Pistachio Cake with Cara Cara Salad

Pistachio cake with Cara Caras on the side sounds irresistibly delicious to me (and maybe even a little healthy). When I found this recipe in the beautiful A16 cookbook, I had to give it a try. Lately, I have been LOVING recipes that use ground nuts in baking - the nuts give such a rich flavor and texture.

A lovely dessert after lunch, this pistachio cake could also be a nice little breakfast, tea, or brunch in and of itself. Today, I toasted a piece of leftover cake and ate it with a bowl of Greek yogurt and sliced pears. Yum.

adapted from A16 Food and Wine by Nate Appleman and Shelley Lindgren
  • 1 1/3 cup unsalted and shelled pistachios (plus a handful for garnish)
  • 1 1/3 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temp
  • 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour (for GF folks, Pamela's Bread and Flour mix)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 5 Cara Cara Oranges or Blood Oranges
  • 1/4 cup Meyer Lemon Marmalade
  • creme fraiche

Preheat oven to 300.

In a food processor or blender pulse to grind up nuts. I recommend doing this in a couple batches to insure a fairly even ground. The ground pistachios were so gorgeous, I had to take a photo.

Next combine butter and sugar in a stand up mixer. Grate the zest of three lemons. Using the paddle attachment, blend butter, sugar and zest for 2 minutes on medium speed. Add vanilla and mix until integrated. Turn the mixer down to low and slowly mix in the ground nuts. Add one egg at a time while leaving the mixer running. Wait until each egg is mixed in before adding the next. Finally, add flour and salt. Stop mixing when all ingredients are incorporated.

Pour delicious batter into greased 4x8 inch loaf pan. The original recipe calls for the cake to bake for 45 minutes, but I had to bake the cake much longer. (About 25 minutes longer!) Trust yourself and use the old standard of checking for doneness - poke with a toothpick until it comes out clean.

Before removing from pan, let cake cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges of the cake to insure it isn't stuck to the pan. The cake can be served warm or saved for later.

While the cake is baking, prepare your Cara Cara salad. Remove skins from oranges and slice. Slice off top and bottom of each orange. Then remove of skin in a few wide strips. Cut orange crosswise into slices about 1/4 thick.  See this simple technique below...

In a saucepan, gently warm marmalade. Add a little lemon juice if it is still too thick after warming. The texture should remind you of a thick vinaigrette. Toss the orange slices with the marmalade. Put this simple citrus salad on a plate next to a slice of the cake.

Top cake with a dollop of creme fraiche and a few pistachios. Serve and enjoy!


  1. Lovely pistachio cake. So moist and dense. Very interesting recipe!

  2. it looks so moist and delicious. matthew's favorite nut is the pistachio. his birthday is tomorrow. i think i'll make this for him. and i just happen to have 4 cara cara oranges. isn't their color beautiful? thanks for all the great posts.

  3. A pistachio cake sounds really good!


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