This recipe for pistachio cake is for an easy eggless cake where the list of ingredients is brief but bountiful in flavor. Without asking for much effort, the green pistachio cake is a great addition to the festive table.
Semolina is widely used in Indian cooking. For such a humble grain, I’m continuously fascinated by its many avatars, from idlis to halwa. So, using it for a cake was always in the plan.
But my first few experiments, let’s just say, didn’t go as planned. 5 years later, I perfected the easy eggless cake recipe and baked an addictive orange semolina almond cake. The green pistachio cake is an adaptation of it.
It’s not a pistachio sponge cake. The crumb is denser but super tender and moist. Lemon seasons the delicately nutty pista cake (Hindi for pistachio) while the richness of creamy pistachios takes center stage, lending a scrumptious mouthfeel and delightful bright green color.
Notes for the best pistachio cake
WHY TRY THE RECIPE FOR PISTACHIO CAKE?
Needs no additional accompaniment
Every bite is redolent of spoonable-soft halwa filled with pistachios
Great dessert when entertaining for festivities
HOW TO MAKE PISTACHIO CAKE?
My family and I love pistachios, but somehow we don’t snack on them as we do with almonds and other nuts. So, this cake with pistachios was a fantastic way to utilize them, especially infused with the citrus sweetness of a lemon syrup!
Step 1: In a large bowl, combine semolina with pistachio powder to make this pista cake.
Step 2: Add all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, caster sugar, and a teaspoon of matcha powder to give the cake a vibrant green color. Mix till there are no lumps.
Step 3: With the dry ingredients squared away, in another bowl whisk plain Greek yogurt, coconut oil, and lemon juice.
Step 4: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until you have a thick, smooth batter. Then fold in some lemon zest.
LET’S BAKE THIS CAKE WITH PISTACHIO
Step 5: Pour the pistachio cake batter into a well-greased 6-inch cake tin.
Step 6: Sprinkle chopped pistachios on top and bake for 30-40 minutes.
Step 7: While the cake bakes and cools, make the lemon syrup.
Step 8: Punch holes in the cooled cake, ladle the syrup over it, and let the flavors soak in.
Step 9: Carefully invert the cake onto your serving platter by flipping both upside-down. Garnish with pistachios and, because I simply must, a few rose petals.
Final step: Serve.
HOW TO MAKE LEMON-FLAVORED SYRUP?
Don’t worry about reaching a certain thickness or string consistency. My recipe for the syrup is super simple.
- Cook water and sugar for about 5-10 minutes, just letting it simmer.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
- Let the syrup cool before you use it.
NOTES FOR THE BEST PISTACHIO CAKE
- I opted to pulse the pistachios in the food processor until they were super fine. You can, of course, leave it a bit chunky if you prefer a hint of texture to this eggless pistachio cake. But keep in mind not to grind them so fine (or too long) that it turns into pistachio butter.
- I wanted a really green pistachio cake without depending on food coloring. So, in went some matcha powder. The ingredient is totally optional. The cake will still have that gleam of color without it.
- To check if the cake is baked, insert a skewer in the center. It should come out clean, with just a few moist crumbs attached.
- Have leftover lemon syrup? Don’t bin it. It’s excellent for iced teas and lemonades.
- Pistachio cake keeps very well in the fridge so long as you keep it covered. It’s best served warm, so don’t forget to give it a spin in the microwave for a few seconds.
Coconut oil: Use any neutral-tasting oil you prefer.
Flour: Feel free to switch all-purpose with whole wheat flour as a healthier option, as I did with my orange semolina cake.
Matcha: Feel free to leave it out or use 2 or 3 drops of green food coloring.
Sugar: Don’t have caster sugar? Grind granulated sugar into a powder.
Semolina: Semolina or sooji lends a very dense and moist crumb to the cake, so I won’t recommend a substitute. It’s also a staple in Indian kitchens and is available everywhere, making it easy to bake this pistachio cake from scratch. My only suggestion is to use fine semolina instead of coarse, for a smoother texture.
Greek yogurt: I prefer an eggless pistachio cake, as the yogurt adds tons of moisture to it. But you can sub it with 2 eggs. If you do, halve the amount of yogurt you put in the batter.
The vegan recipe for pistachio cake: Instead of Greek yogurt, use the plant-based yogurt you love.
MORE SEMOLINA FLOUR DESSERTS
Sooji Badam Halwa | Semolina Almond Pudding
Suji Cashew Kheer/ Semolina Pudding
Pistachio Cake Recipe
- 1 cup ( 200 gms) Semolina / Sooji
- 1/2 cup ( 60 gms) Pistachio powder Simply grind pistachios in your grinder or food processor
- 1/4 cup 40 gms) All-purpose flour
- 1 tsp Baking powder
- 1/2 tsp Baking soda
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Matcha powder Optional. You can also use 2-3 drops of green food color if you wish.
- 1/2 cup ( 100 gms) Caster sugar
- 1 cup ( 230 gms) Greek yogurt, plain
- 1/3 cup (55 gms) Coconut oil
- 2 tsp Lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon
- 1/2 cup ( 118 gms) Water
- 1/4 cup ( 50 gms) Sugar
- 2 tsp Lemon juice
- Preheat your oven to 180C. Grease a 6" cake tin well.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients - semolina, pistachio powder, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, and matcha powder. Give it all a good whisk to ensure there are no lumps.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the yogurt, coconut oil, and lemon juice.
- Stir into the dry ingredients. Add the lemon zest. Whisk until a thick, smooth batter is formed.
- Pour into the prepared tin, and top with chopped pistachios.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached.
- While the cake is baking, add water and sugar in a small saucepan and let it simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Take it off the heat and stir in lemon juice. Taste and adjust for taste. Let this syrup cool completely.
- Once the cake is baked, let it cool for 20 minutes. Then poke holes with a skewer. Spoon or brush the syrup all over the warm cake. You will need about 3 tbsps of the syrup. Save the rest for another use.Let the cake cool completely.
- Turn it out on a serving platter and sprinkle more chopped pistachios and dried rose petals, if you wish. Serve at room temperature and enjoy!
Cake looks wonderful
It’s fine sooji or coarse sooji?
Natasha Minocha says
Thank you very much, Anu! Fine sooji is recommended here. 🙂
Thanks for the interesting recipe. It was super easy and quick to make and tasted delicious. The only criticism I would have is that between the coconut oil and lemon the pistachio flavor was lost!
Natasha Minocha says
Thank you so much for your feedback. I'm very glad you enjoyed the cake despite the lack of pistachio flavor. Maybe next time you could you a neutral-tasting oil and skip the lemon. Appreciate your support.
hi.. can this recipe be used for filling n frosting? I mean, sooji is used here, will not it be a dense one??
Natasha Minocha says
Hi, you can most definitely frost this cake even though its dense. I prefer to eat it as is.:)