I have a new favorite dessert.
I probably say that a lot, so bear with me.
This time it’s for real. Ya know, until my next favorite comes along.
All kidding aside, this lemony pistachio olive oil cake is unbelievably good. And it’s SO simple to make! I tested this a couple times, and both times, I marveled at how easy the actual process was. Something this simple shouldn’t taste THIS good.
Dan, my lemon-averse husband, couldn’t stop eating this. He gave me a cocky “I know I won’t like it” look when I challenged him to try it. He did his best to pretend that it was “just OK,” but the countless bites shoved into his mouth afterwards told a different story.
He eventually confessed that he really liked the cake. Lemon and all.
Don’t you love when silly marital disagreements end in your favor? I relish it. Haha.
I find that olive oil cakes are really hard to mess up. They stay impossibly moist (sorry if that’s a trigger word for you) and dense (in a good way) and have such rich flavor. I feel like even if you overbake this, it would still taste amazing.
To give this olive oil cake some oomph, I stir in finely ground pistachios and lots of fresh lemon juice and zest. The combination of the olive oil, buttery pistachios, and bright lemon is crazy good.
I clearly enjoy pistachios and lemons together – I’ve made this combo before!
It all works so well together.
And despite how lovely this looks and tastes, it really is easy to mix together. You don’t even need a mixer for this – because there’s no butter to be creamed!
The one caveat is that you do need a food processor or high-powered blender to make the ground pistachios, but the actual effort involved is minimal. They get stirred into the cake with the dry ingredients and add such a wonderful nutty, buttery note to things.
I never met a pistachio concoction I didn’t love! This cake is no different.
The cake batter consists of olive oil (you want a decent quality one here since it is a major flavor component), buttermilk, eggs, lots of fresh lemon flavor, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and the pistachios. That’s it!
Once everything is mixed together, it gets poured into a springform pan and popped into a hot oven. I love using a springform pan for this because it makes unmolding and presenting the cake very easy, but this recipe will work in an 8- or 9-inch baking dish as well. Totally up to you!
After the cake has baked and cooled completely, I like to top it with a quick and easy lemon glaze. To really drive home that flavor – and also, to make it look pretty!
A few chopped pistachios, a lemon slice or two, and maybe some fresh berries on top before serving takes this to a whole new level. All the toppings are optional but recommended!
Impossibly moist and tender with incredible flavor!
As simple as this cake is (I know I keep saying that – I just keep marveling over it!), this is something I would proudly serve on the fanciest of occasions. It’s that good.Print
Pistachio Lemon Olive Oil Cake
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 8 servings 1x
This Pistachio Lemon Olive Oil Cake is impossibly moist and tender and filled with bright flavor. It comes together simply and tastes as decadent and rich as any other higher maintenance dessert. Nutty, buttery, and with the perfect lemon tang!
For the Cake:
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 1 cup shelled pistachios
- ¾ cup good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or extract)
- Zest of 1 lemon (roughly 1 tablespoon)
- Juice of 1 lemon (roughly 3 tablespoons)
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Additional pistachios, chopped
- Lemon slices
- Fresh berries
For the Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Liberally spray a 9-inch springform pan (see Notes) with nonstick spray.
- Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until they are finely ground – be careful not to go too far or you’ll end up with pistachio butter.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon zest and juice, and buttermilk. Whisk in the sugar.
- Measure out 1 cup of the ground pistachios and add to a second bowl (reserve the rest for serving). Whisk in the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until everything is just combined. Resist the urge to overmix (this results in a dry, dense cake).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and set in the middle (insert a toothpick in the center and if it comes out mostly clean with a few moist crumbs, the cake is done).
- Allow the cake to cool completely in the pan and then carefully run a knife around the edges and release the springform sides. Transfer to a serving plate.
- Whisk together the lemon juice and zest and powdered sugar until a thick but pourable glaze forms.
- Pour the glaze over the cake, as liberally as you want.
- Garnish with chopped pistachios, lemon slices, and fresh berries – all optional!
- Slice and serve!
I like to use a springform pan for easy release and presentation, but this cake should also work in a 9-inch regular cake pan or even an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Category: dessert
Keywords: pistachio olive oil cake, pistachio lemon olive oil cake, lemon olive oil cake, pistachio cake
a beautiful weekend baking project! And I’m always a sucker for lemon anything, pictachios are nice too, thank you!
Thanks for the pistachio lemon olive oil cake.
Hello! Would this work as a layer cake?? Cant wait to try it – thank you!
Hi Allison. This cake is not really meant for layering. It’s more moist and dense than a cake you would use for layering – I think it might actually be too heavy to layer, if that makes sense. It’s really best served just like this – simply with a glaze over top. Hope this helps!
Thanks for the awesome recipe.
Sara Corchado says
Would it be okay if I used a 7.5” springform pan?
I haven’t tried it, so I am not sure. I worry about overflow in a smaller pan!
Do we use raw unsalted pistachios or roasted?
You can use either. I used shelled, roasted pistachios because they were the easiest to find. If you can find them unsalted, even better (but also fine if you can’t)!