“Welcome to Psychedelicatessen, a weekly column exploring the world of cannabis cuisine, including recipes from the great chefs and ganjapreneurs who fuel our appetite for adventure.”
This April 20, throw an incredible party for all of your pot-loving friends! Organize a stoner pride parade, erect a statue of Jack Herer in the town square, throw dime bags from a plane, do whatever you can to set a new level for 4/20 partying. You can start by getting baked by baking a beautiful layer cake. It will make a party so stoney that your guests will be sure to forget it!
No matter what your skill level, these green pistachio cakes create an impressive centerpiece that will get you high in style. Just don’t overdo it, or you’ll miss out on all the 4/20 fun.
If you make either the Legalize It Cupcakes or the Pistachio Four Layer Cake for your 4/20 party, send me a photo via Instagram or Twitter (@EliseMcD420), and you’ll be entered to win a free copy of either The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook or Marijuana for Everybody!
Stoner Simple: Legalize It Cupcakes
If you’re intimidated by baking or simply in a rush to get partying, this easy recipe for green pistachio cupcakes will liven up your 4/20 celebration! Originating during Nixon’s Watergate scandal, this combo of cake mix, instant pistachio pudding mix, Cool Whip and ginger ale was dubbed “Watergate Cake with Cover-Up Icing” to the delight of ’70s era bakers. Since Tricky Dick was the architect of the modern War on Drugs, stick it to the man by medicating his namesake scandal dessert. Let’s take back the Watergate cake and makeover its identity as “4/20 Legalize It Cake!”
Stones 24 partygoers
For the cupcakes:
• 1 box yellow or white cake mix
• 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
• 1/2 cup melted cannabutter
• 1 cup lemon-lime seltzer or soda
• 1 cup chopped pistachios (garnish)
• 1 cup flaked coconut (garnish)
• 3-4 drops of green food coloring
For the icing:
• 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
• 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding
Start by preheating your oven to 350ºF and prepare your cupcake pans by adding the paper cupcake liners.
Using the bowl of an electric mixer, start by whisking together the package of pudding and box of cake mix. Add the melted cannabutter and straight butter, and turn the mixer on low. Add the beaten eggs and mix to combine, then add the soda slowly until thoroughly incorporated. Add a few drops of green food coloring and mix. Your batter will be very thick.
Use an ice cream scoop to measure even dollops of batter into the baking cups. The scooper will help with the thick batter, or you can use a heaping tablespoon and a rubber spatula to get the batter into the cups. Fill each cup about 3/4 full and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center of a cake, if it comes out clean, your cupcakes are done. If it still seems gooey inside, return to the oven for a few more minutes.
Remove your cupcakes and allow to cool completely before icing.
Spread the chopped pistachios on a baking sheet and toast at 300ºF for 10 minutes, add the coconut and toast for 2 more minutes before removing from oven.
To make your icing, whip the heavy cream in the electric mixer on high until soft peaks form, about 5 minutes. Add the pistachio pudding mix plus a few drops of green food coloring and mix to combine. Use your frosting quickly or it will continue to thicken and become harder to spread. Top each cupcake with the creamy icing and sprinkle the toasted pistachios and coconut on top. Woo hoo! Enjoy your cupcakes!
Righteous Pistachio Four Layer Cake for 20
If you would never consider stepping foot in a Safeway, and believe corporate cake and pudding mixes to be the devil incarnate, start from scratch and create this wholesome, dense, impressive four-layer pistachio cake. To make it visually appealing, add green food coloring for a bright green cake, or be the righteous baker who eschewed green food coloring and beat down Babylon!
This recipe is incredibly delicious, but be advised it takes some time and should only be attempted by advanced bakers. Inspired by the pistachio cake served at Momofuku Milk Bar in New York, this simplified version incorporates insane amounts of pistachio flavor without all the work of making milk crumbs and lemon curd.
Candied Pistachio Paste:
3 cups pistachios
20 tbsp sugar
16 tsp water
20 tbsp almond flour
12 drops almond extract
4 to 8 tbsp cannabis-infused oil
Preheat oven to 300º F. Spread the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Stir together the sugar and water in a large saucepan and heat on medium until the syrup reaches 250ºF. (Use a candy thermometer to check temperature.) Once you’ve reached 250ºF, add the pistachios to the syrup and stir until the sugar crystallizes on the nuts and no syrup is left in the pan. Spread the candied nuts on a baking sheet to cool.
Working in batches, add the candied nuts, almond flour and extract to the bowl of a food processor, and grind to a coarse meal. Add the cannabis oil, and grind the mixture until it resembles peanut butter, about 5 to 10 minutes. This recipe yields 3 heaping cups of pistachio paste, which you will use in the cake and frosting.
1 cup pistachio paste
7 tbsp corn syrup
12 egg whites
4 cups plus 5 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
2 cup plus 4 tablespoons almond flour
5 tbsp grapeseed oil
4 tbsp cannabis-infused oil
6 tbsp plus 4.5 tsp heavy cream
2.5 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
4 – 6 drops green food coloring (optional)
You will need four 9” circular springform pans, or you can bake the cake layers in two batches with two springform pans.
Pistachio Butter Frosting:
8 tbsp butter, softened
8 tbsp cannabutter, softened
10 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
2 cup pistachio paste
4 tsp salt
4 drops food coloring (optional)
Heat the oven to 350ºF. Combine the pistachio paste and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium low for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.
On low speed, add the egg whites one at a time, being careful not to add the next egg white until the previous one is completely incorporated. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula after every 2 to 3 egg whites.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and almond flour and, on low speed, mix for 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture thickens. Stream in the cannabis oil and heavy cream and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt and mix on low for 2 to 3 minutes, until the batter is smooth.
Spray a 9” springform pan with oil and line it with a circle of parchment paper. Using a rubber spatula, spread one quarter of the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. Repeat with one additional pan. Return the bowl to the mixer and add the food coloring, if you wish to use it. Spread the remaining half of the batter into two 9” springform pans, these will become green layers.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. At 20 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger, the cake should bounce back, be slightly golden brown on the sides and pull away from the sides of the pan. Bake the cake in the oven for an extra 1 to 2 minutes if it doesn’t seem done.
Take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack or in the fridge or freezer. You can keep the cake refrigerated, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 5 days.
To make the Pistachio Frosting, combine the cannabutter, regular butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and cream together on medium high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow. Add the pistachio paste, salt and green food coloring and mix on low speed for half a minute, then kick up the speed to medium-high for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Use the frosting immediately, or store it in an airtight container for up to one week.
To build your layer cake, place one layer on a platter or cake stand, and cover the top with evenly spread frosting. Top with a green cake layer, and spread the top with frosting. Add your third layer, alternating between green cake and regular cake, and top with frosting. Place your final layer, and cover the top and sides of the cake with the green frosting. Use a small rubber spatula to spread the frosting easily.
Voila! A fabulous 4/20 cake that’s sure to impress!