This utterly delicious Pistachio Lemon Cake is an updated lemon variation of the Orange Pistachio Cake I posted back in 2014. The reason for the update is twofold. The images for the 2014 recipe are a bit embarrassing and I was given some beautiful pistachios by a friend who imports them to South Africa from Iran.

Pistachio Lemon Cake

I loved hearing a bit more about pistachios, the king of nuts. The English name pistachio is derived from “Pisteh”, which is a Persian name and until a few decades ago, Iran was called Persia.  And the adjective Persian is still widely used for anything that is related to Iran, its history, civilization, culture, art, language, food and people. Iran has been a producing pistachios since the 5th century BC and have been exporting their pistachios for over 100 years. Iran has secured a foothold in the world market and recently managed to once again regain the position as top producer. Pistachios are cholesterol free, heart-healthy and rich in protein and fibre.

Pistachio Lemon Cake

Pistachio Lemon Cake

I made this cake with almond flour as apposed to ground almonds. I have to say I prefer ground almonds to almond flour. I found the flour too fine and I think the skins are processed as well for the flour so the cake was slightly darker than what I would have liked. Plus I prefer the added texture you get from ground almonds. I find shelling pistachios to be one of the most relaxing things to do so shelled some roasted and salted pistachios (250g unshelled yields about 130g shelled), therefor you will see no salt is added in the recipe. If you are using unsalted pistachios, add half a teaspoon of salt to the batter. The cake is so moreish and the sharp lemon drizzle works really well with the nutty earthiness of the cake. Enjoy!
Pistachio Lemon Cake
Nuttisome Premium Persian Pistachios are available in 3 flavours : Natural Sea Salt, Precious Saffron & Sea Salt and Spicy Chili & Sea Salt and are dry-roasted in small batches and delicately tumbled using only the purest sea-salt, natural chilli and precious saffron. You can find it at the Farmers Market every Saturday in Hermanus, the fabulous Goozi Kitchenshop in Hermanus, Giovanni’s Deli in Seapoint, Vincent Palotti Hospital  Gift shop / Wiesenhof coffee shop and the OK Convenience Store in Hermanus.
Pistachio Lemon Cake

On a photography note, I have partnered with Nikon South Africa and will present a Food Photography Workshop on the 16th of March 2017 in Cape Town. I will spend the morning showing how I create and style an image and then hand over to participants to style and photograph their own images. I am really looking forward to this workshop and hope to see you there. Follow this link to book your spot.

Pistachio Lemon Cake


  • 150 g butter softened
  • 165 g caster sugar
  • tbsp finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs at room temperature
  • 200 g ground almonds
  • 130 g ground pistachios about 250g in their shells
  • half tsp salt
  • Lemon drizzle :
  • 100 g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rose water optional
  • Decoration:
  • chopped pistachios for sprinkling optional


  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C
  • Grease and line a 23 x 13 x 8cm loaf pan with baking paper and set side
  • Beat the butter, sugar, zest and vanilla for 10 - 12 minutes until pale and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl a few times
  • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition
  • Beat the mixture for a further 3 - 4 minutes
  • Fold through the ground almonds and ground pistachios to combine
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top
  • Bake for 1 hour - 1 hour 10 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the tin
  • Allow the cake to cool completely in the tin at room temperature
  • Make the drizzle by adding the lemon juice to the icing sugar. Add the rose water if using and mix. Add more icing sugar or lemon juice if needed to get the required consistency
  • Once completely cooled, remove the cake from the tin and pour the lemon drizzle over the cake
  • Sprinkle with pistachios (if used) and serve
  • Adapted from Jennifer Rodda - Milk and Honey

Click here for more delicious recipes with pistachios recipes

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Disclaimer *** I received Nuttisome Premium Persian Pistachios as a gift. This blog post is written out of  my own accord and I have not received any payment for it.

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