Pistachio & almond cake

LEVEL: Advanced


SERVES 10-20

25g pistachio nuts, plus a few extra chopped nuts to decorate
185g unsalted butter, softened
185g golden caster sugar
3 medium eggs
100g ground almonds
85g semolina
2 tsp baking powder
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp clear honey


l’ve given a very rough serving quantity for this nutty, dense and rich cake. You could serve it in thin slivers as a perfect sweet hit to accompany a bitter coffee, in which case it will stretch to about 20, but you could also serve it as a dessert, where you can be more generous with your portion sizes and it will serve about 10. For dessert I’d accompany it with a large bowl of thick yoghurt or crème fraîche to cut through the richness. The cake can sink in the middle so if you want to avoid this, bake it in a ring tin, buttered and dusted with flour inside, or as individual cakes in cupcake cases in a deep muffin tray.

Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin then line it with nonstick baking paper. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. 

Whizz the pistachios in a blender until finely ground, pulsing the mixture so the nuts don’t become greasy.

Put the butter into a large bowl. Add the sugar, eggs, ground almonds, semolina, baking powder and ground pistachios.

Whisk well using an electric hand whisk until everything is mixed together. Spoon into the tin and bake for 40 minutes, until golden.

Stir together the lemon juice and honey. Take the cake out of the oven and pour the honey mixture all over the top. Leave to cool before scattering over chopped pistachios and serving.


I like to serve this with a saffron syrup, made by soaking a pinch of saffron threads in 75ml of boiling water until the liquid is a rich golden colour. Add 100g caster sugar, heat until the sugar dissolves then spoon over the warm cake and serve with chopped pistachios on top.