The Desserts of Summer – Lemon Frosted Pistachio Cake

I already wrote about this cake from Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries when I was also writing the blog A Year of Living Gorgeously, so there’s more cake-y description, links and photos here

However the inlaws are in town, so the Minx and I whipped up another cake and I made a few modifications to the original recipe to make a bigger cake, so I’m writing out the full recipe here.


Here’s the cake in its latest incarnation.  Perhaps one day the Minx and I will manage a tasteful version.


I have a 23cm cake tin instead of the 22cm one specified in the recipe and used to end up with a slightly flat cake, so I have modified this by ‘adding a little bit more’ to the butter and dry ingredients which seemed to work although they weren’t precisely calculated.  The amounts I used are given below. In order to keep the ratio of dried ingredients to wet similar, I also added one tablespoon of olive oil, which I’ve used before in dense, moist middle-eastern type cakes such as this and which was a super successful addition.

If you want the original recipe for a 22cm tin then there is a link here.

Lemon Frosted Pistachio Cake (from the Kitchen Diaries, with slight modifications)

275g butter

275g Caster (baker’s) sugar

3 eggs

Shelled pistachio nuts 100g

Ground almonds 130g

A large orange

1 tsp rosewater

1tbsp olive oil

75g plain flour


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/Gas 3.  Line the bottom of a non-stick 23cm cake tin with baking parchment.

Cream the butter and sugar in a food mixer until very light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating between each addition. Blitz the pistachios to fine crumbs in a food processor, then add them, with the ground almonds to teh butter an dsugar. Finely grate and squeeze the orange, then stir it in with a the rosewater. lastly fold in the flour with a large metal spoon.

Scoop the mixture into the lined baking tin and bake for fifty minutes (I usually need to add 10-20 mins but start checking at 50) covering the top lightly with foil for the last ten minutes (I never bother). Chek the cake by inserting a metal skewer (I use uncooked spaghetti) into the centre. It should come out fialry clean, without any wet mixture stuck to it. Leave to cool in the tin before running a palette knife around the edge and turning it out.

Decorate with icing made from 200g sieved icing sugar and the juice of 1 lemon.

You all know how much I love my American readers (and er, those in Liberia and Myanmar), but today I really can’t be arsed to translate all the quantities into pounds and ounces.  If must insist on being pretty much the only nation not using metric measures then Google is your friend.



  1. says

    That. Looks. Amazing. If I can figure out how to convert some of the measurements, I’d love to make this (seriously, can we just switch to the metric system already?). Sounds expensive with all the pistachios, but worth it for a special occasion!

  2. says

    Great jab at Americans not using the metric system! My 4th grade teacher told me 35 years ago that we had one year to learn the metric system. I’m still waiting…

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