If you’re looking for something that’s quick and easy, loaf cakes are always the way to go. They are perfect for snacking, breakfast, dessert, tea-time, and basically any other time you can think of. The thing about loaf cakes is that you really need to nail the sweetness, texture, and flavor for it to be enjoyable for the most amount of time. This Pistachio Honey Lemon Loaf Cake checks all the boxes. Pistachios, honey, and lemon are the perfect combination of nutty, citrusy and spring-y. The best part of any cake is the icing (duh) and this cake is no exception. It is topped with a super lemon-y and citrus-y icing that compliments the cake so well. Since the cake is loaded with warm spices like cinnamon and cardamom, the icing adds some brightness and tanginess to balance out those flavors. This recipe yields a super moist cake since we are using olive oil and yogurt which add moisture and keeps the loaf soft for the longest time. When baking this loaf, we first start at 350° F and then lower it to 325° F 15 minutes later. This is because honey causes baked goods to brown much faster than other sweeteners so we lower the heat to ensure the loaf does not burn. We start at 350° F because that initial higher temperature will cause the loaf to rise and puff and lowering it will solidify the insides and prevent the extra browning on top. But don’t worry if the top of your loaf looks a little burnt because we are just going to cover it with the tangy lemon glaze.
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 20 minutes
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
½ cup sugar
½ cup plain yogurt (preferably whole milk)
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup milk of choice
¼ cup/30 shelled pistachios (divided)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon cardamom
Zest of a lemon
Pinch of salt
¾ cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 350° F and line a loaf pan with parchment paper and cooking spray.
Add your lemon zest and sugar to a bowl. Using your fingertips, rub the zest and sugar together. This will release the essential oils in the citrus zest and intensity the lemon flavor. Rub the sugar and zest together until the sugar resembles wet sand.
Set about a heaping tablespoon of your pistachios to the side and finely chop the rest of your shelled pistachios. There can be some larger chunks, but for the most part we want pretty tiny pieces.
Add the finely chopped pistachios, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt to the bowl with your sugar. Whisk until everything is combined.
Then, add your yogurt, olive oil, and milk. Mix until everything is just combined. You do not want to over-mix because that can lead to a dense and tough final loaf.
Once everything is just combined, pour the batter into your loaf pan. Bake at 350° F for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature while the loaf is still in the oven to 325° F and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Once the loaf is done baking, wait for it to completely cool before cutting into it. It is essential to wait until it is completely cool since the loaf will continue to cook with its residual heat as it cools down.
While the loaf cools, you can get started on the glaze. Simply whisk together the powdered sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Glaze the loaf about 30 minutes after it comes out of the oven. Chop leftover pistachios and sprinkle them on top of the loaf. Then wait for it to completely cool before slicing and serving.
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