I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who doesn’t love Baklawa (or Baklava)! It is known worldwide for it’s indulgently sweet, spicy & nutty flavours that dance between layers & layers of crispy, buttery filo pastry.
I’ve grown up with the Lebanese version, but there are certainly other Middle Eastern nations that have their own variations of Baklawa, as well as it being a popular treat over in Greece.
I had always wanted to try making it at home, but then quite some time ago, I came across a Baklawa Cake via The Hungry Rabbit. From that moment I was mesmerised. Every now & then I would go back & admire this cake. I knew I had to make it! Months later I finally got around to actually giving it a go. And I must say it was worth the effort & super yum!
I didn’t follow the recipe to a tee. I made my own variations using a different recipe for the sponge as well as adding more to the Baklawa layers.
So here’s how to make it…
Start by making Nigella Lawson’s Custard Sponge. You’ll find the recipe here. There’s no need to make the icing found in this recipe. Just follow steps for the sponge and leave to cool.
Instead of icing, I used Custard to sandwich the layers together. You can make this from scratch (you’ll find a good recipe here) or just simply use custard powder and follow instructions on packet. Set aside to cool.
Thick Sugar Syrup
Combine 800g white sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 1/2 cups of water into a saucepan. Bring to the boil & leave boiling (covered) for 20 minutes until sugar has dissolved and syrup has thickened. Turn off heat & add 1 tablespoon of rosewater.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
16 sheets of Filo pastry
1/3 cup pistachio, coarsley chopped
1/3 cup walnuts, coarsley chopped
1/3 cup almonds, coarsley chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 tablespoon butter (extra), melted
Thick Sugar Syrup (see recipe above)
Preheat oven to 220ºC.
Place all nuts into a bowl, with 1 tablespoon of butter (extra), melted, with cinnamon, white sugar and mix together. Set aside.
Take same cake pan you used to make sponge & use it as a template to cut out 16 circles of Filo sheets, approximately 2cm wider than the actual pan. Cover filo with damp cloth.
Brush cake pans with melted butter (if you do not have two same-sized pans, you’ll need to repeat this whole process). Place one sheet of filo & fold over edges to fit in pan. Brush over with the melted butter. Continue this process until you have 4 layers of filo in the cake pan. Sprinkle 1/2 of the nut mixture over these 4 layers & then continue with filo, brushing with melted butter for 4 more layers. You should now have 8 layers altogether with nut mixture sprinkled through the middle. Do exactly the same in second pan.
Reduce oven temperature to 180ºC and bake filo layers for approximately 15 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and while still hot drizzle over 1/4 cup of the Thick Sugar Syrup over each pan. Set aside to cool.
Begin with cakes. If cakes have risen to create a dome, cut this off so that both sponges have a flat top.
Use remaining 1/2 cup of Syrup to brush over Custard Sponges (top & sides). Cake will now be sticky from syrup, so you can use this as a glue to place crushed pistachios around side of each cake.
Place one cake on a cake stand, pour approximately 1/2 cup of Custard over top of this cake (watching it doesn’t pour over sides).
Place one Baklawa filo layer on top & then place second cake straight on top of this.
Pour another 1/2 cup of Custard of top of this sponge, as previous. Place remaining Baklawa filo layer on top. Sprinkle with more crushed pistachios and Baklawa cake is now ready to serve!
This cake does take a bit of time to make the various layers, but it is definitely worth it & just perfect for a special occasion.
Would love to know how you go if you attempt this! Comment below or tag me on Instagram @thelebaneseplate.