Pistachio, Grand Marnier and olive oil cake

Pistachio, Grand Marnier and olive oil cake

The Birthday Cake Book
Laura Edwards

This requires a really good-quality olive oil, Grand Marnier or a dessert wine of your choice. You will only use a couple of tablespoons in the recipe, but the wine will be a perfect accompaniment to the cake, should you choose to use it. Pistachio nuts or almonds – the choice is yours – result in very different cakes. Ground almonds make a lighter cake, whereas pistachio nuts give a denser, beautifully pale green crumb.


Quantity Ingredient
125ml green, flavourful extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the tin
40g pine nuts
100g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
200g golden caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 orange, finely zested
2 unwaxed lemons, finely zested
icing sugar, to dust
60g raisins
or 60g sultanas
2 tablespoons grand marnier
or 2 tablespoons muscat
or 2 tablespoons sauternes
or 2 tablespoons any dessert wine
200g unsalted pistachio nuts, ground
or 200g ground almonds


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 160°C. Lightly oil a 23 cm round springform cake tin and line the base with baking parchment. Up to one hour before, if you can, soak the raisins in the Grand Marnier or sweet wine of your choice.
  2. Scatter the pistachio nuts on to one baking tray, and the pine nuts on to another. Roast both trays of nuts for about five minutes, watching the pine nuts carefully as they should only be very lightly coloured. Put the pine nuts to one side. Allow the pistachio nuts to cool, then grind finely in a food processor.
  3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the ground pistachio nuts (or ground almonds).
  4. Place the sugar and eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer (or use a hand-held electric whisk). Whisk on high speed until pale, light and fluffy; this may take up to five minutes. On a slower speed, add the olive oil, butter and zests. Lastly fold in the flour mixture, raisins and any remaining liquid using a large metal spoon.
  5. Turn into the tin, sprinkle over the pine nuts and bake for 35–40 minutes, or until a skewer emerges clean. Rest on a wire rack then turn out of the tin, keeping the top of the cake uppermost. Remove the paper. This cake stores well in an airtight tin for a couple of days. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
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