Lemon Pistachio Cake
This Spring I am obsessed with Lemon. Well, actually, I am always kind of obsessed with Lemon, but this Spring it seems especially strong. I am going to try to spread out all of the lemon based recipes that I am baking and collecting over here, but this one needs to be out in the universe right away.
I am very into the idea of layering right now, and combining different ingredients in new ways. This cake combines two lovely Spring flavors, lemon and pistachio. They are gorgeous together- completely complimentary.
This cake has a crispy, dense layer of pistachio crust on the bottom, and then a tender layer of Lemon Buttermilk cake baked right on top of it. It is finshed with a sweet and sour lemon glaze, and garnished with gorgeous chopped raw pistachios.
It definitely makes an impact with how pretty it is. I also think that this cake can do double duty as a dessert, tea cake or as a breakfast cake. I served this for brunch this past weekend. The other good news is that it sits well. The (shrinking) leftovers have been under a cake dome on the counter this week. Three days after I first served it, my mom (who is picky!) declared it still great. That means it was still great three days later ☺
OK- hopefully this can brighten up a meal for your family or friends in the near future.
So this is what you do:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 10” Spring form pan with baking spray.
For the Pistachio Layer:
In a food processor, combine the flour, pistachios, sugar and salt. Pulse until well combined. Add the butter and pulse until a green, uniform dough forms.
Pour the dough into the spring form pan.
Press into a firm crust on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
For the Cake Layer:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the butter, sugar and lemon zest.
Beat the butter, sugar and zest together until they are light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, combining thoroughly in between.
Add the lemon juice, (it will look curdled, but it’s not!)
Add one half of the dry ingredients, and then half of the buttermilk.
Finish with the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix the batter until all of the ingredients are completely combined and the batter is light and fluffy.
Pour the cake batter on top of the pistachio layer.
Bake the cakes on a middle shelf for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool before removing from the pan.
While the cake is cooling, whisk until the desired consistency: Opaque and thick enough to coat, but still runny enough to drip down the sides.
When the cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides.
Sprinkle with a few Tbs of chopped pistachio nuts.
Slice and Enjoy!
Recipe: Lemon Pistachio Cake
- Lemon-Pistachio Cake
- Pistachio Layer
- 1 1/2 cups AP flour
- 2 cups raw pistachio nuts
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces
- ½ tsp salt
- Lemon Buttermilk Cake
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 1-2 Tbs fresh lemon zest, (skin of 2 large lemons)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups cake flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- Lemon Glaze
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Prepare a 10” Spring form pan with baking spray.
- For the Pistachio Layer: In a food processor, combine the flour, pistachios, sugar and salt. Pulse until well combined. Add the butter and pulse until a green, uniform dough forms.
- Pour the dough into the spring form pan.
- Press into a firm crust on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
- For the Cake Layer: In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the butter, sugar and lemon zest.
- Beat the butter, sugar and zest together until they are light and fluffy.
- In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
- With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, combining thoroughly in between.
- Add the lemon juice, (it will look curdled, but it’s not!)
- Add one half of the dry ingredients, and then half of the buttermilk.
- Finish with the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix the batter until all of the ingredients are completely combined and the batter is light and fluffy. .
- Pour the cake batter on top of the pistachio layer.
- Bake the cakes on a middle shelf for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool before removing from the pan.
- While the cake is cooling, whisk until the desired consistency: Opaque and thick enough to coat, but still runny enough to drip down the sides.
- When the cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with a few Tbs of chopped pistachio nuts.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 35 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 12
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Mmmmm, this looks fantastic. I’m going to be honest, I’ve never done pistachio. In fact, me and my meat and potatoes self hasn’t even tried a pistachio ever I don’t think…. hmmm. But, the way you simplify things and present them makes them look very desirable so I think I’m going to step out of my comfort zone and give this one a try. I’ve got one more major shoot to get out of my way and then I can get back in the kitchen. I finished my last wedding now I’ve got to finish the baseball league I shot then I’ll have more time to cook. Thanks for this new inspiration.
Lol! Sounds like you don’t have much going on! Start small and grab some pistachios that are roasted and salted and eat them at the baseball game! They are delicious 🙂
Oh my, I could probably eat that entire cake….
I live in the pistachio land in fact i grew with it from the birth date but this recipe is a new version of pistachio cake we have a hundred recipe for it ,i will try it enshalah
That looks so wonderfully amazing, there just aren’t words!!!
What an original cake, Heather and it’s beautiful to look at, too.
Thanks everybody 🙂 glad you like it!
Heather, you have outdone yourself with this gorgeous cake. i have been so into pistachios and lemon lately. Must try this recipe.
Love the photo of you on your home page!
Heather, this looks utterly amazing. You’ve really out done yourself.
I’m a butter aficionado myself, but holy cow, three sticks of butter in a cake? I had to recheck your recipe to make sure i had it right. Makes it taste better, right? 🙂
Oh my gosh! I guess i hadn’t even noticed! You could certainly cut the crust down to a half recipe, (therefore eliminating a stick!) and you would just have a thinner pistachio layer.
Anything lemon works for me.
Pistachio and lemon – can’t go wrong with the combination.
Hi there. I linked over from tasty kitchen… I’m so eager to give this recipe a try…. looks utterly amazing!
PS – After submitting a number of recipes on the TK website, I’m in awe that you submitted this one… must have taken you forever to enter all these ingredients.
lol! I am just glad that people are interested in giving it a try!
I just tried this. I couldn’t get my glaze to be the white consistency in the pictures. It just remained yellow-ish, although a bit thicker than just lemon juice. What did I do wrong? I thought the cake layer was also a little mushy — did I underbake it?
Add more powdered sugar to thicken the glaze. The cake should be moist- but not mushy. It had to have needed a little longer. Did you cut into yet? I remember thinking that mine would be mushy, and it wasn’t when I cut into it. I am so sorry if it didn’t work out!
This cake was perfect for a lemon and pistachio loving special friend. I definitely cut the pistachio crust in half because I also couldn’t enjoy a 3 stick o’ butter cake. (I wish I’d realize that before I mortar and pestled two cups of pistachios…no food processor here.) I also didn’t have a spring form pan, so I used a large oval casserole dish. It took about 40mins, but turned out great! And I used some milk and vanilla instead of lemon juice in the glaze because the cake was so delightfully lemony as is. It was delicious, but I don’t know how you made the glaze cascade over the cake so beautifully!
This is so pretty! 🙂
I have been meaning to post something like this on my blog and this gave me an idea. Cheers.
Plenty of excellent design here…love this….
delicious cake. how would you edit the recipe for a 9″ spring form pan? i used a 9″ and baked for about 45 mins and it was still slightly under cooked. what are your thoughts?? thanks!!
probably an extra 10 minutes should do it!
This is amazing. I brought it into work, and everyone is stopping by to ask for the recipe. Thanks for this awesome treat!
Mmm! I love how dense the pistachio layer looks. It reminds me of my first pistachio dessert – some pastry (the name of which is a guess to me) at this French bakery in Sarasota, FL. I can only get it when I’m visiting my Floridian cousins, but now, I finally found a recipe to try and recreate it!
For the Brits amongst us, what’s the weight of a stick of butter? Also what’s AP flour? I love pistachio and am planning to bake this for family the Easter Sunday.
8 ounces or a half cup is a stick of butter
AP flour just means plain old All Purpose
Thank you for pointing that out- I will try to be more precise in the future- hope you enjoy the cake!!
I made this cake according to directions, except I halved the recipe for the pistachio layer. It needed about 40 minutes in the oven, and though it still seemed mushy I took it out. Once cooled it was perfect. This is an amazing recipe.
This cake is delicious… but I baked it for twice the suggested time (50 mins) and ended up taking it out of the oven while it was still mushy, out of concern of burning the pistachio layer. It is totally yummy….. but much more lemon curd like in the middle than your photos show…. Maybe calling it a tart instead of a cake?
This has been on my “To Bake” list for 2 years and finally I did it for a collegue’s going away picnic. Everyone loved it and I think it may be my husband’s new favorite. The cake is very moist and the shortbread crust is lovely. (in fact I may just do a pistachio shortbread at sometime in the future). I skimped on the lemon zest and I think I will add an extra zest of one lemon in the future. My Glaze was very thin – not like the icture at all despite the fact that my cake cooled a full day. I would add zest to it and less juice next time to have a thicker glaze, though I think the liquid soaking into the cake added to it’s tastiness.
Lovely, Lovely, Lovely cake for all seasons.
I wanted to love this cake but ended up being so disappointed. First I had to bake the cake almost 55 minutes because it wasn’t even close to being done at 35. I took it it after 55 minutes in fear that it would be over done but when I cut into it it melted in the middle like a lava cake. I addition it was sooooo sweet and rich I cloud barely even finish one slice. ( and I love sweets!) I took a photo but I’m unable to post a photo here:(. I didn’t really taste the pistachio flavor over the intense sweet and lemon flavor. I think it may have been better without the frosting. Maybe serve with whipped cream. It did look beautiful.
Heather I cannot thank you enough for sharing this recipe. I have been wanting to make it for awhile and thought Easter was just the occasion. It was a huge hit. I was licking the bowl of the crust and cake batter and the ingredients were fabulous raw. I knew it could only get better with baking. A definite keeper. Not sure why all the fuss about 3 sticks of butter. It’s cake, not salad, the recipe is perfect as is.
I do have a little bit of feedback. You say to use a wire whisk attachment for the cake batter, but your photo uses a beater. I thought since it was butter and cake batter that it made sense to use the beater. The instructions for the cake batter also say to “Add one half of the dry ingredients, and then half of the buttermilk.
Finish with the rest of the dry ingredients”, but it does not say when to add the 2nd half off the buttermilk.
I ended up baking for 55 minutes. My oven was running around 347 degrees, but still seems like a significant difference in bake time. I also ended up with runnier glaze as someone else commented. It was hard to tell how thick the consistency should be. When I poured it on it was more translucent and completely soaked into the cake, which of course changed the consistency of the cake and also did not look as pretty as yours. I had just shy of a 1/2 c of lemon juice, so next time I would cut it off at the 1/3 c. I saw that more confectioners sugar would have thickened it, but I think it would have been too sweet and too much glaze.
Looking forward to making this again and will learn a little from my first time. 5 stars!
When did you add the rest of the buttermilk?
Shawnie I never received an alert of your question. I just coincidentally was thinking about this recipe and saw your comment. It has been a year, so I do not remember for sure, but I believe I alternated the dry and wet as 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry, 1/2 buttermilk, 1/3 dry. Either that or I finished with buttermilk. Either way, I know I didn’t add it any later than that. It must not have made much of a difference, because the cake was delicious!
What happens to the other HALF of the “1/2 cup” buttermilk since you’re only adding in half of the half (which is a quarter cup)–see line 11? I assume it’s the glaze but it’s unclear what you’re WHISKING in line 15: “While the cake is cooling, whisk until the desired consistency: Opaque and thick enough to coat, but still runny enough to drip down the sides.”
You have detailed everything so nicely that really helped me so much. I am looking for more of such delicious recipes in future too.