Pistachio-Topped Lemon-Olive Oil Cake

The original recipe for Ryan Hardy's delicious citrusy, nutty and dense cake comes from London's River Cafe restaurant. He substitutes olive oil for some of the butter and insists that it be served with tangy creme fraiche and an espresso.

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  • Servings: 10
KEY: Spring, Winter, Baking, Easter, Mother's Day, New Year's Eve, Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Make Ahead, Afternoon Tea

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Ingredients

cake
  • 3/4 cup whole blanched almonds
  • 2/3 cup plus 1/2 cup unsalted pistachios (about 7 ounces)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
syrup
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Crème fraîche, for serving

How to make this recipe

  1. Make the syrup Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan, line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper. In a food processor, pulse the almonds with 2/3 cup of the pistachios until finely ground.
  2. Make the syrup In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter with the sugar at medium speed until it's the texture of moist sand. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla seeds and beat until smooth. Gradually beat in the olive oil in a thin stream. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the ground nuts, flour and salt. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Make the syrup Bake the cake for about 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the cake cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and peel off the parchment paper. Invert the cake again onto a serving plate.
  4. Make the syrup Meanwhile, toast the remaining 1/2 cup of pistachios in a pie plate for about 8 minutes, or until fragrant.
  5. Make the syrup In a small saucepan, combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and water and bring to a simmer over moderate heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the syrup over the warm cake and scatter the toasted pistachios all over the top. Let stand for 1 hour, then cut into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.

Make Ahead

The cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Photo © Rob Howard Published January 2008

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