Now that I’ve gotten a few bigger projects out of the way — hooray! And more soon on all of that, eee — I have a little more time again to do the things I like: read books with pages, fuss endlessly over our charges, get excited about summer events (I might make another wedding cake!), this year’s container gardening attempts, what color lipstick Refinery29 says was all the rage at Coachella this year (if I’m being completely honest) and more relevantly, cooking. Brainstorming earlier this week, Sara, who helps (I mean, she tries, she has only so many superpowers) keep me organized, said she’d had a really good pistachio cake at a coffee shop recently and I immediately wanted to try my hand at my own.
In my mind, the perfect pistachio cake would be absolutely green (my favorite color) with pistachio intensity, ideally with even more pistachios than flour but require no pistachio paste (not available everywhere and certainly not at, say, Sicilian quality), multiple bowls, or finicky steps. Usually, I start with recipes I’ve made before, trying to extract what I liked about them and apply them to something new, but I didn’t have a preferred template yet for a good, very nutty pound cake yet so I started pulling down books until I found ones that sounded promising. I landed on two, in fact, one from Yossy Arefi’s Sweeter Off The Vine and one from Rose Carrarini of Rose Bakery’s Breakfast, Lunch, Tea. They were so different, I had to make both. The first one was tender, moist, and honestly perfect, although I immediately wanted to swap out some flour with more pistachios to fulfill my dark green cake hopes and dreams. The second, which indeed had way more pistachios than flour, ended up so buttery, I am not even exaggerating when I say I could have wrung it out. I didn’t know where to go from there so I did something weird: I made some tweaks and averaged the recipes together. Like, grade school math. They teach this technique in cooking school, right?
By some miracle, it worked: I got to keep the plushness of the first cake with the dark green nuttiness of the second, with the butter in check. And now that we have pistachio-flavored and colored cake to take us into the weekend, what do we do with it? Arefi suggests serving it with whipped cream and strawberries tossed with some sugar (flavored with lavender buds, finely chopped mint or basil leaves if you wish); Rose Bakery used a quick lemony sugared pistachio glaze and I, ever indecisive, chose both. You can do the same or even none of the above, I think it would be fine plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or even with a powdered sugar glaze made tangy with buttermilk, lemon, or orange juice. Or chocolate, maybe even white chocolate? Obviously, you’re also going to have to make three and find out.
One year ago: Perfect Garlic Bread
Two years ago: Artichoke Gratin Toasts and Maple Pudding Cake
Three years ago: Avocado Cup Salads, Two Ways
Four years ago: Ramp Pizza
Five years ago: Pasta with Garlicky Broccoli Rabe
Six years ago: Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll
Seven years ago: Shakshuka and Easy Jam Tart
Eight years ago: Cinnamon Swirl Buns and Pickled Grapes with Cinnamon and Black Pepper
Nine years ago: Fork-Crushed Purple Potatoes and Whole Wheat Apple Muffins
Ten years ago: Black Bean Confetti Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Winter Squash Pancakes with Crispy Sage and Brown Butter
1.5 Years Ago: The Broccoli Roast and Salted Peanut Butter Cookies
2.5 Years Ago: Fall-Toush Salad and Carrot Cake with Cider and Olive Oil
3.5 Years Ago: Lazy Pizza Dough + Favorite Margherita Pizza
4.5 Years Ago: Chicken Noodle Soup and Pancetta, White Bean and Swiss Chard Pot Pies
To add more flavors to the cake, feel free to rub lemon or orange zest right into the sugar for maximum flavor dispersal/release. Rosewater is also a popular addition to pistachio cakes.
To make the cake without a food processor, you’re going to want to start with 140 grams pistachio meal or flour (vs. shelled pistachios) and softened butter and can proceed as with a traditional cake.
Now, here is the terrible warning I must give you: My oven is acting up, not holding temperatures properly and yes I have complained endlessly to my landlord and we are maybe waiting on a new panel, I don’t even know, I don’t want to talk about it. I have two (!) brand-new oven thermometers in there and watch them like a hawk when I bake so I can adjust the temperature as needed but I want you to take the baking time listed (about 70 minutes) with a grain of salt and promise to check it at 60 minutes but also know that there’s a small chance it might take up to 80 minutes. As people report back with their baking times, I’ll narrow the range.
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (140 grams) roasted, shelled, and unsalted pistachios
- 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 10 tablespoons (5 ounces or 145 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- Slightly heaped 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (115 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) roasted, shelled, and unsalted pistachios
- 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
- Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
Lemon-Pistachio Glaze (optional)
With a food processor: In the work bowl of your food processor, grind pistachios, sugar and salt together until as powdery as you can get them without it turning to paste. Cut butter into small chunks and blend with pistachio mixture. It’s going to be lumpy at first, and then balled for a minute, but keep running the machine until the mixture loosens up into a frosting-like consistency, i.e. smooth and shiny. Add eggs, one at time, blending briefly between each, scraping down sides as needed. Add milk, blend to combine. Add extracts and baking powder and blend to fully combine, scraping down workbowl. Add flour and pulse just until it disappears.
Without a food processor: You’re going to want to start with 140 grams pistachio meal or flour and softened butter and can proceed as with a traditional cake. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in milk, then extracts until smooth. Beat in salt and baking powder until fully combined, scraping down bowl well. Add flour and mix just until it disappears.
To bake: Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread top smooth. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes (see note up top by way of explanation/apology). Mine took 70, but it’s safest to check sooner. Look for a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake to come out clean and then, do a second check near the top. I find with loaf cakes that the undercooked batter likes to hover right below the top crust. It often takes 10 minutes extra (built into this baking time already) just for that to set for me.
Let cake cool in pan on rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around cake and transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely.
To make glaze (optional): Bring pistachios, sugar, zest, and juice to a simmer in a small saucepan; simmer for 2 to 3 minutes then pour over cooled cake.
To serve: Cut into slices. Cake is great on the first day but even better on the second, as the ingredients settle. Keep at room temperature for several days, wrapped in foil, or longer in freezer.
394 comments on pistachio cake
Yay for Sara! This looks fabulous, and I’m all for loaf cakes (esp with glaze)
Minor typo: “really go pistachio” should be “really good pistachio”
Thanks, now fixed.
I thought ‘really go pistacho’ made perfect sense
Have you tried making this recipe with raw unsalted pistachios?
Curious…if more moist or different flavor?
And here I thought it was some new slang. I was all set to say “that’s really go” about something tomorrow.
It looks so wonderful. But to be sure, I was sure that pistachio cake is green :)))
This looks so tasty! Do you think this recipe could work with other nuts? Or is there something about the oils in this particular nut that is amazing? (Not that I don’t like pistachios…but I have a freezer full of almonds…)
I made this recipe using hazelnuts, and it was absolutely delicious! I have been experimenting for years to make a hazelnut loaf cake, and this was the best.
Yay for averaging recipes! I find it to be very helpful when trying to use tricky flours, to take a couple of things that allegedly work and combine them vs doing eight disaster versions on your own gut instinct. This cake looks freaking great.
I want to make sure you’re aware of the Cuisinart blade recall — https://recall.cuisinart.com/. I know it’s taking a long time for them to send replacements but so far haven’t dared to use the riveted blade again.
“really go pistachio cake” — Did you mean really good?
I am, and I haven’t bothered registering, I’m terrible. I’ve had it for 13 years and I’m struggling to believe it will actually kill me.
I just registered today because I’m lazy. I’m still using the blade, checking after each application to make sure its intact. Apparently, it takes MONTHS to receive a new blade. So, get on it girl!
I had completed a claim form with Cuisinart back in the middle of Dec., just received the replacement about 2 weeks ago. I have a DCL8, they sent me a DCL7 blade. On top of that, it looks used; it’s clean but many minute wear marks on the sides and top of the spindle, pitting on the under side of one of the blades.
My own has far less wear because I rarely used it. Was a hassle to clean and reassemble the machine, so I used a mini-processor. They had claimed it was taking a long time to replace them because they were being “manufactured” and it was a massive recall. My old blade is stamped “Made in Japan” on the top of the spindle. So I think I am better off sticking with a Japanese vs Chinese made product.
Thoughts on adding cardamom to the cake?
Could be delicious!
I did! Just a pinch. It was perfect
I’ve been waiting over 4 months for a replacement blade. I’ve had mine for over 20 years and I keep an eye on the blade but keep using it anyway. Hopefully it won’t kill me.
I too live on the edge. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger? #alsolazy
I used my for probably six months before actually getting the new blade.
C, thank you for mentioning the recall – it’s a year and change later and this was the first I heard of it (I do, however, live under a rock ;-) ). Just checked out my model number and submitted a claim form. Glad you posted about it and glad I was drawn to the comments by Deb’s pistachio cake. Thank you both!!
What are you looking for as evidence of doneness – clean toothpick, a few crumbs, a specific internal temp? Thanks!
Whoops — clean toothpick from near the top too. Forgot to add, will now note.
Thank you for this! We have big pistachio fans in my family and I tried making the Rose Bakery recipe on two different occasions, hoping it would be a hit, but had the same issue you did each time. I was convinced it was my own incompetence, but perhaps not! Looking forward to trying your version!
I LITERALLY wanted to make this last week for a funeral. Looked at your cookbook, and website and was sad to see no recipe.
So imagine my joy when I get on here and see this. Thank you for making my day. Seriously, I haven’t even tried this recipe (yet) and I already know it is amazing.
Don’t mark your comments as “I made this” if you clearly haven’t
Maybe she accidentally hit “I made this” because was wrought with grief because of the funeral. Geez, get a heart Cindy.
So wrought with grief that she’s posting on here. Makes sense.
This is really not necessary at all; I can always fix the sorting. People click the wrong button accidentally often, and I wouldn’t rule out digital error, as this system is custom fitted for this site and not perfect.
Really ???!!!! People 😂
Please don’t be mean on Smitten Kitchen
Cindy, why so bitter and obsessed by a grieving human?
This looks amazing- wondering if you could also make it with hazelnuts?
I bet you could. Swap by weight, not volume.
(this is my repeat to Nutty’s post)
I made this recipe using hazelnuts, and it was absolutely delicious! I have been experimenting for years to make a hazelnut loaf cake, and this was the best.
The batter looks like gelato, and I probably would have eaten most of it, raw, with a spoon.
It was hard not to, like the creamiest frangipane batter.
Mmm this looks so yummy! I’m definitely going to try making this myself, thank you for sharing!
If you liked both of those recipes, you should check out Molly Yeh’s pistachio loaf cake from her cookbook. I kid you not, it’s the best thing I’ve ever baked (close second is Yossy’s Nutella halvah babka).
Nice! I don’t know how I missed it in the book but I just looked it up. It seems to follow roughly the proportions of the Rose Bakery cake (which also called for a mix of pistachio and almond, I just used all pistachio instead) including the full cup of butter for 4 eggs, small amount of flour, and roughly 200ish grams of nuts. Did you find it very buttery, as I did the Rose cake? She uses a little more flour (about 2T more) which would definitely help absorption.
You should also check out Yeh’s other pistachio cake. It’s an oil cake, but I swapped vegetable oil for pistachio oil. So good and so easy make, though hand whisked cakes are barely easier than food processor cakes. I might have to make both sometime soon and do a taste test. Nut cakes are my absolute favorite, and I love a pistachio cake more than just about anything else in the world.
I found it delightful, not too buttery. But I’ll give this one a try since your recipes are always on point :)
This looks absolutely delicious! I will definitely be making this in the near future. I am generally not a fan of the flavor of almond extract- is it very strong/noticeable in this recipe? Would it be okay to leave out, or maybe replace with a bit more vanilla extract? Thanks!
It’s subtle here but if you just don’t like the taste, skip it and use more vanilla, as you said, or halve it.
Or, if you don’t mind buying from King Arthur Flour, there’s always their Fiori de Sicilia flavoring. It’s some vanilla, some citrus, and a subtle floral nuttiness that should be perfect here. Very Mediterranean flavor (not surprising given fiori de Sicilia = flowers of Sicily) without being rose.
I have to give a ‘house re-warming’ party to thank my boyfriend and the other folk who helped me replace the furnace that died in a flood. (California, ’nuff said…) My friend’s brother, essentially the contractor, absolutely loves pistachios, so dessert is now taken care of. Thanks.
Thanks for mentioning Fiori di Sicilia–I am using it in a variety of recipes with good results.
Where do you get it this special flour? I don’t think I’ve ever seen it.
It’s not a kind of flour, but a brand. Go here: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/
I didn’t have any almond extract so I swapped out Lemon extract. It was delicious.
This looks fantastic! So glad you posted after seeing your lovely instagram photos. I went to make this just now and realized I that my enormous bag of shelled pistachios are salted. Do you think I could try the recipe with these, omitting the additional sea salt?
I think it’s worth trying, just skip the extra salt, as you said.
I just made the Sweeter Off the Vine version last weekend! Is it bad that the last couple of slices were finished off as breakfast? :)
OMG! I LOVE pistachios! Every time I get gelato I get pistachio because I just can’t say no! This is the top of my to bake list. Last night I made your lemon and pink lemonade bars for a birthday I’m going to tomorrow. I can’t wait to eat them!
In your general experience, do loaves like this translate to round cakes (e.g. a 9″ springform or similar) too? Or is the leavening going to make them go awry?
I think this would be fine as a round cake, and the leavener is pretty low for the volume so I wouldn’t anticipate problems.
I baked in a 9″ springform, it came out quite domed and not as tall as I would have liked since I planned to slice it in half – it was maybe 1″ tall on the sides and an additional 3/4″ dome. I think I checked it at 50 minutes and the toothpick was bone dry so I was a bit worried, but the cake was still moist!
This looks amazing! I’ve been sitting on a jar of pistachio butter that I bought in Italy and haven’t found what to make with it. Do you have any suggestions on replacing the pistachios in this recipe with the paste? Thank you!
I’m not sure if it’s more like paste or more like a nut butter we buy here, but either way, I’m not confident it would be a good swap because both will contain extra ingredients. If the only ingredient is pistachios, you might be able to add it here by weight.
It’s 100% Sicilian pistachio paste. Beautifully green. I’ll try it by weight. Thank you!
Try milk bar’s pistachio cake, it is formulated for pistachio paste
Thank you Ivy. I’ll check that out
Has anyone used this recipe in cupcake tins?
This looks like the kind of cake I’m going to double the recipe for so I can bring one to a friend and keep the other to have for Sunday breakfast with coffee and the crossword. Can’t wait to try it!
Loaf cakes are the best!! YUM!! I am having a baking with pistachios moment so this looks so so good!
That looks so good! I wish I have someone to make it for me but I guess I have to make it myself <3
This looks delicious Deb! Have you ever tried the pistachio loaf from Ovenly? It pops up in cafes around the city and is one of my favourite things in NY. I have tried to find a recipe online but nothing looks like it’s from the source. This looks like it could be a perfect substitute. Yossi and Breakfast, Lunch, Tea are two of my faves.
I haven’t, but I bet that’s the one Sara had! (She had it at Grumpy.) Is it gluten-free?
Ovenly’s had a gluten-free pistachio cardamom loaf for some time and it’s delicious. it was the first thing i thought of when you said she’d had it at a cafe. I always wondered if the recipe was developed by the excellent pastry chef Shuna Lydon during her time at Ovenly… she made some other GF desserts which were both surprisingly good and non-gimmicky.
Stupid question, but could you make the nut flour with a blender?
Some blenders could definitely do it, certainly a Vitamix and I’m sure others too. Can’t hurt to find out.
Pistachio cake is such a wonderful thing! I made the one from the book “A la mere de famille”. Here is a link to the recipe, in case you wish to try another alternative!
The link: https://www.cooked.com/uk/Julien-Merceron/Hardie-Grant-Books/A-la-Mere-de-Famille/Cakes-and-g%C3%A2teaux/Pistachio-cake-recipe ;)
L’Epicierie (lepiciere.com) sells excellent pistachio paste, which would intensify the flavor. A splash of orange flower water would add a nice dimension as well. Pistachio desserts are the best – this looks so yummy!
My fingers are worn out just thinking about shelling all those pistachios…and they are already in my cupboard! But am making your maple pudding cake tomorrow instead. Can’t wait for your new book…I’ve already order It from Amazon.
Thank you!! Wow. And oh my goodness, I bought them shelled and roasted from Trader Joe’s. Inexpensive, too. It was a miracle.
Wow, I feel so out of the loop here. I follow you on social media and read your blog regularly but I had no idea your second book was available for pre-order already! I’ll look it up on Amazon now. Also, if you don’t mind me asking, is Sara is a new member of the SK team? Is there more news I missed recently? I’ll be heart-broken if I missed more new video/new baby/new blog features news etc. :)
Thank you. I haven’t announced the book because it doesn’t have a cover yet — very soon. I hope. Eek. And then I’ll share all there is to know. It’s crazy, I’m still finishing it!
Sara has been helping me out behind the scenes since my first book in 2012. She works in PR at my publisher and organized my book tours. After working so closely with her for more than year (and many cities) I realized I’d be lost without her attention to detail and, uh, patience for working with me, and hired her for a few hours a week that’s grown into a few more but this is still a part-time thing for her. I don’t have a team, although it sounds nice sometimes.
And thank you. No more babies, perhaps some new video episodes soon. (We filmed them two weeks ago, eee.)
Thank you for the response :) Now that that’s out of the way, am off to make your crescent jam and cheese cookies ;)
I tried making this this evening, and sadly didn’t have success. When I pulsed the butter with the pistachio mixture, I didn’t get a smooth frosting like consistency, but rather a greenish looking melted butter pile and a brown lump of pistachio mixture, along with an over-heated food processer. Any idea where I went wrong? The pistachios were fresh from the oven roasted, and the butter was room temp.
I used cold butter for blending, I should make that more clear and less optional-sounding. Perhaps with a little extra warmth from the machine, yours went fully to melted and sloshy. Did the batter come together? Did the cake bake up okay?
Wondering if Dora roasted her own nuts — and if she did, if they were fully cooled when she pulsed the butter and nut mixture. Like Deb, I took the easy way – bought them shelled, roasted, not salted (got mine at Whole Foods, in bulk).
I think that was my problem, that the pistachios hadn’t cooled down enough. I ended up having to dump the mix, but live and learn :) I couldn’t find them shelled and roasted near me yesterday, so I roasted them myself. I’m glad I saw the comment about TJ’s, I stopped there today to pick up some. I’ll try again sometime soon and report back!
I also roasted my own nuts and the butter was warm as it was on the counter during the nut prep. I let them cool only 10 min before processsing and got a dark green oily looking substance. I decided to go through with the rest of the recipe anyways and I’m glad I did because it came out great – surprisingly! The colour is a bit darker but it brings out the green and the texture reminds me of the grapefruit yogurt cake, but with a crispier crust. Not sure if it was my stove or my mistake on the roasting but I had to bake an extra 5 minutes for the toothpick to come out clean. Tasty!
I re-tried it today with the Trader Joe’s nuts, and it turned out perfectly. The batter came together in about 30 seconds, so I knew it was working this time. It’s completely delicious, my friend Anjali and I already coming up with a million flavor combinations to try with it! Thank you so much for the recipe.
Pistachio oil as a soak could give a little extra to the pistachio flavor (if you were so inclined)
I have been making a pistachio loaf for some time adapted from muffins I found on vacation. Thing is , it used a pistachio pudding mix – I found it moist but artificial. Will for sure try this!
Deb, what size loaf pan did you use?
I used a 8.5-x-9.5, but it only fills 3/4 so you’re going to be fine with any standard loaf, either a little bigger or smaller.
8.5 x 9.5? That’s like, almost, square? Did you mean, 4.5 x 9.5? or 5.5 x 9.5? ;b
Whoops — that was supposed to say 8.5×4.5. Sorry for the confusion.
I made it in a regular size muffin tin and it baked up in 20 minutes perfectly.
I continued to use my recalled Cuisinart blade checking it often. I ordered my replacement blade on 12/18/16 and received it this week- four months to the day. Can’t wait to try this cake!
Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. Can I use almond flour instead of all purpose flour and xylitol instead of sugar in this pistachio cake or so you have any other low carb alternatives?
Beat me to it! I was also going to ask whether subbing almond flour for all-purpose flour be too nutty. lol
I’m not sure I’d sub almond flour for the all purpose – it will muck with the fat ratios. A good gluten free all purpose would be my first choice, but if you insist on swapping for low carb, I’d try coconut flour instead (make sure to adjust the quantity though!)
I would hesitate to use coconut flour as a substitute in a recipe that calls for anything other than coconut flour. It is NOT a 1:1 substitute. Coconut flour is extraordinarily absorbent and you would generally only use about 1/4 to 1/3 cup coconut flour for every 1 cup of regular flour. Plus, you may need to adjust the number of eggs you use. I’d say rather than wasting time and ingredients experimenting with coconut flour just use a good gluten free all purpose flour.
I don’t have any experience with xylitol, sorry, but almond flour, absolutely. Just swap it by weight.
Thank you a pistachio cake is green comfort, and I feel the same about the Rose Bakery one
up to today this one was my favorite:
it is in French but the step by step photos make it very easy, this guy -Bernard- has a few “ultimate cakes” (lemon, chestnut…, I highly recommand the lemon one, there also is a caramel and chocolate one called “the assassin” ;D ), but your contender ranks high
How do you do it? How do I thank you?! Your wonderful humour, your great recipes and the consideration … who else thinks ,”what if they don’t have a food processor, or their oven is less than perfect”?
Besides making me smile,.(this is actually tantamount to a small miracle), you give me recipes so great I really must try them…( in a kitchen that’s not a kitchen and that I usually ignore completely). Delightful loaf, even with needing to watch the oven thermometer balanced precariously from the heating element, I must eat.. oops, must make again.
I hope ALL is well with you and yours!
Thankyou dear, I feel like I know you!
Married to a pistachio lover, really looking forward to trying this!
On an unrelated note, the link to print any recipe from here still does not display on Safari…
In reply to Meg about baking this as a round cake:
For years I have been making a version of the butterier cake (but with about 30% less butter than the original recipe wants) from Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers “Italian Easy: Recipes from the London River Café,” which also calls for a loaf pan, in a 9″ spring form and it works very well. You might want to add more pistachios to the lemon syrup for the added surface area. And big thanks to Deb — putting together the whole cake in the food processor is a life-changer.
I really love pistachios, have to try this cake out! Thanks for sharing I bet it really tasty!
Hello, how about using gluten free pastry flour ? Grazie
When I make this, I replace the flour with the same quantity of almond meal and it works perfectly.
I have pistachio flour i bought for another pistachio cake which was blah! How much pustachio flour could i substitute?
Swap by weight, so you’ll want 140 grams. If you don’t have a scale, check the nutrition label. Often they will say, e.g., 1 serving = 1/4 cup (___ weight in grams) in the label and you can use that to estimate the right volume measurement.
One of my favorite cakes growing up was pistachio cake. My grandmother used to make it with pistachio pudding mix added to cake mix. I often wondered how that recipe was transported from Sicily into her kitchen with such American ingredients. I must give this a try to understand my heritage:-).
Do you have a total carb count per gram weight for this? Please? It’s too hard for me to guess… and I need to match it up with insulin because my crazy body produces no insulin 🤑. I don’t like to deprive myself of such luxury but I find myself in this position a lot. I love a good piece of flavorful cake once in a while. I am thin… thank you !
I think you can plug in the ingredients into myfitnesspal or some equivalent sites, and that’ll give you the calories, carb counts and whatnots. HTH!
I use LoseIt and I entered in all the ingredients and it popped back saying the carbs were 348 g for the full cake. I’m not sure how accurate this is, but I figured I’d share!
I adore your pistachio petit four cake and it’s my go to celebration cake. Thrilled to see a less labour intensive way to get a pistachio hit in cake form. Will be making this asap.
I found your comment while searching to see if anyone had made the petit four cake with this batter swapped in. I’m making my “Hitching” cake and can’t decide whether to stick with the regular petit four batter I already demoed (the smart move) or to try making this one as a layer cake and hope that it works both structurally and flavor-wise. If anyone has thoughts, I’m all ears!
So, in case others wonder as well, I made a 1/2 batch in a 6″ round and the cake is very sturdy and perfectly moist. I used almond milk and replaced a small amount of milk with rose water and cardamom. Beautiful flavor and texture. My plan is to make the layers this weekend — double the recipe (minus a tiny bit of baking powder) and bake in two 8″ pans. Should be tall enough to split the layers and should work really well to hold the petit four cake. So excited!
This looks awesome,Deb, I cannot wait to try it. I wouldlove to incorporate rose water, without changing the essential flavor you created here–but not sure how or where–could you substitute it for the lemon juice in the glaze? Any other suggestions?
I get maybe 1/4 cup lemon juice from an ambitious lemon (ok a weird description but I’m going to run with it), I’m sure it could be water instead and then maybe some rosewater swapped in, probably very little will go a long way.
Perfect recipe! It was so good we dove right in and forgot the make the topping even though I had the ingredients ready to go. Next time!
I checked mine at 60 minutes but it wasn’t quite there. Gave it another ten. Still wasn’t convinced so I put an extra five on the timer. Ended up taking it out one minute before that last buzzer- so 74 minutes total. Though I’m not sure if I trust my oven so perhaps this should be taken with a grain of salt as well..
My latest pet peeve is “fine sea salt”. Why not just salt? Salt is what we have all had in our cupboards for decades. Can’t we just use salt? Wouldn’t this be more standard, if not as trendy? Not complaining at you, particularly, and I understand the use of finishing salt for meats so you get a crunch, etc. but in a cake?
Uh-oh, I have a lot to say about salt. :) It drives me bonkers when recipes don’t say what kind of salt they’re calling for. 1 tablespoon of table salt is 18 grams, which is over double the saltiness of some brands of kosher salt (Diamond = 8.4 grams), a third more salty than others (Morton = 14.3) and the same as one other, which is great, if you use it (Davids = 18 grams) so not specifying the kind of salt can lead to dramatic under- or over-salting a recipe. Plus, since kosher salt is so variable in weights between brands, you have the same issue. For years, I defaulted to table salt because it’s fine enough that it’s quite consistent between brands and I assumed that’s what most people kept around. But I think this is less and less true, or this is what I’m hearing from people; I think sea salt is inexpensive enough that most people use it instead because it in general tastes better. The fine sea salt I use is fairly inexpensive and clocks in about the same weight as table salt so I’ve taken to using it more where a) the texture of the salt doesn’t matter (sometimes you want the crunch from flakes or a rubbly fleur de sel, here, I don’t think it’s of any benefit), and b) I want a pretty precise amount, not over or under.
Yes, I just wrote 238 words about salt. I’m sorry, I think I was born this way.
Well, I for one thank you for the salt treatise. However, for most of my life, if the recipe called for salt, it was just that, table salt, so there was no question at all. I know that has changed some now, and that is what drives me bonkers. I can taste absolutely no difference between salts. They all taste salty to me and that is it. No nuances, no nothing. Plus, although I do not doubt what you hear (from that certain population that reads your blog), I seriously doubt that more people have sea salt than just regular table salt in their home. I think the whole salt thing is just a trend and will turn around some day again. Just like the curse against salted butter (I still use it!)…one must use unsalted. Well, that is turning around now. I guess time will tell, but if I was writing for posterity, I would just use table salt for baking (only my opinion). Having said that, I will continue to enjoy your recipes and new cookbook (to be!) and adjust the salt as necessary. Thank you for all you do!
You are lucky. I can’t stand the taste of table salt, it tastes aweful to me. I use diamond kosher salt which I think is becoming the most common salt in homes these days. It’s inexpensive and much healthier for you with less sodium. It is not harsh as regular table salt. Many of these newer “trendy” salts do have health benefits as well, again most are healthier with less sodium. I had a shock when I purchased Morton’s kosher salt, as it is twice as salty as the diamond brand. I happened to read an article about it. I use the diamond kosher, in place of table salt in all recipes and it works just fine.ive been gifted some fancier salts and I just use those for sprinkling over finished dishes if needed. :)
So, FWIW, there’s only a such thing as a less sodium salt if you’re measuring in spoonfuls. All salt is the same saltiness by weight as I understand, all salt = NaCl; what’s different is how the granules are shaped. Morton is “saltier” because more can fit in a spoonful than Diamond brand, for example, which is in flakier granules. The lightest of all are flaky sea salts. The flavors some people prefer in sea salts come from the fact that they’re evaporated from sea water, so the flavor is different than table salt, which is, I believe, mined, dissolved and re-evaporated and then, often, iodized. I agree that when you’ve gotten used to sea salt, the flavor is more… clinical.
I am astounded by how much I have to say about salt!
JP, I didn’t respond earlier but appreciate your feedback as well. It’s very good for me to know whatever people are cooking with at home, whether or not it’s what I default to.
I know! There is so much info out there. Thanks for the clarification. I wasn’t clear, but yes the kosher is flakier and lighter than table salt, so ( As I understand it) it has less sodium, because of the density. I use it measure for measure, but have a less salty outcome. :) I wish I could remember where I read the article with the different nutritional benefits of the different salts. Fascinating!
I think it may be a regional thing too. On the West Coast it can be more difficult to find Diamond kosher than Morton’s.
I only have salted and roasted pistachios. Would they work in this recipe?
I think it’s worth trying; just skip the extra salt and if the batter tastes too salty to you before it goes into the oven, you can stir in another tablespoon of sugar.
I recently could only find salted pistachios for a different recipe that called for unsalted. I gave them a quick rinse in cool water and rubbed them dry with a tea towel. Then I cut back on the amount of salt called for in the recipe. It all came out fine in the end!
This cake is so pretty! I want to thank you for giving me ten years of joy when spotting your e-mail in my inbox! Your children are such fun to watch grow! You bring this crazy world such joy!
When I saw the recipe I remembered the bag of pistachios I still had in my cupboard – 200 g with shells since shelled pistachios are difficult to find and very expensive here in Austria. I should have known that this wouldn’t be enough but I absolutely wanted to make the cake, so I went to the grocery store to buy another bag. And it was well worth the tedious work of shelling them all (apart from that it is easy to make and it worked very well in my food processor): the raw batter tastes sooo good and the finished cake is delicious (looking forward to day 2 tomorrow). The cake needed 60 min. in my oven, just to be one the safe side I left it for another 5 min. while the oven already had been turned off.
Great recipe, highly recommended! By the way: I made the glaze as well which is a lovely citrussy addition I think.
This sounds amazing! A bakery where I live makes a pistachio cake with amarena cherries that is heavenly, but I need to take out a loan to buy ;) I’ll have to try this!
Thanks Deb for the notice of the Cuisinart blade recall as I have the DLC8 11 cup model from 1982, according to the manual that came with it. Bought it used at an estate sale in 2010 complete with all the accessories and yes, it has the riveted blade.
So I have now registered at Cuisinart for a free replacement blade, once I read the link to the America’s Test Kitchen article on said recall that was linked here.
As to this recipe, looks delish and will try to make this sometime soon.
Gluten free flour?
Not Deb, but would like to chime in, if your GF flour is a cup-for-cup substitute, then I would guess you can just use the same amount as in this recipe, or, like Deb posted above to reply to one of the questions, you can also sub equal amount of almond flour.
I’m a GI, so I normally keep an eye and try to catch stuff like these in the comments section before attempting a recipe. Or, if I’m too hasty to try a recipe, I would just wing it and close my eyes and pray for the best (most of the times, I experience blissful success!).
It’s worth trying here.
Hi Ruthie, I am GI as well and made this cake GF and DF (dairy free). I used to use the Cup4Cup brand and it substitutes exactly. However, since I developed a dairy allergy I had to stop using that flour as it has powdered milk in it. For this recipe I used Better Batter flour and increased the liquid (I used almond milk instead of regular milk) by 50%. Most GF I looked at will tell you how to substitute right on the packaging.
You asked for feedback on baking time — mine took 75 minutes, and it’s pretty brown on the end edges.
re: loaf cake done-ness … when it can take up to 10 additional minutes baking time to set the top, center crust of the cake, how do you avoid the rest of the cake over-baking? A frequent occurrence in my kitchen . . . thanks!
Try starting it on the top rack for the first 15 min to kick start the setting of the top; then move it to a middle rack to finish.
I find once cakes cool and settle (why they’re so often better on day 2), any uneveness is no longer notable.
Can you I use zero fat milk since that is what I have in my refrigerator? This looks wonderful. Thanks
Shouldn’t be an issue here.
This looks wonderful. How much rose water would you add to this?
I wouldn’t think it could need more than a 1/2 teaspoon.
Oh my goodness! I just found your new book available for pre-order in my Amazon “New for you” recommendations. So that was an instant one-click for me. Your previous book is a real workhorse in my kitchen. If I have no idea what dinner is going to be, it’s the first one I pull off the shelf.
I have both the books you resourced for this loaf, but have yet to try the pistachio loaf from either of them. After looking them both over, I think you’ve made an excellent marriage of these recipes.
I’m looking forward to putting my pinny on tomorrow and giving this a whirl.
P.s. Thanks for the low-down on salts. I keep a lot of different salts in my pantry, as much for texture, rather than taste, although I’m pretty well obsessed with smoked salt in mashed potatoes at the moment. Cheers from the South Seas, Karen
This cake looks gorgeous when done right. Sadly I forgot about the glaze in the pan and well… now it’s more of a topping than a drizzle but still tastes gooooood!
Switched out the AP flour for WW pastry+sugar in the raw on top. Very excited to try it!!
Update: absolutely too delicious. I had 2 (large) pieces. Perfect. Going to try with hazelnuts soon.
Such a simple recipe, too!
Thank you! It’s not hyperbole for me to say I’ve been searching for a pistachio cake recipe that is neither made with pudding mix nor a load of fat. Can’t wait to try it.
Just made the cake- it took 55min in my oven, which tends to run a touch hot. The centre was cooked, but the edges were pretty dark (but not burnt). My only issue with the cake is that after coming out of the oven, it sunk a bit in the middle and the centre of the cake is denser than it would be otherwise as a result. I followed your instructions exactly and didn’t open the oven door after initially putting it in. Any idea what may have gone wrong?
That’s strange and too bad. Re, the color, what kind of pan did you use? I never paid attention to this stuff before but have really noticed lately how lighter color metals do seem to keep things lighter than darker ones. I use a dark one and my edges go a touch dark too. Re, sinking: You’re not at an altitude or anything are you? That can throw things. I’ll have to keep an ear out if anyone else reports this, see if it’s a theme.
I used a light coloured metal pan. And no, I’m in Toronto, so am definitely not baking at an altitude, lol. I was also very careful to not overmix the batter. I wonder if my oven temp.(and it’s tendency to run hot) had anything to do with it? I might try adding a touch more baking powder next time to see if that fixes the sinking problem.
On a side note, I want to say how much I appreciate you providing metric/weight measurements for your recipes. I started weighing my ingredients a few years ago and have never looked back!
Just in time! My husband’s birthday is coming up, and pistachio cake is his favorite. This one looks scrumptious. I can’t wait to try it. Thank you!
Took 60 minutes for me!
Some rosewater alterations:
I used 1/2 tsp rosewater in the batter instead of the almond extract.
I used 1/4 cup (minus 1 teaspoon) water + 1 teaspoon rosewater for the glaze, no lemon, same amount of sugar and pistachios.
Thanks, Deb, for giving me some distraction and relaxation the day before my law school finals start!
This was great. Made it this weekend. Used toasted/salted pistachios since I had a bag in hand. Omitted the salt and Tasted fine. Baked for just under a hour- 55 minutes. Should have pulled it a few minutes earlier but it was fine. Thank you!
I have made Yossy’s pistachio cake including the strawberries with lavender and it was fantastic. I will have try your version as well especially since it’s more green! I’ve also been contemplating a gluten free version with almond meal in place of the flour.
Also in Sweeter Off The Vine there is a recipe for BLOOD ORANGE DONUTS! Yes, that is in all caps because I shout whenever I talk about that recipe. So. Stinking. Good. Somehow the addition of blood orange zest and juice makes old fashioned donuts seem light. So light and delicious that it’s way too easy to eat all of them and not share. And yes you can totally make and roll out the dough the night before. Best brunch item ever.
Oh that sounds so good. I was with Meike Peters today from Eat In My Kitchen and she said that the galette with saffron sugar in the book is one of her favorite recipes. (In case reading anyone reading along is looking for suggestions! Or looking for a new cookbook to buy.)
This was a wonderful cake. We served it after a good Italian meal with the whipped cream and strawberries and it was fabulous. I baked it exactly 60 minutes. It was perfect. The glaze really good and added a lot to the recipe. Will make this again.
I made this! I had a lot of leftover pistachios from making your delicious lamb chops with pistachio olive tapenade.
The cake was wonderful, made it with half salted and half unsalted pistachios, and so I halved the salt. Didn’t have almond extract but I followed your suggestion about the lemon zest in the sugar. I didn’t make the glaze but I did serve it after dinner with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It was a hit! Thanks for th great recipe. (And perfectly cooked at 60 minutes for me!)
That was absurdly tasty — thank you for the inspiration. Especially the crispy corners, which were a pistachio version of marzipan-y crunchy corners.
(In case anyone is wondering, Trader Joe’s sells shelled, roasted, unsalted pistachios for non-crazy prices.)
thank you so much for that tip! I was wondering where to get that without having to manually shell and roast
I just made this and it is delicious! Best pestachio cake I have ever had!!! Thanks for the great recipe.
Hello , I just found your recipe for the pistachio cake and I would like to give you one that I use for years and I think it’s the best. It is from gourmet magazine 1991 month of August and is
Pistachio cake with orange syrup!! The best ever.
By the way I love your blog and follow it .
Any good recipes for pistachio ice cream yet?
Thank you olga
Sorry to hear about your oven troubles…
FWIW, I have found that baking times vary incredibly between oven types (gas vs. electric vs. convection) and baking pan types (e.g., metal vs. glass).
Wow this is exactly up up my alley. I can smell your pistachio cake in my living room. Please save me a piece….ok ok I’ll make this lovely recipe.
I had to make this right away. I’m a sucker for a loaf cake, and gorgeously green–c’mon! DELICIOUS. As you mentioned, the bake was a little strange…it took a long time for the top to bake completely even though a toothpick was coming out clean. So I watched it closely like you instructed. Once cool, I wrapped it up tightly in foil and ate the next day, with no glaze. Thank you!
How can one not love this ? pistachio batter, pistachio topping – and oh, those strawberries to go with it. Cake love all around me now. Merci!!
I call this marrying recipes.
Looks delicious! I bought a huge bag of unsalted pistachios and we don’t really like snacking on them because they’re kind of boring. Now I know what to do with them!!
P.S. I just found out that your new cookbook will be released on my birthday! I just pre-ordered it as a early birthday present to myself. I can’t wait!
Someone mentioned hazelnuts, so I had to try it. Delicious! With hazelnuts, I had to add some chocolate, so in went the dark chips. Forgot to smoosh in some orange peel into the sugar, but will try that next time. I think the almond extract was too strong, though. Can’t wait to try the actual pistachio recipe too! Love this as a not-too-sweet accompaniment to tea. Thank you, as always, for a wonderful recipe and fun baking experience.
I also made this with hazelnuts, and substituted hazelnut extract for the almond extract. I will also try some Frangelico the next time I make it. I read someplace that you can substitute 1 tablespoon of a liqueur for 1 teaspoon of extract.
Inspired. I have frangelico…thank you.
I average recipes all. the. time. I make a grid of ingredients & quantities, and then compare, usually you, David Lebovitz, maybe Molly Wizenberg or my old copy of Joy or some other recipe. It usually turns out well! I’m looking forward to making this, probably a GF version for brunch next weekend. We love pistachios!
I make grids too :)
I think my oven may run a little cool, but even so, I baked this at 325 degrees and it was done at exactly 60 minutes. I was a little disappointed that it didn’t come out green, but it was fragrantly pistachio-y and delicious. Thanks for the lovely recipe.
I have made four loaves of pistachio bread this past weekend. Thank you very much for doing all the research and making my job of encouragement a little easier. Making the nut meal was easy and the bread was wonderful!
OK, so I read the post. Word for word, as I always do, and decided I wasn’t going to make it for whatever reason despite my love of pistachios and cake. Well, then I went to Aldi and a bag of shelled pistachios caught my eye and the cake was baked that afternoon! I’m so glad it did! It was delicious! So much so that it was breakfast with coffee this morning! For those wondering about salted nuts, that’s what mine were and I just skipped the added salt and the flavor is great! For those who don’t like almond, I didn’t detect it in the finished cake. I smelled it for sure in the batter and while baking, but I think it just blended in and enhanced the pistachio flavor.
I couldn’t find unsalted shelled pistachios so I got a 10oz (283.5g) bag of roasted unsalted pistachios with shells. After shelling the whole bag, I had 152g of pistachios. I loved how easy this was to put together in the food processor! I’ve started using a piece of plastic wrap over the work bowl since my KA processor has a history of throwing food up at the lid. Works great and I don’t have to clean the lid. I was worried when my batter poured into the loaf pan; it was definitely a smoother consistency than your picture but it turned out great. This took 75 minutes in my oven. I kept an eye on the oven thermometer and it stayed a consistent 325F. The only thing I may do different next time is halve the almond extract. I love the flavor but feel it overpowers the pistachio a bit. Can’t wait to have my “even better on the second” slice today!
Nuts are simply fabulous in cakes. I often bake with almonds, walnuts and pistachios too. This is a beautiful recipe.
75 minutes in my brand new (calibrated) oven, and OMG it’s delicious!
Perfectly baked in 60 minutes, on the nose, in my oven. Thank you for creating recipes that make me feel like a talented baker even though I’m just following steps! Though I love almond, I might cut back on the extract a titch next time as it ever so slightly got it the way of the pistachio flavor.
I made this last weekend and it only needed 60 minutes, but I left it in for 5 more to be safe.
It was absolutely delicious and it was so therapeutic to make. This is my first time commenting but I only ever follow your recipes. Blueberry Crumb Bars, Triple Berry Bunt, and Choc red wine cake are my favorites! I feel confident I’m going to turn up with something amazing. Thank you Deb! :)
Just wanted your opinion on this- if I wanted to make a chocolate marble version of this cake, would recommend adding cocoa powder to half the batter, or making some of your everyday chocolate cake and swirling that in?
Now I’m very curious which lipstick shade was popular at Coachella this year – only because I love lipstick (not necessarily a Coachella fan…)
I can’t find it now! But I also remember them trying to convince us Clinique’s Black Honey is making a comeback in the same week (or even the same post) and … I might still have my old one somewhere. I’m not wearing it again.
Deb, it’s a cult classic! I also last year bought the eyeliner and mascara, I actually like these better than the lipstick. Great if you are fair like me with green eyes. ( or blue) I always wear some shade of brown, black is too harsh for me. :)
Hey Deb. This is the bklyn larder pistachio cake
Which one is? (Did you mean to leave a link?)
This looks like something my mum would really enjoy eating. I have to be honest — pistachios aren’t usually to my taste. But somehow this still looks mouthwatering.
My recent post: http://olivia-savannah.blogspot.nl/2017/03/strawberry-orange-banana-smoothie-recipe.html
I love any cake with nuts in it so this is a must bake. Plus I ate something similar that an Iranian friend made years ago (a pistachio and cranberries loaf if I remember correctly?) and it was amazing. This looks fabulous. Thanks!!
I average recipes all the time :)
Baked this yesterday – it’s a gift so I was unable to taste the final product but the batter tasted fantastic! Mine took 80(!) minutes to bake through. I made the glaze but would skip it next time – probably use a powdered sugar glaze instead.
So pretty – hoping to hear back from my neighbor if it’s tasty.
Made this last week, and it was very yummy! Not too sweet or heavy.
I did bake it for 60 minutes, but I felt like the crust and cake overall got a bit overdone and dry, so I think probably next time I might bake it for less time (contrary to experiences of others here!) or at a lower temperature.
I didn’t make the glaze, as I’m not always into super-sweet cakes, but I guess that would have helped a bit with the moisture issue.
This is delicious. I had a friend’s child make it with me. I double checked the measurements and she pulled it together. We baked it 55 min and it came out lovely. Any recipe which can be made and eaten in under 2 hours is a keeper! Thanks
I think the pistachio cake with pudding mix in it that everyone is talking about is actually called “Watergate Cake” (with cover-up frosting, of course). I’ve been craving this weird cake from my childhood lately. I wonder if there is anything that can recreate that without all the gross pudding mixes…maybe this is a candidate?
Followed it to the word using elbow grease (processor broken), 60 minutes in a slightly hot-headed oven, and no topping because lacked the pistachio reserves to do it and the three year old sous chef (nor I) would could wait the length of a trip to the shop before slicing. One of the best cakes I’ve everAlice made (and Deb’s chocolate stout cake takes some beating).
I’ll be making it again at the weekend, with every topping going.
Life needs this cake, it’s so good and foolproof.
But back on topic the cake is delicious! Most Mondays, it’s ” Monday Supper at Cy’s” at my place. Last week it was Mediterranean night and my friend made this cake for our dessert ( we are both big fans). I had a slice two days later and I think it was even better!
I reduced the recipe size to a third of the original and baked it in a two cup bundt pan. (There are only two of us and we don’t need a large cake.) Topped with ganache, so YUMMY!!! Thank you for using grams, it makes reducing the recipe so easy.
I wonder if any nut milks, or other substitute could be used instead of milk. It’s not an allergy, it’s just that we don’t keep milk in the house and I already had to search & spend for the pistachios. Happy to do so, but trying to avoid the milk…cold swap with nut, rice or soy milk…or even a thinned out half & half (yes, THAT we keep for someone’s daily coffee!). Thanks!
I’d expect it to be fine. You might also use tea for a different flavor.
Hi Ally, I have a dairy allergy and the only milk I had in the house when I made this cake was almond milk so that’s what I used. It came out great.
Very moist and tasty. I also had a problem with mine falling in the middle, and I know my baking powder’s fine as it’s not old and I’ve been using it without problems for other baking. Maybe I overbeat? If I made it again I’d omit the almond extract, as I thought the taste overpowered the pistachio flavor. Glaze was a great addition; definitely don’t skip it.
Without a food processor, what is the best way to churn up the pistachios?
If you don’t think you want to finely (very finely) chop them, look for pistachio flour or meal and begin with the non-FP instructions.
This tasted amazing! Next time maybe I’ll try the rosewater. I did a gluten-free version, where I used GF Bisquick and 1/4 tsp baking powder. I only have a set of three mini loaf pans and it was perfect at 60 minutes, although maybe a bit browner and sunken in the middle than some would prefer. But it was a huge hit!
I made this on Thursday. Ate it on Friday. Loved it. I used pastry flour, and it took 60 minutes in the oven.
Divine! Every bite was magical.
Made this today! I had a slice with tea earlier and it was lovely. I checked it at 60 min and thought it was VERY wet, so I gave it another 10. When I make it again I think I’ll check on it in shorter bursts; it’s not dry exactly, but I did expect a more moist crumb from the batter. Great flavor, although next time I think I might go a 1/4 tsp less on the almond extract. Really excited to keep this recipe in my repertoire and also excited at the different flavor enhancements! Thanks!!
Deb, I cannot wait to make this – pistachios and rose water, my absolute favorites. I’m going to the Strip District in Pittsburgh to the Middle Eastern markets to gather ingredients tomorrow. Nothing better for a rainy day than a baking project.
When can we expect to see the next installment of your Food Network series? Isn’t it time they showed up to clean your kitchen again? :)
Ha! We filmed four episodes a few weeks ago and they’re in edits, and then it’s up to the FN on what schedule they want to roll them out. But I’d think soon!
This was delicious and easy. I used orange blossom water instead of almond extract. I severely underestimated the time needed to shell a cup of pistachios, but that has nothing to do with the recipe. I made it in a round pan, and found the baking time was a lot shorter (more like 50 minutes). Thanks Deb !!
OMG, this looks amazing. I’ll take a loaf cake over a sugary frosted cake any day, and this looks like the perfect substitute for the more typical banana bread or carrot cake varieties :)
This pistachio cake is absolutely delicious. I love pistachios and your pictures looked so yummy that I just had to try it last night. The cake was so tempting that I was even willing to shell the roasted (and salted) pistachios for this recipe. I of course skipped the additional salt. Because my husband and I are gluten intolerant and I was recently devastated by the news that I have developed a dairy allergy, I also made this cake gluten and dairy free. The baking time in my oven was 70 minutes. It was fantastic! You are a fabulous cook Deb! I love all your recipes and always know I can count on them to come out perfect.
Since the only way to find shelled pistachios around me is roasted and salted, I made this with only half the salt (I see below someone omitted the salt altogether). It didn’t taste salty at all. Took 75 minutes in my oven. I agree with some of the posters that it tasted strongly of the almond extract which is delicious but worth experimenting with less of that.
I made this last night. I shelled the pistachios by hand. I know it’s a pain, but I really wanted to use my FP and use fresh pistachios! I’m not sure if it tastes any different, but I assumed it would. I followed the recipe exactly except for 2 things: I didn’t have milk, but I did have plain, unsweetened soy milk so I used that. I just don’t keep milk in the house and wasn’t going to buy some for just the 1/4 cup needed. I also added a little cardamom. I think I tossed in 1/4 teaspoon and I could smell it quite strongly while preparing! I think I can taste it now, but this was my first time making it, so I can’t compare. I just love how cardamom & pistachio pair and I recently got some from Penzeys. I did 325 for 60 and it wasn’t ready, so I added another 20 minutes and it was perfect! Our oven is tiny and we only really have an upper & lower rack, so I did upper and it was seriously perfect!
I have made this several times already and will not be stopping soon. It is amazing! Just wanted to let you know that a guest of mine smeared some fresh goat cheese on a slice of this pistachio cake and…well…it’s something you might want to try for yourselves.
I am so excited to make this! I’ve got all the ingreds ready and waiting, including the rosewater, which I’ve never cooked with b4. Deb, how should I use it? Will it replace the vanilla and/or almond extract, or be in addition to one/both of them? And will I still want to do the lemon in the glaze? Thanks for SK. I’ve made many of your recipes and given your book as gifts. You really brighten up my Monday!
I made this tonight! I subbed in Bob’s Red Mill 1-for-1 gluten-free flour without any trouble. It baked for 75 minutes and it is perhaps ever so slightly underdone in the middle – could have gone another 5 minutes probably. But it’s good! I didn’t do the glaze, but it’s delicious with some sliced and sugared strawberries on top.
Not only does the pistachio, sugar, butter mixture look like frosting, I would gladly use it as frosting, or filling for a sandwich cookie.
I made this in a 6″ small bundt cake pan to be a bit more fancy for an art opening and it was beautiful. I baked it for about 50 minutes.
Hi Deb and fellow cooks- could you make the glaze here with honey? Or is sugar a must?
Honey shouldn’t be a problem here.
Whoops, forgot I had a second question: I don’t like my baked goods sweet and am not a big fan of sugar. But I love loaf cakes and love pistachios and, goodness me, my birthday is this weekend. Any idea how much sugar I can cut from the recipe without compromising it, and if it’s possible to replace it all with something like maple syrup?
Many thanks for your help!
I’m not positive; I don’t like things too sweet either and wouldn’t remove any here, to my tastes. The biggest risk is dryness; sugar contributes moisture. You can always take out, say, 25% but the cake will be more dry.
Alright, time to report back. Can confirm that this is a great recipe and that the glaze takes it from ‘hey nice cake’ to ‘HOLY HOTDOG HOW DID YOU’
My cake was gluten-free; took the amount of flour the recipe calls for and divided it between 1/3 lighter gf ‘cake’ flour (a mix of rice and corn flours) with 1/3 darker gf ‘bread’ flour (mostly buckwheat) and 1/3 ground almonds. Helps mask any weird gf flour flavors and keep things moist. Baked in 55 minutes, no browning, a little puffiness that sank when cooled.
I didn’t mess with the sugar, as Deb suggested, which was a good shout. Thanks Deb!
Then I went the orange route– put one big orange worth of zest into the batter itself and made the glaze with honey (from my girlfriend’s nana’s bees!) and orange juice. Final verdict: this ended up being the closest thing I’ve had to baklava in the ten years since I’ve had to eat GF. My word. What a great birthday cake. Will definitely make again.
totally delish deb!!
The flavor was delish, however, I had the same problem Tracy from Ontario did. When it came out of the oven, it was pretty high in the middle but then sunk and the middle was pretty dense — esp. on the bottom. Almost had the look of it being undercooked. I cooked it for 60 mins and my toothpick came out clean. Again, the flavor was good so will try again to see if I have the same sinking problem. I made the topping and it was a lovely addition.
P.S. my local store did not have roasted shelled pistachios so I got raw and roasted them myself. Turned out fine.
Baked this for my housewarming brunch this weekend along side your spinach and gruyere strata! Absolutely divine. The glaze is essential!!
We (my husband and I) made the pistachio cake this weekend and it was DELICIOUS!! Thanks so much. Love, love, love your blog.
My sense is that I’m an outlier on this, but mine took 90 minutes to bake in a Pyrex loaf pan and an oven that generally doesn’t give me problems with baking time.
I made this with substitutions because of my food allergies. Subbed the butter for vegan butter, flour for GF baking flour, and milk for cashew milk. Cake came out moist and delicious and the whole family (who love butter!) devoured it. Will definitely make again, thank you Deb!
I made this with hazelnuts today (I live in Oregon; it’s what I had on hand) and it was delicious! I do think I may have overprocessed after adding the butter (looking for that smooth, shiny, frosting-like texture), as it warmed up and seemed a little greasy. And after 70 minutes just a moist crumb was clinging to the toothpick, so I pulled it out. Turned out to still be a tad underbaked in the middle of the loaf. Delicious, though, and worth making again.
I also made this recipe using hazelnuts, and it was delicious! I substituted hazelnut extract for the almond extract.
Made this cake for coworkers and came out great. I did one with the topping and one without, and I definitely preferred without the topping. I think it would be good with an icing or simple whip cream.
I also toasted it with butter. Tends toward burning, but was delicious anyway. The bit of char gave it some nice character in my opinion.
Been following your blog for years and finally had to comment. I saw this recipe when it first came out, bought the pistachios but never got around to making it.
This afternoon on the spur of a moment, decided to make this for our Mother’s Day dinner today. It was AMAZING!!! I baked it in a bundt (it was shallow but still came out beautifully), the edges were nice and crispy, the cake perfectly moist, and the glaze gave it a nice tartness. It made my mother’s day!!! Thank you thank you thank you! https://goo.gl/photos/Cv5B6BVnTjmbFMxZ9
This is so pistachio-y and delicious! I would definitely recommend the glaze, it really adds something.
When I made it, the batter came out much more watery than the picture, but it cooked like you’d hope. (Maybe something to do with grinding the nuts+sugar in a blender?) I took it out around 60 minutes when it was still a bit gooey in the middle, and it’s perfect for me.
I made this twice — the second time was a Mother’s day request from the lady herself. I knew that, if it turned out well, this would be a hit with the folks, David Lebovitz’s almond paste cake (http://www.davidlebovitz.com/almond-cake-recipe/) is a big favorite in the family, and I expected this to have some similar qualities.
Both times I baked the cake, I doubled the recipe and baked it in a bundt pan. To grease the pan, I used a cooking spray and coated all surfaces of the pan with almond flour. The cake released cleanly both times, and the almond flour was a neutral addition to the recipe as a whole. I baked it for 70 to 80 minutes, and the final product was slightly underdone, if anything (though a toothpick did come out clean, there were some green areas in the cake that were minimally risen). The family actually liked the taste and texture of these “marzipan-like” pockets. My father, who is not a baker, now wants to make the pistachio cake — not even the almond cake motivated him to such great heights!
dark loaf tin, edges were slightly burnt at 60 min, while the beautiful cracked top was still a little wet.
Followed instructions to a small t only, since:
1) forgot to roast pistachios. drats!
2) didn’t have almond extract, so subbed 1/2 for extra vanilla, 1/2 for imitation maple (don’t judge)
Turned out a little too sweet for me, but LOVE this recipe since
1) dump everything into a food processor?? WIN.
2) green? WIN.
3) cake? WIN.
4) pistachios? WIN.
5) yummy? WIN.
In the midwest; kroger sells raw pistachios in the bulk section for about $19 a pound.
batter came out scary wet! i’ll try subbing it for heavy cream and simultaneously reduce the butter too. batter was so delicious, though, that i licked everything clean, and i mean everything– even the razor sharp processor blades.
Thanks, what a lovely cake! I haven’t yet tried the glaze, this first time making it I added drained, halved amarena cherries to the batter. It was delicious and had such a great texture. The pistachio flavor comes through more clearly the second day, but there was little left by then. I’ll certainly be making this again.
so funny! I’ve been reading all these “I made this” posts (as I always do before making something new here) and kept thinking about adding cherries somewhere, somehow to make a perfect christmas cake (and I’m jewish!). I’d probably just place them ever so carefully on the top as decoration, right before baking. (but would have to experiment, to see if they sink)
THRILLED to see this recipe! My local coffee shop just stopped carrying my favorite pistachio cake (perhaps even the one your friend had?) and I swore to find a replacement! This looks perfect. The one I had also had cardamom, so I’ll try it with that!
I made this pistachio cake yesterday for guests, and it went down a treat! I knew it’d be great, because the apple bundt cake is the only one my dad requests (he never eats cake), and the chocolate banana cake is a ‘gone in 60 seconds’ affair. Thank you! Amazing recipes and amusing banter.
Merci mille fois! After a dozen failed Google searches for “pistachio bread from scratch.” my favorite food blogger had what I was looking for all along!
Hello, thank you for the lovely recipe. I made this today for Father’s day. It came out lovely. I would reduce the sugar the next time I make it though as I thought it was a tad bit too sweet. I made a honey cardamom icing that paired very well with this. Also the batter was a little more liquidy than what is shown in the pictures and it took me about 68 minutes in a convection baking oven to completely bake it.
This cake has been on my “to cook list” since the original post in April. Finally made it this weekend. My goodness! As a fellow work-at-homer, this cake plus your cold brewed iced coffee from 2008 has eliminated the need for me to leave the house. Also, I have been making a pistachio cake for years, which uses a packet of pistachio pudding mix. That one is also scrumptious, no doubt enhanced by whatever garbage lurks in that packet. This cake was better, a hit with my family, and will certainly replace the other one. All around win!
On making the Pistachio Petit Four Cake with this, I’m editing my comment from a previous reply to its own comment. For those who want to try this as a layer cake, here is my experience: the cake is very sturdy and perfectly moist. I doubled the recipe (minus a tiny bit of baking powder) and baked in two 8″ pans. Even after squaring off the top, the layers were tall enough to split. I used almond milk and replaced a small amount of the milk with rose water and cardamom liqueur — really great addition to the pistachio flavor but still subtle. We have a marzipan hater in the family so I substituted a “stable cream cheese whipped cream” frosting recipe and it was perfect. Once filled with jam (I used lots, warmed for spreading) and covered with frosting, I refrigerated it before covering the entirety in ganache (none inside). It was the perfect tiny wedding cake! I’m in love with this cake and will make it plain later in the year, too.
Hi! If I’m making this as a layer cake for 8-10 people, should I still double it and make such a big cake or just make it in one 8″ round and split it so there’s a single layer of frosting in the interior? Basically I’m asking if the single recipe (in an 8″ round) will be enough for 8-10 ppl. Thanks!
It took 60 minutes exactly in my oven!
For those who have made this dairy free, what did you substitute for the butter? I was thinking Olive oil or coconut oil would both be great.
Did you try it with oil and how did it turn out? I’m curious, because I’m thinking of using earth balance sticks in my house instead of butter for baking. My worry was when a recipe calls for butter, butter actually is mostly fat, but also some water. So I though oil might make it too dense or not rise from steam quite right.
I tried it with coconut oil and it was very tasty! The one caveat is that it was a tiny bit greasy, i did an exact swap, so ten tablespoons of coconut oil, but i think maybe 8-9 tablespoons would have given a result more like the original.
That being said, I took it to a party and it got dusted , so clearly, even a tad greasy, it worked out pretty well.
All of which is to say, your concern about density is well founded. Maybe 8-9T oil and make up the volume with water or more milk? Darn, might need to try it again! 😉
I can relate to your oven dilemmas! I have to watch the oven temperature on my oven at our new place. But I must say, because I’m more attentive to the temperature, the baking is turning out much better.
I’d love to make this as a bundt (using my pretty nordic ware bundt) – should I double the recipe?
Definitely. Sounds like a few other people here have done so successfully, too.
While the cake is very good and I would try it again, I ran into the same issues others reported. I did the ingredients by weight and I subbed orange blossom water for the vanilla and maybe added an extra teaspoon of liquid. I subbed unsweetened soy milk for milk (because that’s what I had). I did not do the glaze since I served it with peach cardamon compote.
1) The batter was quite runny. It definitely did not need to be smoothed; it self-leveled.
2) While it did fully bake 60 minutes, I left it in to brown a bit more. It rose well, but like a few others reported, it sank afterwards. It’s quite dense and moist.
I did test my baking powder in advance (aluminum free kind) and it seems ok, but maybe I should have added more or used even fresher powder. My butter was closer to room temperature than cold and maybe that made a difference.
The favor was great and it was easy to put together. I look forward to trying it again with different favors (maybe cardamon) and different nuts and see what happens. At worse, the texture will be off, but the favor won’t suffer!
Hi, I actually have pistachio paste from Italy and e friend wants me to use it in her pistachio wedding cake. Any ideas how to incorporate?
I might start with a layer cake (like this) built for almond paste and swap in the pistachio. Because it’s different from just dry or ground nuts, and already has sweeteners in it, it wouldn’t be as simple to use it here.
That looks great! I’ll have to try it. What’s the benefit of using a variety of pistachios instead of one type? :)
I’m not familiar with many different kinds of pistachios, but if you’ve got a mix, you’re likely to get an even more complex flavor.
All went well until the final batter. Mine was not thick but rather runny. I have no clue why. I weighed ingredients on my scale. It is in the oven now we will see…. seriously hope it doesn’t flop! Any ideas on runny batter??
No doubt, This recipe looks so delicious in those beautiful pictures!!! Love all those super healthy ingredients!!!
This also took 70 min in my oven. I love this cake, it’s delicious and took very little hands-on time. The pistachio flavor is incredible!
Love this cake. Second time I made it, it didn’t rise. What go you suspect is the problem?
Thanks, I’m a huge fan.
I’m glad you like the cake. The cakes should of course rise but it’s not a tall, towering cake or anything. It’s not a big rise. Did yours dip at all?
Several years ago I visited Puerto Rico and had the most amazing chocolate pistachio cake. I’ve searched for recipes since then and have never found one that appeared similar to that cake. I’m thinking swapping some flour for cocoa powder in this recipe might come close.
This looks absolutely delicious! I was wondering if I could sub sugar for honey and butter for coconut oil.
And also if i could use baking soda instead of baking powder (is there a difference?)
Sugar for honey isn’t really a straight swap — sometimes it works, other times, not so well. Butter for coconut oil should be less problematic. Baking powder contains baking soda (1/4 teaspoon in each full teaspoon of powder) and the rest is an acid, which is necessary to activate the baking soda. You can make your own baking powder, but you cannot make baking soda from baking powder. You’d need to add a little cream of tartar or another acidic ingredient…
Can’t wait to try it. What size loaf pan?
8.5×4.5 or 9×5 are fine — i.e. 1-pound loaf pan
Thank you Deb, I have never saw loaf pans listed with weights. Another great tip to learn!
It’s not always going to weigh the same, but most one-pound loaves of bread and pound cakes fit in one.
Aha! I had been wondering about this, and think the difference in pan size *might* account for different amount of time needed to bake properly. I have both sizes, and generally use the smaller one to produce more height (which sometimes, but not always, requires slightly longer baking time).
Thanks for this, I removed the lemon from the glaze and then dipped white choc all over, cook time was 70-80mins
I have pistachio butter. Do you think that could work or would it be too “wet”
It’s really different, so I don’t think it would work here.
If I were to bake this for say, Easter brunch (because we get to pretend cake is really breakfast food at brunch) would I freeze it with the glaze /nuts? Or freeze the loaf then glaze after defrosting?
I’d probably glaze after defrosting.
Deb this sounds amazing! I’d love to try it with the rosewater but I haven’t worked with it much – how much do you recommend starting with? Thanks!!
I know it’s very strong, so I would begin with 1/2 a teaspoon at most. Perhaps others better versed in rosewater might have suggestions.
I made this for a going away party and received many positive comments. I left off the glaze because it sounded too sweet for an early morning cake and it was still moist and sweet.
I’m wondering if it could be adapted for Passover. Matzo cake flour could be substituted for regular, but I’m stumped on the baking powder substitution. I’d love to know if you or anyone have tried it.
Following because I went through all of the comments trying to answer exactly that. Upthread, I think Deb said that we could substitute almond flour for the regular flour, so I’m tempted to do that instead of matzo cake meal. (The only place I use cake meal is in Deb’s hazelnut chocolate thumbprint cookies, which I strongly recommend for both Passover and not-Passover.) Kosher for Passover baking powder is available and is certified by the OU.
I made this and it’s absolutely delicious, and super easy. I will be making this often, as I love all things pistachio.
As for cooking time, it ended up taking 80 minutes in my pretty-normal oven, and I checked every 10 minutes starting at 60, so I think it let out some heat every time I opened it. I took it out when the toothpick was clean, and while cooked, the middle is still a little too dense/moist. Next time I will cook for 80 minutes straight through. STILL DELICIOUS THOUGH! I made the glaze too and loved it.
Happy to report that I made the cake for Passover by replacing regular flour with almond flour (by weight) and it was a big hit! It turned out a little wetter than I’d like because I overdid it with the glaze, so I might skip that next time. It was absolutely delicious, though, and my husband is already begging me to make it again. It also froze well (froze and defrosted before glazing).
Thank you Paige! Super helpful
Thank you Paige! The Passover info is very helpful
Made this with pistachios a couple of weeks ago and husband Alex immediately started suggesting riffs on it (he actually nixed my first suggestion of chocolate for gilding the lily). Now I just pulled an almond/citrus one out of the oven and it smells amazing.
This time it was made with TJ’s almond meal, almond extract, lemon zest, and a splash of orange liqueur because why not.
I am having trouble finding a source for shelled, roasted but not salted pistachios.
Do you know of any sources?
I would look online; at my store, I can find both, but I live in NYC, which tends to have more things at your fingertips than other places.
Can I use salted pistachios, and if so, should I cut back on the salt in the recipe?
I didn’t try it with salted but definitely skip all salt in the cake if you do. Pistachios are going to range in saltiness, but some can be quite aggressively so, others more moderate. I’d proceed with caution for very salty ones.
Deb – do you have a best guess for baking time for these as mini cupcakes (the kind that are 24 to a pan, about 1.25″ in diameter and about .75″ deep)? I saw your chocolate snack muffins recipe was 20 – 25 minutes, but it looks like the “wetness” level of the batter would be different.
I made this batter and did mini cupcakes (the 24 to a pan size), with pulverized freeze dried strawberry buttercream frosting, topped with a piece of candied pistachio brittle. The mini cupcake size required 31 minutes baking time, but I have a Bluestar range and the heat source is on the back wall of the oven instead of the floor of the oven, so I don’t know if that affects timing. I doubled the batter (it just barely fit in my Cuisinart) and got 48 mini cupcakes, with enough batter left over for a 7 x 3 x 3 mini loaf. The mini cakes themselves were divine; a rich pistachio flavor and a gorgeous, velvety, almost poundcake like crumb. For extracts I used 2 parts vanilla and one part each of almond and orange. I did use 4 drops of green food coloring to tint the batter ever so slightly greener than it had been, but it didn’t look one bit artificial. I opted for the strawberry buttercream because these were for a pink and green themed party. The bright, tangy pulverized freeze dried strawberries in the frosting were a nice accent to the richness of the pistachio.
Oh, yum! Let me first say I loved how easy it was making it in the food processor. I made two loaves, one in a 9×5″ loaf pan, and one in an 8-1/2×4-1/2″ pan, and the one in the smaller pan rose much more nicely. I choose that one. I also put a scant teaspoon of orange zest in with the sugar and pistachios, and because I had some orange blossom water (and no rose water), I added that instead of the almond extract (since many tasters thought the almond was too overpowering). I also “spilled” in more than the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla…. I’m just like that! Baking time (in my brand new fancy schmancy oven) was different for the different pan sizes: larger loaf pan took 63 minutes, and the taller loaf in the smaller pan took 68 minutes. I didn’t have time to make any of the glaze options, so I just dusted it heavily with powdered sugar. Next time (and there will be many next times, it’s so easy!) I’ll try a glaze. Soooo worth it!
This cake was so fantastic! I baked it @ 325 degrees in a convection oven for 50 minutes. Texture is perfect. Couldn’t be patient enough to make the topping so will make it to pour over what’s left when I get home tonite.
This cake is literally the best thing I have ever made! I found it when I was pregnant with my second and craving lemon and pistachio – a quick google search led me to this recipe and I’m glad it did! It’s always a hit and disappears quickly – I only suggest doubling the recipe and making two! Actually rather than a cake I like to think of this as a pistachio “bread” so I don’t feel so bad about eating it for breakfast. I use the VitaMix to blend the pistachio/sugar mixture and do the rest by hand since I don’t have a food processor – turns out great! I have also reduced the sugar from 1 C go 5/8 cup and it’s plenty sweet for my family! Have also swapped out lemon zest/glaze with orange zest/glaze and it’s also very good! Love this recipe – thanks so much!
Made this in a half-size (1 qt) bundt pan and it was done in 60 minutes.
Was not a fan of the glaze, which somehow managed to be too sweet and too tart. Thought it overpowered the subtle-flavored cake. Unglazed, it would be a nice breakfast or brunch cake. It’s not something I’d make again for dessert.
Made this but subbed citrus juice for milk and rosewater for the vanilla. Totally forgot to think about leavener until it was in the oven – I know baking soda should go with citrus? It came out edible, but any advice re: such a substitute would be greatly appreciated!
I’m not sure I follow the question about baking soda and citrus…
Sorry – I wasn’t clear at all! As written, the recipe calls for baking powder and milk. If I’m subbing an acidic liquid, should I be changing the leavening agent? Still trying to wrap my head around how baking powder and baking soda work/differ…thanks!
No need to change anything. The only thing that usually poses a concern is using baking soda without an acidic ingredient to activate it.
Ah – thank you so much. I think in another 3-4 years I will finally understand baking soda v baking powder ;)
Can I make this with salted pistachios? Looks amazing!
I’m watching my calories. Do you have calories per slice info please? Thanks for considering my question.
You can easily figure out the calorie content yourself by inputting the ingredients into a recipe nutrition/calorie calculator like My Fitness Pal: https://www.myfitnesspal.com/recipe/calculator
Then you just divide the total calories by the number of servings you intend to get from the recipe. Hope that helps.
This looks amazing! I am really into making Bundt cakes lately. Do you think if I doubled it, I could bake it in a Bundt pan?
I just wanted to say that, in “a world of madmen, uncertainty and potential mental losses (George W. Bush 1/14/00)”, you are a blessing to those of us seeking a good laugh, some comfort and a lot of great food. You have never led me astray. Can’t wait to add this cake to my repertoire. Thank you.
To veganize: replaced the butter with coconut oil, and the 3 eggs with 3 tablespoons egg replacer (or flax egg) and 9 tablespoons water. Worked perfectly and it was maybe the best cake I have ever had!
Deb: A couple of years ago you said you would narrow the range of baking times after your oven was fixed. Still planning to do this, and rewrite or remove the paragraph of warning directly above the recipe? Thank you.
Two questions about this yummy cake. Can it be made as muffins? And second, if freezing, should I glaze before or after?
Hi there, I though everything was going great, I could see that the loaf was rising nicely, took it out and it looks like it collapsed. Cut it in half and it looks under cooked, yet it was in the oven for 70min! Wut the….
After dreaming about this cake for almost a year, I finally made it yesterday morning. Used my 8-.5×4.5″ pan and it was done in exactly 70 min. It rose nicely (that’s why I used this pan, rather than my 9×5), and didn’t sink on cooling.
I brought it to my brother’s house, where my 102-yr-old mom lives (she craves sweets, as many old people do, so she’s my excuse to bake!). I made the glaze there, and my brother at first thought you blended all the ingredients (which I might try in the future). To placate him, I chopped the nuts a bit–and it was lovely. More than half the loaf disappeared before I left!
I really like pistachios (well, all nuts!), and this didn’t disappoint. A keeper, for sure.
Hi! I’m a huge fan of all your recipes :) This one was delicious. However, like others I’ve read, it rose beautifully over the pan! And then after cooling, it deflated and sunk. Tasted just fine, but was so disappointed that it fell so much! What do you think it wrong?
I’ve now made this for three Passovers, and it’s never failed to impress. This time, I made it as mini cupcakes (fills 48 easily; baked for about 20 minutes), left out the almond extract and used a little extra vanilla, and again substituted almond flour by weight for regular flour. Very easy and fast- the longest and most tedious part by far was filling the mini cupcake mold! Going to freeze them now before any more disappear, and will drizzle a little glaze over them before I serve them.
This cake is absolutely glorious topped and filled with chocolate raspberry ganache! It took me 45mins to cook it in a 20cm square tin
This cake was a big hit for a small dinner party. It was an Italian themed dinner that featured a nocino dessert cocktail that my boyfriend insisted on serving. I wasn’t sure how to pair a dessert with a sweet, slightly bitter cocktail. Lacking any sense of creativity, I decided upon nut-based desserts. The nutty, lemony, lightly sweet blend in this cake worked well (or at least was not terribly incongruent) for cocktail drinkers and abstainers alike. On the merits of the cake itself, what a wonderful blend of strong lemon with nutty goodness. Easy to prepare. I cooked for 50 minutes in a 335 degree oven.
Can this be made as muffins?
Made this for an informal family meal – big hit! I reduced the amount of sugar to 3/4 cup and multiple people commented that they liked that the cake wasn’t too sweet. I did make up for the reduced sugar by putting a thin layer of dark chocolate ganache on top! I also could only find roasted + salted shelled pistachios at my local grocery store, so I just omitted the extra salt and it was fine. I baked it at 325 F convection on the lower third of the oven for 50 minutes and I probably could have taken it out a couple minutes earlier! I don’t have an oven thermometer though to gauge accuracy. I did make this a day ahead, which I do think really helped the pistachio flavor come through the next day. Overall, would definitely make again!
This cake hit the pistachio spot! I modified to be low carb and substituted with almond flour (the finer type from TJs) by weight and 3/4 cup of granulated baking Splenda (just by cup measure). My oven is old (60’s gas) and at 325 was done in 50 mins. Could’ve probably pulled it out 5-7 earlier even. I made a quick compote with some overripe strawberries, lemon, and a scant amount of Splenda and it was a great addition instead of a glaze since I was avoiding sugar and find that glazed or creamy things with Splenda often have a weird taste. Whipped cream would be awesome with this or toasting a slice in the morning with coffee or tea. Thanks! Next time will try with orange blossom water or add lemon zest somehow.
I have now made this cake twice and both times the middle sinks during the last half of baking. The first time, I thought perhaps I did not mix it well. The second time, I realized it must be something to do with the recipe, which is disappointing as it is a little expensive with the pistachios, not to mention, purely sad to look at with the droopy middle :(.
So I have a bag of raw pistachios, how would I go about roasting them to make this cake? Maybe 350 until they smell roasted?
Yes — exactly that. But watch them closely because it would be a bummer if they all burned, and they can go over quickly.
hi – thanks for this recipe – I made it twice – once halved to suit the number of pistachios I had – it made 9 2×2 squares (25 minutes) – and then I doubled it to use up the oldish ground hazelnuts – 24 muffins (30 minutes). I am gluten free so used some gluten free flour – cassava and brown rice. Also used half brown sugar as not all that much white sugar in the house. Thank you for a great recipe!!!
Great recipe that I will definitely be making again – the batter was quite runy so added extra flour but reading others’ comments that it wouldn’t be necessary next time. Also used vegan butter so a bit salty, but I see a recommendation to use coconut oil and that would definitely be a milder flavour. Looking to experiment with other ingredients as this is a great base & I learnt a lot!
Hi Deb Greetings from pandemic baking. I have tried to not bake much sweet stuff because the two of us will eat every bite. Much sourdough ( I got starter from a kickstarter campaign Ha! )and amazing sourdough scallion pancakes. This weekend I finally had an occasion to bake for others, a friends birthday, distance lunch on a deck and a not so sweet dessert for my friend with no sweet tooth. (yes it is possible to be friends despite great divides.)
Amazingly I have everything I need but since I like to do cakes with whole milk I thought I would combine some half and half with 1%. . Unfortunately my covid brain thought 1 cup of liquid and that’s what I poured in oops. Not enough pistachios to recreate. Stores were already shut so at 8 this morning I took my old folks body to TJ’s and got more nuts, doing a 1 item errand making me feel very non compliant. In the oven now. I am thinking of beating up some ricotta with powdred sugar to serve over the glazed cake. Not wanting to waste the very liquidy batter I through in some flour and baking powder in an odd loaf pan and baked. It was sort of a almost flavor free flat moist cake. Good tasted. As an aside we were planning a return trip to Sicily right when all this shit happened. 10 days there last year was not enough and will go back; the pistachios dotted through every food were incredible.
I’ve made this three times now and it is always so moist and delicious. The lemon (or lime) glaze is a must, even if you don’t have the extra pistachios. Also, I forgot to toast my pistachios so they tasted rubbery in the glaze but I just put them aside. I’m not sure if toasting pistachios beforehand would make a difference. All in all, will definitely be making this again and again!
I’ve baked this cake a couple of times and it’s definitely a keeper. The first time, I followed the recipe and got a splendid loaf. More recently, for an anniversary in the times of lockdown, I divided the batter into two 8-inch round pans to get two thin-ish rounds for a layer cake. I also used rose water instead of almond extract – no other changes. Baked perfectly in 25 minutes. For a taller 2-layer cake, I’d use 6″ pans or ~1.5x the batter in 8″ pans.
Homemade raspberry jam and rose whipped cream went between the layers. I used more of the whipped cream to cover the cake and then topped it with rose petals and pistachio dust. It was a PERFECT non-chocolate celebration cake. Thanks for an excellent recipe, Deb!
Riha, I nearly fainted reading this. Your version sounds DIVINE. Thanks for sharing!!
I made something very similar! I made 1.5 times the recipe to create a double layer cake of 8″ rounds. Filled it with raspberry rose jam and topped with a lemon rose buttercream. I also used gluten free flour and it was still perfect. Perhaps the best cake I’ve ever made?!
Sorry – double comment, but: thank you Deb for a perfect recipe as always!
Sorry if I missed it, but what size loaf pan? I have numerous sizes, so your guidance is appreciated. Can’t wait to make it, but using lime rather than lemon.
Deb, I have made this three times in the last few months — and always without the glaze, because I never have the patience to wait any longer than necessary! I love nothing more than a simple slice of plain, mildly sweet cake and a cup of bitter coffee. Heaven!
I live in Turkey, and I can get excellent, fresh ground pistachios any time (sprinkled on almost every traditional dessert here). Also, ayran makes a perfect substitute for milk (which I usually don’t keep around).
I love your recipes, your energy, your generosity. Been following Smitten Kitchen for years and it’s such a pleasure to read. Thank you for sharing your brilliant mind with us!
What size loaf pan did you use
This is a 8.5×4.5-inch loaf, holds 6 cups. It doesn’t fill the pan completely, however, so you should be fine with any loaf pan.
Found this recipe after my failed attempt on another pistachio loaf cake, and with seeing all the good reviews i took a chance to make it again.
This cake is awesome! My family love pistachios and I finally found a pistachio loaf cake recipe that works! My cake took 75 minutes for it to bake and it was still moist inside. :)
I like the recipe very much. Thank you for sharing. Followed the recipe exactly. I used the angel food cake pan though and it took 50mins at 325F. The glaze is amazing. The lemon taste is distinct and not sour or overpowering due to the sweetness of the sugar.
Oh how I’ve been looking for the perfect, simple, perfect (did I say that already?) pistachio cake recipe. This was great! I sprinkled coarsely ground pistachios on the top, next time I’ll go pretty heavy on them. I used an orange syrup instead of a lemon icing, I liked the way it was a new take on the citrus-y enhancement. And for sure next time, I’ll cut the almond extract in half. Thank you so, so much, Deb!
Awesome recipe. Very easy to follow and remarkable flavor
I used 2/3 c of sugar instead of 1 c and it came out great. It’s so good with lemon glaze on top, but I just did a basic glaze of powdered sugar and lemon juice.
Hi! Can I substitute eggs with yougurt?
Not sure, definitely haven’t test it here. It’s unclear how the cake could hold together without eggs.
I really want to make this for a friend who LOVES pistachios, but have no milk. Can yogurt (whole milk) or plant-based milk (soy) be subbed possibly?
Yes, any will work.
Why does almost everything pistachio contain almond extract? I’m wondering how this would be with pistachio extract. I have some. Your thoughts?
I’ve never used pistachio extract, so I’m not sure. Can’t hurt to try, however. You can also skip the almond, if you wish.
Im scared that the almond extract will take all the pistachio flavor!
It didn’t at all!
I’m not keen on sweet glazes but might the lemon zest and juice not brighten the flavour of the cake, if incorporated into the batter?
Would a plant-based milk and coconut oil be suitable substitutes for the milk and butter?
Could you make this with whole wheat flour?
I haven’t tested it with whole wheat. While it would probably work, a 100% swap will lead to a more dry, stiff cake.
Hi there, wondering if adding a teaspoon of cardamom in here might work? Saw a bunch of pistachio cardamom loaf cake recipes too.
I’m sure it would be delicious.
Had a plan to make this and pair it with lemon ice cream from David Lebovitz’s Perfect Scoop cookbook, but realized I didn’t have as many pistachios as I thought. I substituted hazelnuts instead as I had them on hand. I toasted at 350 for 10 minutes then sloughed off the peels before grinding in the food processor. I accidentally forgot that I toasted 140g for the cake + 40g for the topping at the same time, so I ended up using 180g of hazelnuts in the cake itself and needing to toast, peel and chop an additional 40g for the topping. Also, had no almond extract so I substituted more vanilla. Grand Marnier would have been delicious too I bet. It came out great! Beautiful bake, probably closer to 75 minutes in my 8.5″×4.5″ loaf pan. It rose up very nicely with a perfect pound cake crack on top. Good nutty flavor but not too sweet, and delicate textured without being dry.
I love this idea because I love hazelnuts.
Made this yesterday and sliced it this morning-YUM!!! I really appreciate how your written directions describe the stages the batter should go through, although I would call myself a pretty accomplished baker more information is better when making something new. BTW mine was done at 65 minutes.
I have Sicilian pistachio flour – how much would I use in this recipe? Thanks, looks amazing.
You’ll want to swap it by weight.
This is delicious! Even though the recipe indicates the glaze is optional, I think it makes the cake. It only takes a few minutes and is well worth it.
Re the Pistachio loaf: I had particular problem trying to judge when the nuts and the butter/sugar had reached the right consistency. COuld you possibly give an indication in rough minutes. I never got to a shiny stage, until I had overbeaten and the oil started coming out of the mix!! It’s in the oven now. I suppose it won’t be as it should be, but will be fine when cream is served on it and with the gorgeous topping.
Do you mean for the cake or the shiny topping?
I mean the cake mix when in the food processor. My mix when it eventually was complete was more like a batter. SO I definitely knew I had gone wrong. No problem eating it but I must have overbeaten the earlier stage.
This cake was SO delicious! Easy to make and great pistachio flavor. I’d love to add rosewater next time but unsure how to add the liquid without changing the batter too much. Would you decrease the amount of milk accordingly?
I made this and topped it with brown butter icing and candied pistachios and it was extremely perfect. The brown butter went extremely well with the nuts.
Great idea, I was looking for an alternative to the lemon. Care to share your recipe?
Cant wait to bake it.
Made this today in 15 min while juggling a 2 y/o—huge hit at dinner. Served with strawberries and whipped cream. Finally used that bag of TJ pistachios. 5 stars.
This was my favorite pandemic recipe. The flavor is outstanding and so much better days later. Thank you for sharing your love for food.
Excellent. I made this for my mom’s 88th birthday and she loved it.
Thank you for this recipe! This cake was fantastic! I wanted to use some leftover salted caramel, so used that as a glaze on top of this cake. I didn’t have a loaf pan, so baked in an 8-inch tin.
Everyone in my home loved it and none of us have a sweet tooth! My husband’s words: this is the best cake I’ve had in a long long time!
What a beautiful, subtle yet intense flavor of pistachio! And the lemon glaze against it is stunning. This cake is just stunning–the plush crumb. I drizzled the glaze over the loaf, leaving off the extra pistachios (not a nut person). We ate it straight out of the oven (worked out that way) and I’m interested to taste it tomorrow and see how it’s matured.
Great cake. Easy to make and very tasty. I had to make a few substitutions since I only baked it with what I had on hand. I had fewer pistachios than I thought, so I substituted whole almonds–my ratio was about half and half. Also both nuts were lightly salted, as was the butter I had, so I eliminated the 1/2 tsp of salt in the recipe. Had the cake the evening I made it while it was still warm, very good, but even better the next day–moister and richer in flavor. This recipe is now part of my collection!
This is a fantastic recipe that I have made multiple times throughout the years. It is absolutely perfect just the way it is, thank you!
I rarely leave reviews but this recipe is amazing ! I’ve made it a few times and everyone always loves it, I’ve made it with raw pistachios and roasted, granulated sugar and turbinado, with the topping and without, all versions were delicious ! Especially love how easy it is and that it is essentially 1 dish prep (food processor).
This is a genius recipe because I screwed it up and it was still fantastic. I used Miyoko’s vegan butter, and let it blend so long with the powdered nut/sugar mix that it started to melt. I added the rest of the ingredients and the emulsion came back together, then baked it in 3 mini loaf pans for 40 minutes. So good!
2nd time making this, out of almond extract so I used 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/4 tsp. Fiori di Sicilia (might have been a wee bit more of each). I really like the citrusy note the Fiori added, forgot that my pistachios were salted (oops!) so the batter seemed a little salty but I doubt anyone will complain. I just realized there was clarification about the pan size in the Comments field, never can remember. Thank you again for your very clear instructions re. the consistency of the batter.
I made this with half almond flour and half all purpose flour, and buttermilk instead of milk and it was one of the most delicious and addicting things I’ve ever eaten. It tastes like Sicilian cream of pistachio or pistachio gelato in cake form. A dream come true! 🤤
Also, I love this recipe because it is such a forgiving batter! Like a dummy I added the flour with the salt and sugar to the pistachios and it was still perfect and tender.
This looks so good and so unique. Do you have a recommendation for the glaze for people who do not prefer lemon? I still want to make a nut glaze. My husband loves pistachios but not lemon.
This looks amazing! Sadly however my son is allergic to nuts; do you think this recipe would work with pumpkin seeds (I had a great pumpkin seed break at a bakery in DC)? What alterations would you recommend?
Is this one cup of nuts AFTER they are shelled or before?
What a delicious, tender, elegant cake. I massively added extra pistachios for the glaze and topper, they turn into tiny candies that everyone fought over. I dreamt of slices for breakfast!! Yay pistachios!
Best cake ever. So addictive!!! And you can swap out other nuts for a different flavor profile. Hazelnut, chocolate chip anyone?
Plus hardly any effort when making it in the food processor. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all your wonderful recipes.
Well, that was fantastic. I subbed a mixture of almond and buckwheat flours (mostly almond though), added some cardamom, and subbed 3/4 cup honey for the sugar. I used honey from my own bees, which was super light and very floral, and it worked well with the cake. Also left off the glaze and I don’t think it needed it. Definitely making again.
Once again, this cake was amazing. Our local spice shop sells pistachio extract, which makes the whole thing taste even more wonderful (I substituted it for the almond extract). I have actually made this twice in the past week, once with the glaze and once without and I genuinely can’t decide which version I like better — the intensely pistachio and super-moist one, or the one where the top half is a little more lemon-y and the bottom half is more pistachio-y…
In any case, thanks for the recipe! It makes me look like a genius, even though I routinely point people back at your site!
This looks fantastic! For the version that we make in the stand mixer, I’m confused about when to add the ground pistachios – is it at the start since it says “start with pistachio flour” or do we do all the other steps and add it at the end when it says to “add flour”? Please advise! Don’t want to overbeat or underbeat the pistachios in there! Thanks
I’ve made this recipe a couple times now. It is amazing. Last time
I added a small grated tonka bean (I know you can’t get them in US, but OMG), and chopped in dark chocolate chips in a final whiz of the food processor. A generous fistful. Bliss.
It says roasted shelled pistachios. My $23 bag says raw…. does this mean I have t roast them first and if so what’s that look like?
You can toast them, once shelled, for about 10 minutes at 350 but keep a close eye on them after 7 minutes in case they toast faster.
I was a little confused about when to add the pistachio flour when using the traditional method…it wasn’t clear. Was I supposed to beat it in with the butter and sugar? I thought of blending it with the regular flour, but since the instructions didn’t say mix the meal with the flour I risked beating in with the butter, then sugar, eggs etc. Any comments would be appreciated. Waiting for it to come out of the oven with fingers crossed!