This lemon pistachio cake is the best way to celebrate Spring. It’s bursting with fresh, zesty lemon and the nutty crunch of pistachios. The cake has a springy crumb that soaks up the creamy, lemony mascarpone and creates a perfect bite of heaven. You won’t want to wait for warm Spring days to make it.
You can make this lemon pistachio cake plain for a simple afternoon snack, or dress it up with the velvety mascarpone frosting for an elegant dessert. Or better yet, snack on it with the frosting.
Because to be honest, most frosting I could live without. It’s usually tooth achingly sweet, and lacking in flavor and texture. But this mascarpone frosting is lemony, creamy, smooth and just sweet enough to take the pistachio cake to the next level. Don’t skip it.
how do you make a lemon pistachio cake from scratch?
- Blend pistachios and lemon zest until finely ground (but not pistachio butter!)
- Add ground pistachios to flour, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- Whisk together eggs, sour cream, milk and vanilla. Set aside.
- Cream butter, sugar and salt together until light and fluffy
- Alternate adding dry and wet ingredients, mix until just combined.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely.
- Top with lemon mascarpone frosting.
can you use salted pistachios in cake?
Yes! Salted pistachios are fine to use. The small amount of extra salt will just deepen the flavor of the lemon pistachio cake.
does mascarpone frosting need to be refrigerated?
Yes, this frosting does need to be refrigerated if you plan to store it for more than an hour. The mascarpone frosting will stay mostly soft when cold, but it will taste the best when brought to room temperature.
If you make and frost this lemon pistachio cake ahead, pull it out of the refrigerator 30 minutes prior to serving.
what’s a substitute for cake flour?
If you don’t have cake flour on hand, don’t fret. To make a substitute for 2 cups of cake flour, use 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.
For this pistachio cake recipe, simply put 3 tbsp cornstarch in the bottom of a 1-cup measuring cup, then spoon all-purpose flour on top and level. Measure the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as usual and proceed with the recipe!
lemon pistachio cake with mascarpone frosting
This lemon pistachio cake is bursting with fresh, zesty lemon and the nutty crunch of pistachios. Top it with velvety mascarpone frosting for a delicious spring cake.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 16
- Category: Cake
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Vegetarian
lemon pistachio cake
- 3/4 cup shelled roasted pistachios, plus more for topping
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 1/2 cup cake flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 tsp kosher salt
- 3 eggs
- 1/4 cup full fat sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 6 oz (3/4 cup) mascarpone, room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
- 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp kosher salt
lemon pistachio cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8×8-inch baking pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper and butter the paper.
- Place the pistachios and lemon zest in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until finely ground (but not pistachio butter). Pour mixture into a bowl along with flour, baking powder and baking soda. Whisk to combine, then set aside. Whisk to combine sour cream, vanilla and milk in a small bowl and set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter, sugar and salt on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Scrape down sides and bottom of bowl as needed.
- With the mixer on low, alternate adding the dry ingredients (in three additions) and wet ingredients (in two additions), starting and ending with the dry.
- Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35- 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Carefully turn cake out onto a work surface, peel off parchment paper, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Spread with frosting, sprinkle with chopped pistachios and serve at room temperature.
- Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl. Use a hand mixer fitted with beater attachments to mix until smooth. Be very careful not to over mix, the frosting can curdle.
Cake will keep for up to 3 days. Refrigerate once frosted.
- Serving Size: 1/16 of cake
- Calories: 272
- Sugar: 19g
- Sodium: 266mg
- Fat: 15g
- Saturated Fat: 7.8g
- Unsaturated Fat: 6.5g
- Trans Fat: 0.1g
- Carbohydrates: 30g
- Fiber: 0.8g
- Protein: 4.3g
- Cholesterol: 68mg
Keywords: lemon pistachio cake