An easy dairy-free pistachio and lemon loaf cake with the addition of cardamon spice and finished off with a tangy lemon drizzle.
This is one of the most interesting new cake flavours that has found its way into my kitchen. If you are looking for something a bit different to the usual but still want something that is really simple to make, then this cake might just be the solution.
The combination of pistachio and lemon is one that brings together two of my all time favourite flavours. But I couldn’t help but push things a little further and to the mix we have the addition of cardamom, giving this cake a lightly spiced flavour.
The basis of this cake starts with one of my favourite pantry ingredients, but not one that I tend to use a lot in baking: olive oil. Generally with baking we tend to lean towards light, mild tasting oils so that we get their fantastic moisture in the cake, but not the flavour.
However, with this cake, the added richness and fruity flavour of the olive oil is exactly what we want. It’s this flavour of the olive oil that combines with the lemon and the cardamon to give this cake it’s unique taste.
This cake is the ideal treat for morning or afternoon tea, as that lightly spiced, fruity flavour ensures it pairs perfectly with tea or coffee.
The warm spices of this pistachio cardamom cake with lemon makes it the perfect recipe for these in between seasons when you’re not quite feeling the heaviness of winter desserts, but still want something a bit comforting.
I also love loaf cakes for taking to work or friends and family as they are so easy to transport and are easy to freeze, if for some reason there happens to be any left over!
Next time you want to bake something from scratch but don’t really feel like any of the usuals, give this pistachio lemon loaf a try and I am sure you will love this combination as much as I do.
Note all ingredients and their quantities are laid out in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
There are a few ingredients needed to make this lemon pistachio loaf cake but they come together to provide a delicious texture and uniquely flavoured cake.
- Olive oil – not only adding moisture to the cake and helping create a beautifully soft texture, the olive oil will add richness and a fruity flavour that is so delicious in this cake. Make sure to use a good quality olive oil for this recipe.
- Eggs – holds our cake together and adds lightness ensuring the perfect texture.
- Caster sugar – also known as superfine sugar, this sugar is smaller in texture than regular white sugar and therefore dissolves quicker into the batter ensuring a lighter, smoother texture in your cake. You can however substitute for regular white sugar if needed.
- Lemon – we’re using both the juice and the zest of the lemon in this cake for the best flavour.
- Plain flour – also known as all purpose flour in the US. I haven’t tested this recipe using a gluten-free flour blend as a substitute.
- Almond meal – adds an extra nutty flavour and creates a denser crumb.
- Ground cardamom – adds a spiced flavour that complements the lemon and nutty flavours of the cake perfectly.
- Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda – the combination of both ensures we have a slow, even rise as the cake bakes.
- Dairy-free milk – I use oat milk but your favourite plant-based milk will work fine. Almond milk or soy milk would be good substitutes which won’t impact the taste of this cake.
- Pistachios – Try and buy already shelled pistachios as you really don’t need the hassle of shelling enough for this recipe yourself (trust me, I’ve done it and do not recommend). I also like to use salted for the best flavour in the cake but you could use unsalted and just add a pinch of salt to the batter instead.
For the glaze, you’ll just need some extra lemon juice and some icing sugar!
How to make pistachio and lemon drizzle cake
This cake couldn’t be more simple to make, you just need a couple of bowls and a whisk – no electric beaters required!
Start by whisking your eggs, olive oil, vanilla, sugar, lemon juice and zest together until a little foamy.
Next grab another bowl and lightly mix together all of your dry ingredients, just to make sure everything is combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and slowly add in the dairy-free milk and whisk until a smooth batter forms.
Finally fold through your roughly chopped pistachios.
Pour the batter into a loaf pan that has been greased and lined and bake for about 45 minutes. If the cake starts to get a bit too brown, lightly cover with foil until it’s finished baking.
Let the cake cool on a wire rack before adding the glaze.
The glaze couldn’t be more simple, it’s just icing sugar mixed with lemon juice for a sweet and tangy addition to the nutty, spiced cake. Plus it looks super pretty when drizzled over the top.
I like to then finish off the cake with extra chopped pistachios which adds extra crunch and colour!
If you don’t have a loaf pan, you could also make this using a 9×9 inch square pan, however check the cake after 30 minutes as it will take less time to cook through.
If you don’t want to serve this cake straight away you can store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry place at room temperature for 3-4 days.
Yes, you can freeze this cake for up to 3 months by wrapping it in plastic wrap tightly, either as a full cake or in individual slices. Defrost the cake at room temperature overnight while still wrapped for best results.
More spiced desserts:
Pistachio Cardamom and Lemon Loaf Cake
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup caster sugar
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- ¾ cups plain flour
- ¼ cup almond meal
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 2 tablespoons dairy-free milk
- ½ cup pistachios shelled and lightly crushed
For the glaze:
- ¼ cup icing sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- crushed pistachios optional for topping
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a 8 x 4 inch loaf pan with baking paper and a light spray of cooling oil.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, eggs and vanilla extract. Add in the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest and continue to mix.
- In a smaller bowl, add the flour, almond meal, cardamon, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and mix to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and start to whisk together. Add in the dairy-free milk to thin out the batter. Use a spatula to fold through the pistachios.
- Pour into the prepared pan evenly and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer when inserted comes out clean. If the cake starts to get a bit too brown, lightly cover with foil until it’s finished baking. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Make the glaze by mixing the lemon juice with the icing sugar a little at a time, adding more of each if needed until the glaze is the desired consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake, top with more crushed pistachios and let sit for a few minutes to set before slicing and serving.
Nutritional information is provided as a guide only and is calculated using automated online tools, therefore we cannot guarantee the accuracy. We encourage you to make your own calculations based on the actual ingredients used in your recipe.