brought to us by two talented ladies, is as fragrant and divine as it sounds. Pistachios, a dash of cardamom, marmalade and corn meal— these flavors will definitely wake up your palate.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Cara and Phoebe’s blog, Big Girls Small Kitchen, is a happy, creative, culinary exploration of two young women finding their way as cooks. These two grew up in and around New York City, hence the ‘small kitchen’ portion of their title. Their cooking space may be small, but their ability to throw together delicious food on a young professional’s salary is big time. Dinner party for 15 without breaking your budget? Read about it in their guide section. Want to go vegetarian for a week? These girls will spell it out for you. Seasonal cookbook (introduction by Ina Garten!) chock full of great, accessible ideas? It comes out later this month. Enthusiasm, humor and friendship are the fundamental ingredients for this lovely blog — with these core elements as the guide, you know the food is going to be superb. And this recipe that the ladies shared, it’s an absolute show-stopper.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

About this breakfast Cara says:

This cake was born as breakfast, reinvented as dessert, and then mellowed back down for the morning time. It began as a set of eight simple marmalade muffins, whipped up from a small kitchen pantry when not much was around. That was when we first got a sense of the magic of marmalade as an ingredient, the way it blends into the batter to give the cake a moist, rustic crumb and a subtle orange flavor. It was re-born as dessert for vegetarian Indian feast, and that’s when the cardamom, cornmeal, and pistachios got added. The cornmeal enhances the texture, the pistachios add a pleasant crunch of protein, and the cardamom gives the cake a mysterious but rousing aroma–definitely something to help you rise and shine. We ate it leftover for breakfast and realized it was suited for mornings. To make it really breakfast-worthy again, we simply cut the sugar down a bit. The cake batter comes together so quickly, then bakes while you’re in the shower. Serve it warm from the oven for breakfast or brunch, with a scoop of good Greek yogurt on the side.

This breakfast cake did not mess around! It had such a tender crumb, with the addition of the cornmeal and the crunch of the chopped pistachios adorning the top, a sublime contrast. The marmalade, it lent a subtle, moist, orange flavor. This cake is elegant, yet easy to throw together. I loved it toasted the next day with a little extra marmalade smeared for good measure. The brightness and whole grain aspect make the cake a great morning treat, especially when paired with a good chai tea, the earthy Assam and cardamom pairing wonderfully with the orange, spiced notes of the cake. It’s delicious.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Pistachio & Marmalade Breakfast Cake
makes one 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf (or use a square pan, as Cara recommends)

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup safflower oil (or other neutral oil)
2 eggs
1/4 cup orange marmalade
4 tablespoons shelled pistachios, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment and grease it lightly.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt.

In a larger mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, marmalade, and sugar until combined and thickened. Gently whisk in the orange juice.

Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the wet ingredients, and fold to combine–it’s fine to leave a few lumps. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle chopped pistachios on top.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until the cake is dark gold and risen, and springs back when you put slight pressure on the top. Test with a toothpick in the center of the muffin; if it comes out dry, it’s done.

Serve warm if possible, or within a few hours of baking.

Thanks Cara and Phoebe for contributing to our Breakfast with a Blogger series!

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