I first saw this Pistachio Lemon Syrup Cake on a wonderful English blog that I read thelittleloaf.wordpress.com . I have made it innumerable times since then with varying ingredients and it is always lovely. It’s a basic butter and sugar based cake but lets face it anything with Pistachios is bound to be good. I made it the first time with some Bronte Pistachio Paste, (see picture below), but if you can’t get hold of that don’t despair, this cake will work just as well without. Skip the paste and use a combination of almond flour ( meal ) and pistachio flour . This happens to be a bit rare too, but if you can get your hands on some this is a great way to use it. In place of the Pistachio flour you can grind some of your own Pistachios. If you want it to be entirely gluten free then just pop some gluten free flour in place of the plain flour. It’s very forgiving as long as you follow the basic rule. beat the butter and sugar till light and creamy and white.
The pistachios in the smaller square cake are from Bronte in Sicily where the greenest Pistachios in the world are harvested bi- annually on the perilous slopes of Mt Etna. The flavour is as brilliant as the colour and the elongated bodies and tiny flush of pink make them a very beautiful garnish. Just use the ones you can get if you think I am being too fancy, just like the ones I have used on the large round cake. All I know is you will love this cake. Add some Rose water to the syrup and some orange zest to the cake for a decidedly Middle Eastern flavour exchange. Make it in 1 tin or small loaf or round tins.
Here’s the Pistachio paste
Pistachio Lemon Syrup Cake
- 375 gm butter unsalted butter, room temperature (250 gm)
- 375 gm caster sugar (250 gm)
- 6 whole eggs whisked ( 4 )
- 1 lemon Zest
- 1 whole vanilla pod or extract, Seeds scraped from one
- 240 gm almond meal
- 100 gm pistachios ground -use a food processor
- 60 gm gluten free flour or plain flour, 30 gm
- 100 gm pistachio paste or 50 gm, optional - this improves the colour and taste but is not essential
For the syrup topping
- 60 ml lemon Juice approx 1/4 cup, or orange
- 1 whole lemon zest of one
- 50 gm caster sugar or more to taste
- 40 ml Rose Water (2 tablespoons, if using)
- 60 gm pistachios coarsely chopped and roasted or left whole if you prefer
- edible roses and icing sugar to garnish
- Set the oven to 150 C or 300 F and use small loaf tins or 1 x 26 cm tin (11 inch)
- Preheat the oven to 150 degrees C. Grease and the cake tin and use baking paper that comes all the way up the sides of the tin. If sing a loaf or square tin this will help with lifting the cake up and out of the tin.
- Beat the butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
- Gradually beat the eggs into the mixture until incorporated, then add the vanilla and lemon zest. ( and the pistachio paste if using)
- Fold in the ground nuts and flour.
- Divide the batter between your two tins ( or 1 ) and bake for between 40 – 50 mins, testing to see if the cakes are done by inserting a skewer into the middle. Cover with foil if the cake starts to brown too much
- When baked, remove from the oven and leave in the tins for about five minutes before running a knife around the outside to loosen. Leave the cake in the tin and dot with holes using a skewer or a fork.
For the syrup topping
- Mix together the lemon juice and sugar. Bring to the boil, then simmer a couple of minutes without reducing too much. Spoon over the cake covering every inch. It may not need all of the syrup. Sprinkle with roasted Pistachios. They will stick to the syrup a little and this will help them stay on.
- If you prefer a cake with less syrup just paint the top with a brush and syrup or just use a few spoonfuls before adding your toasted pistachios to the top