The best cafe in Madrid, Il Tavolo Verde and a pistachio cake
Il Tavolo Verde
Last Friday on the way to the park, my son and I stopped at our favorite café in Madrid. It is called Il Tavolo Verde. It has the most charming host Martina and the best cakes in the city. Also it is an antique shop and offers unique vintage pieces from all over the Europe. But for me it also has a great sentimental value.
When we first came to Madrid four years ago, my son was only one-year-old. I used to go with him to Retiro park twice a day. On the way to the park and back we were taking different routes and discovering small hidden lanes of our new home city. That is how I discovered Il Tavolo Verde. I was fascinated by all the beautiful antique and vintage things and their stories which Martina shared with such enthusiasm. But even more I liked this place for its warmth and hospitality. I was new to the city and hardly knew anyone and her place made me feel like home. Since that time I have been there many times and almost every time I come the place looks different as the furniture and objects change each constantly. But there are several things which never change.
Il Tavolo Verde is still the best café in Madrid for me and they still serve the most delicious homemade cakes.
Speaking about the cake, once I tried their pistachio cake. I liked it so much that without a second thought I asked Martina about it. She was so kind and did not keep it secret. Her inspiration for the recipe came from the book called Persiana. Later at home I tried the recipe from that book and now it is one of my favorites.
Pistachio & Almond Cake from Persiana book
200g brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g ground almonds
100g desiccated coconut
2 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
150g butter, melted
2 large carrots, coarsely grated
100g shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line a 23cm (9in) springform cake tin with enough nonstick baking paper to cover the base and sides. You won’t need to grease the tin or the paper, as the oils from the nuts and butter in the batter prevent the cake from sticking to the paper.
Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract together in a mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds, coconut and cinnamon and stir, then add the melted butter and give the ingredients a thorough mix. Add the grated carrots and pistachios and mix again until the ingredients are evenly blended, then gently pour or spoon the batter into your prepared cake tin and bake for 1 hour, or until it feels firm to touch and a crust forms on top. Check the cake at 40 minutes to ensure it is cooking evenly. Once cooked, allow to cool in the tin, overnight if you can wait; the cake is much moister once cooled and tastes better as a result.