Monday, May 31, 2010

Cardamom Mastic Gum Pistachio Cake (Kakuleli Damla Sakızlı Antep Fıstıklı Kek)

It is time for a new cake recipe! One day I felt like making a cake, a type of cake that I had never had before. So, I took a look at my pantry and refrigerator and got some ideas based on the ingredients I had on hand. I set out to make the cake without completely deciding what kind of flavor I wanted. As I made my cake, I made my decisions to add a little bit of this and a little bit of that. What came out was a cake with ground cardamom, ground pistachios and mastic gum! Yes, mastic gum. What is mastic gum? I get this question a lot…If you are not from the Mediterranean region or if you are not familiar with Mediterranean cuisine or if you haven’t traveled to the Mediterranean countries, most likely you do not know mastic gum. Mastic gum, ‘damla sakızı’ in Turkish is harvested from Pistacia lentiscus shrub, a native to the Mediterranean region which is from the pistachio family.

Liquid is bled from the trunk of the tree and then sun dried into hard, small, translucent pieces that secret a very distinct and pleasant aroma. It can be grounded using a mortar.

Mastic gum is mainly used in chewing gum in Turkey as well as the famous Kahramanmaraş Dondurması (Kahramanmaraş Ice Cream) and some other desserts and cookies. I bought the mastic gum a while back when I attempted to make Kahramanmaraş Dondurması which I will leave to talk about another time. Mastic gum can be found in Turkish, Greek and Middle Eastern stores in the U.S.
The cake I made this evening, turned out crispy from the outside and soft and fluffy from the inside, exactly how I had envisioned. It is light and not too sweet, just perfect. I am actually eating a piece of cake as I am typing this post. My palates are dancing right now! This version turned out far more superior compared to my previous two attempts. I hope you enjoy it.

1 3/4 cups flour
1 ¼ cup sugar
1/2 cup yogurt
1 stick unsalted butter 4 oz. (melted & cooled)
4 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/3 cup ground raw pistachios
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground mastic gum
1 lemon zest
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract

Unsalted butter for greasing the cake pan
¼ tsp of flour to sprinkle on greased cake pan

Note: All ingredients need to be at room temperature. To hinder the cake from cracking around the ring, cover with aluminum foil only for the first 20-25 minutes of baking time.

Using a Stand Mixer:

Place the eggs, the one egg yolk and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Attach the wire whip to the beater shaft of the mixer. Using the wire whip of the mixer beat the eggs and sugar starting with the lowest speed and gradually increasing the speed to 8 until creamy. Once a creamy texture is attained, add the lemon zest, yogurt, cardamom, vanilla, baking soda and mix at speed 2. Add the pistachios and mastic gum and mix for 1 minute. Add flour and continue mixing at speed 2. Scrape down the ingredients sticking around the bowl with a spatula. Add melted butter gradually until a smooth batter is attained.


In a deep bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until the mixture is creamy. Add the lemon zest, yogurt, cardamom, vanilla and baking soda. Continue mixing. Add pistachios and mastic gum and mix for 3-4 minutes. Add the flour mix with the rest of the ingredients. Finally, add the melted butter and whisk until a smooth batter is attained.

Set oven heat at 350ºF. Grease a cake mold or a Pyrex dish with unsalted butter. Sprinkle a little flour on the greased pan or cake mold. Pour the cake batter in the cake mold. When the oven is ready, place in the middle rack and bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. To check whether the cake is baked well or not, insert a toothpick in the cake. If the toothpick comes out clean, that means your cake is ready, if it comes out with batter, that means it still needs baking.

When you remove the cake from the oven, let it rest for about 15 minutes before taking the cake out of the cake mold.

Enjoy with a hot tea or coffee.

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Anonymous said...

A very unique cake with amazing ingredients! I would love to try it!

Anonymous said...


Baking Soda or Baking Powder?

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Hello Anonymous, should be baking soda :) I overlooked it. Thanks!

Velva said...

Your cake looks absolutely fabulous. I know I would enjoy the flavors of thsi cake. Thanks for sharing.

elra said...

Never used mastic gum, not even sure if I can get it here, but I should look in to it.

tasteofbeirut said...

I am a die-hard fan of mastic "meskeh" in gum, sweets, breads, anything! I have never made a cake using mastic so next time I make a cake I will use your recipe (plus I love cardamom too) it sounds just fabulous!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

tasteofbeirut, at first I was nervous about the flavor that was going to come out with mastic gum, but I was pleasantly surprised. I was afraid the mastic gum would overpower the cake, but it didn't. It turned out just perfect!

M D said...

This cake is unique and new to me. Love the outcome. It looks great, almost like pound cake. I am a huge fan of cardamoms and would love this cake!

eleni said...

Mastiha is agreat companion to many of the foods I make... and cardamon is one of my favourites spices!!! Very well done with this recipe...

Jamie said...

I think I might give this cake a try if you are not saying it is too sweet. My husband's birthday is coming up and he is not a big sweet eating person.

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

MD, it does kind of look like pound cake but the taste is so aromatic. If you like cardamom, I am guessing you'd like this cake.

Eleni, mastic gum definitely goes very well with many types of food. I have not used it much previously because I was not sure about its availability. Now, I know I can find it. It goes very well with cardamom too!

Jamie, I don't think it's too sweet. I am not fond of very sweet cakes. Give it a try and if he still thinks it's too sweet, blame me! ha ha Make sure he's open to different flavors though such as cardamom and mastic gum.

Soma said...

This is a cake with very beautiful flavors. I love the cardamom and pistachios but I have never used mastic before. sensational.

dokuzuncubulut said...

Kakuleyi çok kullanırım ama damla sakızını şimdiye kadar hiç kullanmadım. Kek çok güzel gözüküyor, damla sakızını denemek için iyi bir tarif. Ellerinize sağlık...

Anonymous said...

Oct 28, 2014...took me a few days to gather the exotic ingredients.....Now my house has the perfume of heaven,it is the first and only time I have successfully made a cake that did not fall.
This recipe is is so exotic..and so yummy!
Thank you!

Mediterranean Turkish Cook said...

Anonymous, sorry for the delayed response as I didn't see your comment earlier. Thank you for your comment and I am very happy that you really liked this cake. It is definitely exotic and it does make the house smell very nice. Glad you enjoyed it!