Pistachio Chocolate Cake

Eve 25/01/14

An earthy pistachio chiffon cake with a tempting chocolate glaze, finished with chopped nuts, perfect for afternoon tea, or really, any time! 

I have be meaning to post this recipe for ages! I had a taste of chocolate pistachio cake a year ago and I haven't forgotten about it, it was so good. The very buttery cake perfumed with the nuts and the over-the-top chocolate mousse/buttercream that sandwiched the two cakes together, wow. I wanted to make the cake as soon as I tasted it but after 1 hectic year, I have finally made it, my style.

I am so glad I made it!

I am sure it has been raining for a month straight here in Scotland, I am surprised we haven't developed webbed feet like the ducks in the local park. Along with the rain, it is windy and cold, I wish spring would come soon as I don't think summer will ever arrive.  The rivers have flooded and the grass in my garden is now a swamp.


Instead of make a butter cake like the one I had in the cafe, I decide to go in the opposite direction and make a light and moist chiffon cake. I have never make a chiffon before so today, I was challenging myself; I'm happy I did as the result was better than I expected. The sponge was light, moist and nutty whilst not being over-sweet, unlike most chiffons. The glaze was creamy, chocolaty and pure heaven. Add the two together and you have an amazing cake, perfect for any occasion from weekend nights to tea parties. This cake, because of it's lightness, would also be great served for dessert after a decadent Valentine's meal. 

A chiffon cake is a mixture of a normal cake batter and a whisked cake batter. The eggs are separated and the whites are whisked with some of the sugar until it formed a stiff meringue. This is then folded into the yolks which are mixed with the rest of the dry ingredients. Chiffons are normally baked in a tube or angel cake tin but not owning these, I decided just to bake it in a deep cake tin.
It is important that you don't grease the tin. When the cake is baking, it rises and clings to the sides of the tin, that is what gives it it's fluffiness. Also, you cool the cake upside down with the tin still attached on a wire rack. You do this so the cake doesn't collapse while cooling. 
Even though the chiffon is a whisked sponge, it is surprisingly "meaty" (I know it doesn't make sense...) and even though delicate, it is filling at the same time!

The cake is so rewarding even though it is a bit technical. I urge you to give it a go!

When you are baking this cake, it may look like it is going to jump out the pan but don't worry, this gives the cake it's satisfying slice. Seriously tasty and the best cake for anything, I think this cake may be my favourite on Baking the Day!

Pistachio Chocolate Cake
Posted by Eve 
Makes 1 x 23cm cake 

  • 100g Plain flour
  • 80g Ground pistachios*
  • 125g Caster sugar 
  • 12g Baking powder
  • 4 Eggs 
  • 90ml Milk, at room temperature
  • 90ml Oil, non-flavoured like vegetable 
  • 1 tsp. Cream of Tartar   
For the topping 

  • 25ml Single Cream 
  • 60g Chocolate, 50% - 70% cocoa solids


  1. Preheat the oven to 160c/ 140c fan/ gas mark 3 and line a deep 23cm cake tin with baking parchment but don't grease. 
  2. Sieve the flour, nuts, 60g of the sugar and baking powder into a large bowl. Mix well. 
  3. Separate the eggs and put the whites into the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or use a hand held mixer. Put the yolks into a jug with the milk and oil and mix well.
  4. Pour the yolk mix into the nut mix and using a balloon whisk, whisk until combined and thick like a pancake batter.  Set aside. 
  5. Add the cream of tarter to the whites and start to whisk. Whisk until foamy and start to add the remaining 65g of caster sugar, tablespoon at a time until all incorporated. Keep whisking until the whites are at stiff peak stage; like a meringue.
  6. Fold half of the meringue into the yolk mix with a large metal spoon. Fold in the rest until light and combined.
  7. Carefully spoon the mix into the ungreased tin. Level the top with  a knife and bake for 45 minutes; don't open the door until 40 minutes on the timer has passed. 
  8. Once baked, flip the whole tin with the cake still inside onto a wire rack and cool completely. 
  9. While the cake is cooling, make the topping. Chop the chocolate very finely and put into a bowl. Heat the cream in a pan until nearly boiling and pour on top of the chocolate. Mix occasionally until melted. Leave to cool at room temperature. 
  10. To assemble the cake, use a palette knife to loosen the cake from the tin and remove onto the serving plate. Spread the now cool chocolate mix onto the top of the cake. Decorate with finely chopped pistachios.


* I ground my own pistachios. I had a 200g bag of unshelled nuts. Once I shelled them, I had 115g -ish of nuts. I ground them in a food processor and I was left with 80g of pistachios which could go through the sieve. I used the more coarse nuts for the decoration. 

Keep the cake covered with a bowl and eat within 4 days. Keep at room temperature but if put into the fridge, the texture of the cake is more firm.