pistachio cake with lemon glaze

8    |   
Prep Time:
25 minutes    |   
Cook Time:
50 minutes

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This is adapted from the River Café in London and while I’ve never eaten there, I find that the cookbooks by owners Ruth Rogers and the late Rose Gray give the finest interpretation of Italian food outside of Italy. That’s why I chose this for my Italian cooking class last weekend. That and the fact that I love saying “pistachios” in Italian because it’s pronounced pis-takk-i —for some reason that cracks me up. Easter’s a big deal in Italy so why not enjoy a tortina di pistacchi for Easter this weekend?

pistachio cake


1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus additional for greasing pan, at room temperature
1 lemon, preferably Meyer lemon
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup slivered almonds
3/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

lemon juice from reserved lemon (above), plus additional lemon if necessary
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped


Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease bottom and sides of a 9-inch springform pan with some butter and line bottom with a circle of parchment paper.

With a zester, grate the lemon peel (reserve lemon). With the tip of a sharp paring knife, split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds. In a food processor, pulse the sugar with the peel and vanilla bean. Transfer to a bowl. In the same processor bowl, pulse the almonds and pistachios until finely ground, but do not let go to paste.

With an electric mixer, beat the butter and lemon-vanilla sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides the bowl between each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy and doubled in bulk, 3 to 5 minutes. With a spatula, fold in the lemon-vanilla sugar, then the flour and nuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and shake to even it, but do not worry about smoothing the top. Bake until a skewer comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Set on a rack to cool for 10 minutes, then loosen edges of cake with a kitchen knife and remove sides of pan. Invert cake and remove bottom of pan and peel off parchment paper, then invert right side up on a serving plate.

For glaze, squeeze juice from reserved lemon (you should have about 3 tablespoons; if not squeeze more lemon juice). In a very small pot, bring the lemon juice to a boil with the sugar, stirring until sugar is melted. Spoon over the cake, then sprinkle chopped pistachios on top. Let cake cool for a few minutes then cut into wedges to serve.