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Pistachio and coconut barfi cake

Pistachio and coconut barfi cake
    • Prep time:
    • Cooking time:
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  • Serves: 12 slices

This pistachio and coconut barfi cake is good any time of the year, but the colours and ingredients are meant to honour the Hindu festival of Diwali. Barfi is a dense milk-based sweet from India that is often exchanged during the festival.


For the cake

  • 315g self-raising flour
  • 60g milk powder
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 25g pistachios, toasted and roughly crushed
  • 20g desiccated coconut
  • 250ml vegetable oil
  • 300ml whole milk

For the buttercream

  • 100g good-quality white chocolate, roughly broken up
  • 250g salted butter, at room temperature
  • 400g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 tsp orange extract
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

For the decoration

  • 4 tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted
  • 3 tbsp pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
  • grated zest of 2 oranges


  • A deep 20cm springform cake tin


Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°/gas5. Grease and line a deep 20cm springform cake tin.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, milk powder, sugar and cardamom, then add the pistachios and coconut. Using a balloon whisk, stir the dry mixture until the ingredients are well mixed. Pour in the oil and milk and stir into a smooth batter.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 40-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre of the pistachio and coconut barfi cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

To make the buttercream, place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water and leave to melt. Set aside to cool.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter with an electric whisk for 2 minutes on a medium speed, until lighter in colour and creamy. Add the icing sugar in three parts, beating well after each addition. Add the orange extract and one tablespoon of the milk between additions of the sugar. Continue beating while you add the cooled chocolate and beat until smooth. The buttercream should be spreadable, but f you want a firmer buttercream, add some more icing sugar or, if you want to loosen it, beat in the other tablespoon of milk.

To assemble, slice your cake in half horizontally so you have two layers. Using a palette knife, spread the buttercream over one sponge half and sandwich with the other, then cover the whole cake with the remainder. Decorate by sprinkling over the coconut, pistachios and orange zest.

A slice of the pistachio and coconut barfi cake with a cup of tea in the background.
Enjoying a slice of the pistachio and coconut barfi cake with a nice cuppa

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