Nigel Slater's Lemon Frosted Pistachio Cake

You know my fondness for cakes that use nuts and when I saw this on the New York Times Cooking instagram page, I knew i had to make it.

Plus, you know I love Nigel Slater, he is one of my favorite British cookbook authors.

First, some notes about the recipe:

1. Why is it called a "pistachio cake" when it uses equal parts almonds and pistachios? Shouldn't it be called a "pistachio almond cake"?
(being picky)

2. In my world, 8 oz. (1 cup or 2 sticks) of butter is a hell of a lot of butter unless you are making a pound cake, so I reduced the amount to 6 oz. (a stick and a half). Perfection.

3. I know many people have an aversion to rose water, a typical, very perfumey ingredient used in Middle Eastern pastries. Pure vanilla extract is a perfect substitute for the rose water.

4. FYI, no, there is no baking powder in this recipe, I didn't forget it.

5. Use an 8" springform pan if you have one.

6. This cake can not dry out. It gets better each day.

Ok, those are my notes. :)

For the cake:

6 ounces (1 stick and half) butter, slightly softened
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
3 eggs
1 cup unsalted pistachios
1 cup raw whole almonds (or almond meal)
zest & juice of an orange
1 teaspoon rose water (substitute 1 tsp vanilla)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cardamom

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
chopped pistachios for the top
dried rose petals for the top

Butter and line your 8" or 9" cake pan (I like a springform) with a parchment paper circle.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Grind the nuts in a coffee grinder or mini food processor (in different batches: almonds and pistachios separately).
If you are using almond meal, then just grind the pistachios.

Beat the butter with sugar, adding in eggs one at a time, then add in the ground nuts.

Next mix in the orange zest, juice and rose water (or vanilla).

Add in the flour and cardamom last.

Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake for 35 will notice the top is getting too dark from all the butter and nuts.

Cover the pan with a piece of foil and bake for another 15 minutes. (about 50 minutes total).

Let rest a few minutes before unmolding the cake onto a cooling rack.

Whisk the icing ingredients together with a fork.

Pour over the cake while still warm so the chopped pistachios (and rose petals) will stick to the glaze.

Let the cake fully cool, so the icing hardens.

This is a beautiful cake.
So good. So fragrant. So moist.

You know I loved it.

Have a slice.


Anonymous said…

Thanks so much for posting! I have been waiting for this one. Want to make it for Easter! thank you!! oxo
It looks so delicious!

Michele S.

Anonymous said…
Meant to ask what the reason was for no baking powder?
also what is best substitution for cardamom ... cinnommon?

thank you!
Stacey Snacks said…
As I noted in baking powder, I did not forget it.

Slater's original recipe does NOT use leavening agents, maybe because it's a dense nut torte/cake.

However.....I read some other bloggers who made this cake using a tsp of baking powder, and it came out fine. You decide.

marie r said…
This is another great pistachio cake and the link:

I am making your pistachio and zucchini the fact that no oil or butter!

Anonymous said…
Hi there,

Is there a print option on your site? Would love to make this.

Thank you!
Lee R. said…
Any problem with freezing this cake? Should it be before or after putting on the glaze?
Bebe said…
Anonymous, to print the recipe copy the url for the post and paste it in here:

You can then edit out anything you don’t want to print, including the photos - all or some - which can also be sized by % at that print site. Works like a charm.
Stacey Snacks said…
I always freeze my cakes. With the icing is fine. Of course it won’t be as good as fresh, but still was delicious.
Stacey Snacks said…
Once again Bebe,
Thanks for helping readers with the print option!

Unknown said…
I would like to take this to Easter Sunday. Is it suitable to make on Friday and still be tasty Sunday? My mother in law made this and it was amazing, I'm excited to try it with the rosewater included.
Stacey Snacks said…
Yes, you can make this Friday. Ice it and then keep it lightly covered in a cool place.
It gets better each day, so I say go ahead and make it ahead of time.

Stacey --
That cake is simply gorgeous and I know it was delicious.
xo, Rosemary