Simple Pistachio Almond Cake

February  8, 2018
9 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Makes one 9" cake
Author Notes

This cake is simple to make, but it's ridiculously sophisticated in flavor. I add a touch of cardamom to round out the sweetness, and the texture is an absolute dream: moist and almost chewy but still delicate and light. If you want, you can easily use all pistachios (100 grams) or all almonds (100 grams). —Posie (Harwood) Brien

What You'll Need
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) shelled pistachios
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) almond flour
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
  • 120 milliliters (1/2 cup) good-quality olive oil
  • 113 grams (1/2 cup, 1 stick) lightly salted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9" cake pan with parchment paper, lightly grease the pan, and dust it with sugar, tapping out the excess sugar.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together the pistachios until they're fairly finely ground, but make sure not to pulse too much or they'll become a paste.
  3. Add the almond flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, and cardamom to the ground pistachios and pulse until everything is combined.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar until very thick and light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
  5. Slowly drizzle the olive oil into the egg/sugar mixture, beating as you go. Once combined, keep the mixer running on low and drizzle in the melted butter (if you don't have salted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt with the butter). Beat until the mixture comes together, but don't overmix as you want to keep as much air in the batter as possible.
  6. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet, taking care not to deflate the batter as much as possible. Once combined, pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top.
  7. Bake for about 45-55 minutes, or until the sides of the cake turn golden and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Let the cake cool completely in the pan before turning it out onto a rack to slice.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Diana Zahuranec
    Diana Zahuranec
  • Marikris
  • irinakt
  • Idalu
  • Karleen Pederson Wolfe
    Karleen Pederson Wolfe

41 Reviews

Diana Z. November 17, 2022
This is a really simple, delicate, delicious cake! Based on others' comments, I used 1/4 cup butter, 1/4 cup olive oil, and 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce. I also thought the pistachios looked kind of scant when I weighed them, and sure enough, when I measured them for volume, 1/2 cup came to 75 grams (so I used 75 grams pistachios). Finally, I beat the egg whites into stiff peaks and folded them in at the very end. The finished cake was really fluffy, not dense at all! I only needed to bake it for about 30 minutes. This may have been a combination of a slightly larger springform pan (10 inches) plus the whipped egg whites, not sure.
Lint April 25, 2022
This cake had a lovely crumb and was really easy to make. I already had almond meal (and no weighing scales) so used a scant 1 cup of it. Based on another poster's comments, I skipped the butter and used a total 3/4 cups of olive oil instead - good swap though I'd increase that by about 1 tbsp next time. It took about 35 mins to finish baking at 170C in my 8 inch round pan (my oven might run a bit hot) and turned out quite a bit darker on top.
Marikris August 28, 2020
Made this today. Added the zest of one whole navel orange, split it in half and squeezed the juice in. Added a little bit more cardamom. Took out the melted butter and instead increased the olive oil it 3/4c. It’s So Good. My kids love it. Very moist cake and flavorful. I put half in the freezer earlier but I will probably finish it all tomorrow. Next time I might cut the sugar to 3/4c. It’s almost a bit too sweet for me right now. I made it in a tart pan and it came out fantastic.
Maham May 29, 2018
Hi, can I use a bundt pan for this recipe?
Posie (. May 29, 2018
It won’t yield enough batter I don’t think!
Julie March 24, 2018
Lovely flavour of cake but despite using a whisk attachment, mine, though cooked through, badly sank in the middle...also share the thoughts with others that maybe the fat element could be cut down. I added the peel of an orange and was very happy with the added kick this gave, but I’d be put off making again due to its appearance....
irinakt March 4, 2018
Has anyone tried with hazelnuts? Just asking because I have so many left over from another recipe....thanks!
JoAnne L. March 4, 2018
I think that you can use almost any nut of your choice. I used pecans and it was delicious.
Linda February 17, 2018
I veganized it by subbing aquafaba for eggs and beating until stiff peaks formed, halved the sugar, cut out the butter and it came out wonderful.
Amanda N. February 20, 2018
Sounds amazing! Thanks so much!
Nicolinitiza February 16, 2018
omg! This is amazing. Used coconut sugar and over cooked a little, but still simply delicious.
Idalu February 16, 2018
Can anyone help please. Why is it that 50g of almond flour is 1/2 but 100g of flour is 3/4 cup. The ratio of nut flour to regular flour isn’t equal part. For those who have tried the cake, how much flour and nit flour did you use. Thanks.
Nichola February 18, 2018
The ratio of nut flours to regular flour is equal by weight. Weight is not volume.

I followed the recipe as written, cake is in the oven as I type. Will report back if there are any issues.
Nichola February 18, 2018
The same way 50g of feathers would take a shopping bag to fill, but 50g of rocks fit easily in the palm of your hand.

The ratio of nut flours to regular flour is equal by weight. Weight is not volume.

I followed the recipe as written, cake is in the oven as I type. Will report back if there are any issues.
Nichola February 18, 2018
So the baking time was a bit too long for rapadura sugar (what I had on hand), I pulled it out after 39 minutes but should have tested at 35. 330f/165c was perfect for fan forced. It's delicious though, and still quite moist!
susan February 15, 2018
Would this work in a 9" springform pan?
Nichola February 18, 2018
That's what I used and it turned out fine!
Virginia February 15, 2018
Wonder if anyone has made this cake experimenting with reducing the amount of oil/butter? Thanks for any comments.
Nicole S. February 16, 2018
I was wondering the exact same thing as between the nuts, oil, and butter it seems quite drenched. I wonder if some Kefir, buttermilk, or yogurt wouldn’t help moisten it with a little less fat.
JoAnne L. February 15, 2018
I’m going to try this with gluten-free flour (Bob’s Red Mill 1 to 1) and egg replacer. It sounds too good not to try!
Amanda N. February 15, 2018
Do post on how it works without eggs--I'm vegan and would LOVE to try this. I was thinking maybe flax eggs would work, but I'm not sure.
Martha February 15, 2018
Have you tried a powdered egg replacer? I've baked with Ener-G Foods Egg Replacer and have had excellent results with it. Any brand would do the trick. I know you can bake with flax eggs, but I wonder if the flax would impart an additional flavor you may or may not want.
Amanda N. February 20, 2018
Good to know--thanks!
JoAnne L. March 4, 2018
I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Four 1 to 1, Ener-G Egg Replacer that I beat to stiff peaks, pecans (I’m allergic to pistachios) and Ghee in place of the butter. I make my own Ghee, it’s been used by traditional Vegans for ever in India. I did add a teaspoon or so of Sonoma Syrup Co. Vanilla Bean Extract Crush which makes all baked goods taste heavenly and upped the baking powder by 1/2 teaspoon.
The cake was delicious but oily. I’m going to try it again, omitting the Ghee and toasting the pecans before use. I think that will do it!
Julia February 15, 2018
Hello, can I use the walnut oil instead of olive oil?
Karleen P. February 12, 2018
It say line the pan with parchment, then grease and sugar the pan. Do I grease the paper or just the sides of the pan?
Posie (. February 12, 2018
The sides and the paper!
Karleen P. February 12, 2018
Okay, thanks. I've never had to grease parchment paper before but I'll try it out.
Posie (. February 12, 2018
Totally fine if you don’t — it shouldn’t stick but I grease it so that the sugar sticks to get that nice crunch!
Judith R. February 11, 2018
Am waiting for this cake to cool, and if the finished cake is half as delicious as the "bowl-lickings", it's going to be wonderful! It's a little sunken from th edges to the center, and having beaten the eggs with the sugar, am wondering a couple of things. I used the flat beater on the stand mixer, and am wondering if the whisk attachment wouldn't be better? The egg mixture didn't seem all that airy. And should it be slightly domed or slightly concave? Whatever, it smells so good it'll be hard to wait until it cools off...
Posie (. February 12, 2018
Yes the whisk beater will help a lot to get more air into the eggs! Hope it was still delicious...
Judith R. February 12, 2018
Ok, it's a spectacular cake! Pretty much disappeared at dinner. Filled the top with vanilla scented, barely sweetened whipped homemade creme fraiche. Will be making another soon when I don't have to share with guests. Thank you, Posie!
Ellen B. February 10, 2018
Could this be made with matzah cake meal? Passover is coming...matzah cake meal is already cooked and so cannot lend active gluten to help structure the cake as flour does. However it seems like all the structure comes from the whipped butter and sugar.
Posie (. February 10, 2018
Hmm I’m not sure! I’d say give it a shot but know that it’ll be denser. I’m just not sure whether the matzoh meal would absorb more liquid?
Ellen B. March 4, 2018
Matzah meal absorbs liquid VERY slowly. So it might be grainy. This would be cake meal, which is finer than regular matzah meal. I'm making a seder so will try it this year and report back.
Bea February 10, 2018
I can't wait to try this today! Would you happen to have the nutritional value? Thanks for sharing this with full recipe!
Posie (. February 10, 2018
I’m sorry I don’t!
Bea February 11, 2018
Thank you 🦋
Ali March 25, 2018
I did some calculatins today and if you bake it the way the recipe calls for it, each Half quarter portion of the cake will have 357 calories, about 300 of which is from fats. I’m desperately looking for a way to reduce fat content in this masterpiece.
Joan V. February 9, 2018
Could you use all ground walnuts? Two layers with milk chocolate icing..sort of like a torte? I'm anxious to make this.

Posie (. February 10, 2018
Yes! I think that would be delicious!