A recipe for pistachio olive oil cake with lemony whipped cream

A recipe for pistachio olive oil cake with lemony whipped cream

In my opinion, olive oil cake is a dessert that is surprisingly hard to come by only Turn right. The poster child of bowl-and-whik cakes is easy to whip up, but my Google search history (“can cake be too moist?” “Olive oil cake too oily!!!”) shows how things don’t always go as well as expected. That’s why so far I was satisfied with finding my solution in local places like abraco That to do understand, but i knew i couldn’t avoid homemade olive oil cake forever. Maybe it’s the spring cleaning energy that’s in the air, but I decided it was time to finally check it off my (long, never-ending) to-do list.

There are tons of olive oil cake recipes online (this side by side comparison is a great cheat sheet, if you’re curious), but I knew I wanted to make something more “cake” than “olive oil” – scented with good quality extra virgin olive oil, yes, but not overpoweringly aromatic or obviously textbook olive oil cake at the first bite. I imagined a crumb that was soft but textured, and an overall simple and homey dessert that had enough to offer to make people ask what exactly they were eating. If this sounds vague, it’s because it was — but it was the blueprint I needed to get off the couch and into the kitchen.

After a few rounds of testing, I’m glad I landed on this pistachio olive oil cake. It may not be the most “classic” version, but personally I like it better that way. Finely ground raw pistachios are whisked into the dry ingredients for a touch of nutty flavor, and while olive oil adds moisture and flavor to each slice, it doesn’t pull all the weight when it comes to texture (cue sour cream, an extra yolk, and a spoon honey). Unlike many other olive oil cakes, there’s actually no citrus zest or juice in the batter itself, but a dollop of lemony whipped cream on top is just the subtle touch of brightness needed to pull it all together. The flavors aren’t loud or overly pronounced, but they don’t have to be to make the cake memorable, enjoyable, and worthy of a second serving.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, this cake is a fun (and easy!) recipe to add to your spring baking repertoire. Neither quite a pistachio cake nor an olive oil cake, it’s a balanced hybrid that reminds me of sunshine, civilized mornings, and dinner parties where no one is in a hurry to leave — in other words, a cake I’d consider a success.

Pistachio olive oil cake with lemon cream recipe

Makes an 8 inch round cake


For the pistachio olive oil cake:

1 cup (120 grams) cake flour
¾ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup (60 grams) raw shelled pistachios, plus more for garnish
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
½ cup good quality extra virgin olive oil
⅓ cup whole milk, at room temperature
⅓ cup (75 grams) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
1 large egg plus 1 yolk, at room temperature
1 tablespoon honey
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

For the lemony whipped cream:

1 cup heavy cream, cold
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
Kosher salt


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8-inch round cake tin with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with a parchment circle and grease the parchment.

Step 2: Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Pulse the pistachios in a food processor to a fine powder, then beat the nut powder into the dry ingredients.

Step 3: In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar, olive oil, milk, sour cream, egg and yolk, honey, and vanilla extract until mixture is smooth and completely blended. Gradually add the dry ingredients while continuing to beat and mix until there are no more flour streaks and the batter is smooth (make sure not to overmix).

Step 4: Pour the batter into the prepared pan and tap the pan against the counter a few times to release any air bubbles on the surface. Bake the cake for about 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Step 5: Let the cake cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes, then gently run a small spatula around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Invert the cake and transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Step 6: While the cake is cooling, make the lemony whipped cream: Using an electric mixer or a mixer with a whisk, beat the whipping cream, icing sugar, lemon zest, and a pinch of salt until medium peaks form (try not to over-whisk).

Step 7: When ready to serve, slice the cake and top with a generous dollop of lemony whipped cream. Garnish with some chopped pistachios, if desired.

Joy Cho is a freelance writer, recipe developer, and pastry chef based in New York City.
dina vila is a photographer in Portland, Oregon.
Recipe tested by Ivy Manning