Pistachio-Lemon-Olive Oil Cake

pistachio olive oil cake

Pistachio, lemon, and olive oil cake

A good few years ago (back in 2013) I was out for dinner with a friend at Cafe Marlayne.  I tried pistachio cake for the first time and when I had that first bite I knew instantly, I was in love. The sponge was moist but light enough. It had a sort of melted white chocolate layer on top and it was finished with crumbs of pistachio sprinkled all over.

It wasn’t a particularly fancy cake but for some reason I couldn’t stop thinking about it. That’s when I decided to bake my own. Of course I didn’t have the courage to ask for their recipe so I searched online and tweaked a few things to try and imitate what I tasted that night. The result was not bad – the recipe I used had lemon zest and juice in the sponge which I quite liked as it gave a nice fresh taste but I felt it overpowered the pistachio.


For the cake:

  • 200g shelled pistachios (plus a few handfuls for the sprinkles on top)
  • 50g polenta
  • 50g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 100g olive oil
  • 100g butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g caster sugar
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon

For the cake topping – white chocolate ganache:

  • 150g white chocolate
  • 75g double cream


Prepare x2 20cm cake tins (line and grease and coat with flour) and pre-heat oven to 160°C fan.

  1. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the polenta.
  2. Process the pistachio in a blender until fine. Add this to the flour mix.
  3. Melt the butter and add to the olive oil. Put aside.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and the sugar until light.
  5. Add to this the butter and oil mix.
  6. Next, whisk in the pistachio and flour mix and combine.
  7. Then add the lemon juice and zest.
  8. Divide the mixture equally between the tins and bake for 45-50 minutes.
  9. As always rest in the tin for about 10-15minutes before turning over to a cooling rack.
  10. While the cake is cooling you can make the ganache or take a break even and have a cup of tea as it’s pretty easy and doesn’t need that much time to make a ganache.
  11. Boil the cream in a pan over a medium heat. Keep stirring to avoid burning the bottom or creating a skin on top.
  12. Once it’s starting to simmer pour this over the white chocolate in a bowl and whisk until the chocolate has completely melted.
  13. When your sponge is cooled pour and spread some of this on top of one sponge. Then place the other sponge on top and pour some more ganache on top.
  14. Chop up some handfuls of pistachio and sprinkle on top of the cake.

Pistachio is not a cheap ingredient but please give this a try and let me know what you think – it’s not quite the recipe/cake that I tried at Cafe Marlayne but it’s still tasty!

Alternatives – You can use melted white chocolate instead of making a ganache. Or add some orange juice as well or in place of the lemon juice.


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