Pistachio Almond Cake (gluten-free)

May 12, 2014

Pistachio & Almond Cake (gluten-free) | une gamine dans la cuisine

"I wonder how it is I miss
these things
I've never known."

  ~ Lang Leav, from "A Stranger," in Love & Misadventure

'Let fly.' In my sometimes too self-controlled, hyaline world, I long for someone to give me permission to just...be. There's an intricate tear in the cosmos that ruptures during strange weather. When negative ions build in the stratosphere prior to a thunderstorm, earth & air are open and charged and filled with the static of endless possibilities. My taut rein loosens; worry, fear, and overthinking hesitation escape from their crowded symmetrical stable. Someone somewhere in the universe breaks my ice with an invisible velvet voice: 'Let fly!' I absolutely adore late spring and its surreal, ether filled elements.

Amid the swelling tree buds, late-blooming lilacs, and distant storms, I wanted to make a toothsome dessert that captured the lush, sylvan atmosphere outside my yawning windows. Last week, while absently nursing a second cup of strong coffee, I came across this exquisite cake from The Ginger & White Cookbook. I knew we had to meet! 

Pistachio & Almond Cake (gluten-free) | une gamine dans la cuisine

I buy impromptu gluten free muffins and cookies but I'm still a bit awkward when it comes to the alchemy behind the process. This cake, however, makes a very welcoming (and enticing!) ambassador. I shall definitely tiptoe more often through the foreign world of gluten free baking.

A cosy-pebbly mix of ground pistachios and almonds gives the cake a rich, luxurious texture. The glaze is a simple mix of sugar, lime juice, and chopped pistachios; when drizzled over the cake, it forms sweet/tart rivulets that wind their way throughout the entire loaf. As soon as I took a bite from my first slice, I knew the next serving would have to be larger. I shared, *almost* hesitantly. Everyone was equally spellbound. This cake certainly took me over the moon and back again - falling in love with portals and storms, and the verdant galaxies of ground pistachios & zested limes. xo

Pistachio & Almond Cake (gluten-free) | une gamine dans la cuisine

Pistachio & Almond Cake
yields about 10 happy slices
adapted from The Ginger & White Cookbook website: Ginger & White

for the cake
200g granulated sugar
grated zest of 4 medium-size limes (set limes aside for the glaze)
250g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
4 room temperature eggs
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
120g almonds, ground
100g unsalted, shelled pistachios, ground
1/2 teaspoon salt
50g plain, gluten-free flour

for the glaze
60g granulated sugar
juice of 4 limes
60g pistachios, shelled & coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C). Line an 8.5 x 4.5" loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing a 2-inch overhang over the sides. Lightly spray entire pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and lime zest. Use your fingertips to rub zest into the sugar until moist and aromatic. Add butter and, with paddle attachment, beat on med-high speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition; beat in almond extract.

Add ground almonds, pistachios, salt and flour. Beat on low speed for about 30 seconds then switch over to a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon and gently stir till incorporated (try not to overmix).

Scrape batter into prepared tin.

Bake 45-55 minutes or until a thin tester inserted through center of cake comes out clean. Remove tin from oven and place onto a cooling rack. Cool completely before releasing.

Prepare the glaze: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and lime juice. Cook over low heat until sugar dissolves (the mixture will be thick and syrupy). Remove pan from heat and fold in chopped pistachios.

Assembly: Use the parchment overhang to pull cooled cake out of tin. Spoon the still-warm glaze on top of cake (any excess syrup can be dripped around the edges). Enjoy immediately or cover and set aside at room temperature for midnight snacking.


  1. I'm a bit tentative in the world of gluten free too, but I love to try recipes too! This one looks like a winner!! Love.

  2. Lovely. And now I must check out that cookbook.

  3. Great recipe and beautiful pics, love how you used the shadows in your pictures, great job!

  4. What a stunning cake! I adore the pistachios and almonds, and the syrupy glaze is a must make! xo

  5. Beautiful and tempting! A wonderful cake. I sometimes bake gluten free treats...



  6. This looks delicious. I love all the flavour in the cake and also love the fact that it's gluten free. I want to bake something gluten free but haven't worked out what yet. Pinned and thank you for introducing me to another lovely book that I've added to my ever growing amazon wish list.

  7. I'm also a bit cautious/nervous when it comes to gluten free baking. Nut flours seem to be a good "gateway" gluten free baking flour.

    I love the combo of almond and pistachio here! Must try making some pistachio meal.

  8. welcome to gluten free baking, isn't it such a surprising challenge?

  9. What a lovely combination ! This cake looks divine..

  10. This looks amazing! I always try to grab pistachio cake piece as they are expensive here.

  11. I always enjoy your poetic posts. You write beautifully. This bread looks amazing. I, too, am beginning to tiptoe through the realm of gluten-free.

  12. This cake look amazing! Love it!

  13. I love the last instruction on 'midnight snacking'- yes especially with the double dose of glaze !

  14. What a great post! You have such a great style. Speaking of great is this bread and it is gluten free - who would know. Nicely done.

  15. Oh Valerie, I am constantly enchanted by your writing. It's soothing and captivating and is the most perfect companion to the gorgeous food you share with us!

  16. I'm not seeing where you're adding in the gf flour. I'm assuming with the ground nuts and salt?

  17. @CookieCrazedMama: yes, the flour hops along with the nuts & salt. :)

  18. I love it! Such a gorgeous loaf.
    I keep trying to do a bit of GF here and there, but it is a bit of foreign territory... it's a learning process, indeed.

  19. Thank you! I assumed that and made them this evening in parchment lined muffin tins. Very moist and that lime glaze really offers a nice kick of flavor in every bite!

  20. This cake looks delightful! The combination of lime and pistachios sounds intriguing, but I really want to try it now. It's always nice when gluten free baking goes as planned. There have been many a disaster in my kitchen :)

  21. I don't venture into the world of gluten free, but this cake is dangerously divine and unbelievably tender. I've made the exact same recipe, which however I got from the Caffé Italia cookbook, except that I used lemon instead of lime and plain four instead of gluten free.

  22. Never saw a cake recipe without baking soda or baking powder. Was is forgotten? It will not rise without it.

    1. This particular cake doesn't rise, it's meant to be dense & heavy instead of fluffy & light. I think it's more akin to a sweet bread; a very scrumptious sweet bread. :-)

  23. any chance you have this one by cups/tablespoons/etc. vs. weights?? i really need to get a scale!

    1. Sorry for the delayed reply, Holly. Unfortunately I don't know the cup measurements, and my math skills are extremely sad. :p It took me forever to get a scale, but it's so worth it. They're not too expensive!


Thanks for visiting, and for taking the time to read through my ramblings!
If you have a recipe comment or question, I'd love to hear from you.

Happy Baking!
♥ Valerie


une gamine dans la cuisine © All rights reserved · Theme by Blog Milk · Blogger