I’m not the biggest fan of pistachios and will probably never be. But ground almonds and I have been close for a loooong time and thanks to them, I’m slowly learning to accept pistachios as well. But in this moist cake, they work so well together, producing a flavour that’s sweet, nutty and not dominantly one or the other. I’m hooked!
This is adapted from a recipe in Molly on the Range (seriously, I love that book SO MUCH) which makes a fudgy, nutty loaf with almond extract. The original recipe uses 4 eggs and a whole cup of butter, but I thought of making a smaller cake that used less of both. I also reduced the amount of pistachios, and upped the amount of almonds for personal flavour preferences, but you can still taste both. A little bit of fresh orange juice is a last minute touch I added but if you don’t have it, there’s also lemon zest in there for citrusy fun! I also included a little baking powder to give the cake some lift, and milk to help make a spreadable, lighter batter. I hadn’t expected all of these changes to work as well as they did but ohmygod, this is gooood!
The cake is on the denser side as any almond cake would be, but super tender, moist and so flavourful! The citrus is subtle but tastes lovely and despite all the nuts, it’s not an excessively heavy cake which means you can eat more, yay. It comes together quickly but takes a little time to bake, about 50 minutes so plan accordingly.
While grinding the almonds and pistachios, some slightly larger bits are likely to remain. But they add a nice texture and crunch to the cake, so don’t worry about leaving them out. In fact, make sure you’re not grinding them to the point of turning them into nut butter!
I loved this cake still slightly warm from the oven or at room temperature. It reminded me of Indian badam halwa in cake form, which I never thought I’d say, but I promise it’s a good thing! Let’s get baking!
Please read the recipe notes before beginning.
Almond & Pistachio Cake
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 cup finely ground almonds
- 3/4 cup finely ground pistachios
- 1/4 tsp salt if using unsalted butter
- 115 gms butter, at room temp
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temp (see notes)
- Zest of 1 lemon, about 1 tsp
- 3 tbsps fresh orange juice, optional
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, if not using orange juice
- 3 tbsps milk
- Sliced almonds for topping, optional
Preheat the oven to 175 C. Lightly grease a 9×5 loaf tin, then line it with baking paper (leaving a little overhang for easy removal) and grease the paper as well. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift the flour and baking powder. Add the almonds, pistachios and salt, if using. Mix well.
In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs and lemon zest and beat well till smooth.
Finally add the orange juice/vanilla and milk. When the citrus and milk combine, the batter may curdle a bit, but it sorts itself out in the next step.
Fold in the flour and nuts mixture until you have a smooth, thick, but spreadable batter.
Spoon into the prepared tin, smoothen the top, sprinkle on some sliced almonds and bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the centre comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Rotate the tray halfway through the baking time and loosely cover the top with foil if it's browning too quickly.
Allow the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then lift the cake out using the paper overhang and set it on a wire rack. Gently peel away the paper from the sides and allow it to cool completely before slicing. In warm temperatures, this cake is best stored in the fridge, otherwise it will keep at room temperature in an airtight tin for 3 to 4 days. Enjoy!
*I haven’t tried making this cake without eggs. The eggs help give it moisture and prevent it from becoming too dense with the almonds and pistachios. One reader said flax eggs worked for her if you want to try that.
*This is not a very tall cake if baked in a 9×5 pan. You could double the recipe or bake it as written in an 8×4 pan for a slightly taller cake.
* Adapted from Molly on the Range
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