Pistachio cake


Swedish Pistachio Cake

You might be tempted to think that us Swedes are crazy as one of our classic cakes is called pistachio cake (pistagekaka), but doesn’t have any pistachios in it! We are not so silly really. It looks and tastes better if we use almonds and colouring rather than real pistachios! Sometimes we feel guilty about calling it pistachio cake and so then we call it false pistachio cake (falsk pistagekaka) and occasionally it is just called green cake (grönkaka).

Although it is perfectly possible to buy ready ground almonds they tend to be too fine. If you grind them yourself by hand or using an attachment to an electric mixer you will end up with a coarser texture. If you haven’t got a grinder, then of course you can use ready ground almonds. It will taste wonderful, but will be slightly more pasty. Karin Fürst



Make sure you bake the cake for long enough. The top needs to be firm and a skewer poked into the middle of the cake must come out clean. If in doubt, bake it for another 5 minutes.


Ingredients for Swedish Pistachio Cake


50 g (1¾ oz) butter, cubed
28 g (2 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
80 g (2¾ oz) plain (all-purpose) flour


150 g (5¼ oz) whole almonds, shelled
100 g (3½ oz) butter
3   eggs
160 g (5½ oz) caster (superfine) sugar
    green food colouring


    icing sugar (confectioner's sugar/powder sugar)


Blanching almonds for Swedish Pistachio Cake

1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil and remove from the heat. Put the raw (shelled) almonds in to the water for 1 minute. Drain them and run under cold water immediately, until cool enough to handle. Hold an almond between your thumb and fore-finger, squeeze to slide the skin off. Let them drain on paper towels whilst you make the dough.

Dough for Swedish Pistachio Cake

2. Mix the ingredients for the dough until evenly blended. You can do this in a food processor if you prefer. Cover and leave to rest in a fridge.

Grinding the almonds for Swedish Pistachio Cake

3. Grind the almonds using a grinder or a food processor so that you have a coarse mixture (called almond meal).

Adding the ground almonds to make Swedish Pistachio Cake

4. Mix butter, eggs and sugar for the filling. Stir in the ground almonds.

Adding green colouring to make Swedish Pistachio Cake

5. Add some colouring and mix until evenly coloured. Add more if necessary.

6. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, Gas 6, Fan 170°C).

Lining the tin for Swedish Pistachio Cake

7. Grease a 1 litre (4 cup) loaf tin (pan) and then dust with bread crumbs. Using your fingers, press the dough into the tin, covering the sides and the bottom of the tin (pan). Don’t worry if it looks a bit bumpy!

A Swedish Pistachio Cake about to be baked

8. Pour the filling in and then bake for 25-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean and the top is firm.

9. Let the cake cool in the tin (pan) on a wire rack. After ten minutes loosen the cake with a knife, but leave it in the tin to cool completely. When it is cold carefully removed it from the tin.

10. Dust the top with icing sugar (confectioner’s sugar) before slicing!


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