I wouldn’t say i’m a good cook. But I do know how to follow a recipe and I put a lot of heart into trying to create yummy food. I honestly enjoy making sweet treats versus cooking a meal. I find it very therapeutic and its a way to express my love.. cheesy but true!

It was my hubby Johns birthday last week and I decided to make a cake that I hadn’t made before. He loves pistachios, so I set about looking for a recipe. I found this one from smitten kitchen and so glad I did because it was very straight forward and easy.



I couldn’t find pistachio paste or pistachios out of the shell, so spent a good hour de-shelling and scraping off those bits on the nuts! I also do not own a food processor so did everything by hand! Which meant crushing the nuts with a rolling pin. I do not recommend doing it this way unless you want the exercise. Initially I wanted to make a mandarin buttercream but didn’t have the time to pop to the shops to buy mandarins. So instead I kept it simple and topped with plain buttercream and decorated with berries.

I had no idea what it tasted like until we ate it on his Birthday the next day. Cutting into it and seeing the lovely green colour, I prayed it would taste as good as it looked… and it did 🙂 The whole family was blown away and most importantly John loved it. I actually did not expect to like it because I don’t really like nuts. Especially not in cakes! But it was perfectly balanced, the taste of the pistachios was not overpowering nor was it mild. I will definitly be making this recipe again and be more adventurous with adding more ingredients into the mix.

Have a go at making it for yourself… 


  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (140 grams) roasted, shelled, and unsalted pistachios
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 10 tablespoons (5 ounces or 145 grams) unsalted butter, cold is fine
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • Slightly heaped 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (115 grams) all-purpose flour


Heat oven: To 325 degrees F. Line the bottom and long sides of a loaf pan with a sling of parchment paper. Coat paper and exposed short sides of loaf pan with nonstick spray or butter.

With a food processor: In the work bowl of your food processor, grind pistachios, sugar and salt together until as powdery as you can get them without it turning to paste. Cut butter into small chunks and blend with pistachio mixture. It’s going to be lumpy at first, and then balled for a minute, but keep running the machine until the mixture loosens up into a frosting-like consistency, i.e. smooth and shiny. Add eggs, one at time, blending briefly between each, scraping down sides as needed. Add milk, blend to combine. Add extracts and baking powder and blend to fully combine, scraping down workbowl. Add flour and pulse just until it disappears.

Without a food processor: You’re going to want to start with 140 grams pistachio meal or flour and softened butter and can proceed as with a traditional cake. Beat butter and sugar until fluffy, then beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in milk, then extracts until smooth. Beat in salt and baking powder until fully combined, scraping down bowl well. Add flour and mix just until it disappears.

To bake: Scrape batter into prepared pan and spread top smooth. Bake for 60 to 70 minutes (see note up top by way of explanation/apology). Mine took 70, but it’s safest to check sooner. Look for a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake to come out clean and then, do a second check near the top. I find with loaf cakes that the undercooked batter likes to hover right below the top crust. It often takes 10 minutes extra (built into this baking time already) just for that to set for me.

Let cake cool in pan on rack for 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around cake and transfer to cooling rack. Let cool completely.



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