BAKING cakes and sweet bakes CHOCOLATE

Pistachio, Almond and Chocolate Chunk Cake

February 27, 2013

Pistachio chocolate chip cake

I’ve been baking a lot lately: mostly making up for the times I couldn’t bake being stuck with a rickety oven and also in celebration of the fact that I can actually spread my arms out in the kitchen and not hit the wall.

I think it’s the cold that’s making me bake loaf cakes that are a spin on the ever-comforting pound cakes (like the chocolate-chestnut loaf I made). The kind I can bake and have sit around for a couple of days and that tastes even better the day after it’s made. I turned to the Rose Bakery cookbook for the pistachio cake recipe – I’d made the cake verbatim a few months ago because I’d enjoyed it so much while having breakfast with Noel when she was it town.

When I baked that cake, it was rich, moist and full of pistachio flavor, but it was also a bit heavy on the butter and it almost felt like halwa than cake. I wanted to make it again, but without being left with greasy fingers. And while I could reduce the butter a lot more to make it like the bright green pistachio cake at the bakery (which I’m going to try the next time), I increased the flour in the recipe to bring it up to the consistency of a pound cake and it worked beautifully. I also added (more than) a big handful of 70% chocolate callets to at the last minute because pistachio + chocolate is a match made in heaven. I added lemon zest into the cake in accordance with the recipe, but I think it might be better with orange zest or even without any citrus at all for the nutty flavors to come through. I also toasted both the almonds and pistachios before I ground them because nuts tastes so much better when you take that extra step. Needless to say, it’s a far cry from Rose Carrarini intended it to be.

There are few things as comforting as a thick slice of this cake, hot tea, fuzzy socks and a book. And if you’re lucky enough to be enjoying the sunshine, you can skip the fuzzy socks and hot tea. Make it.

Pistachio, Almond and Chocolate Chip Cake

Inspired from: Breakfast, Lunch and Tea (USA | UK | India)
Yield: 1 loaf cake + 2 mini loaves or 1 big 10″ cake


225g sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
200g butter
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g toasted almonds, ground finely
100g toasted pistachios, ground finely
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt (if using unsalted butter)
200g 70% dark chocolate (I used callets but you could use chunks cut up from a slab as well)


  1. Preheat the oven to 170C/350F/Gas mark 4.
  2. Butter and line the baking pan of your choice with parchment paper.
  3. Rub the sugar with the lemon zest.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until lighter in colour.
  5. Mix in the eggs one at a time, making sure that it’s well incorporated before the next addition. Next, stir in the vanilla extract.
  6. In a bowl, sift together the ground pistachios, ground almonds, flour, baking powder and salt.
  7. Fold the dry ingredients into the bowl just until it all comes together.
  8. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  9. Spoon the cake batter into the baking pan.
  10. Bake for 40 minutes (for a big loaf cake) or until a skewer comes out clean. Check sooner for the mini loaf cake. Poke the cake again if you hit a piece of chocolate.

In other news, I’m going to have another go at making my own sourdough starter from the Tartine Bread book. Hopefully, it should survive this time because I plan on leaving it on my desk and have it under my nose at all times so I don’t forget to feed it. If you’ve made your own sourdough bread and have tips to share, I’m all ears.


  • Reply janki February 28, 2013 at 2:55 AM

    this looks delicious, shaheen. can you taste both the almonds and pistachios in the cake?

    • Reply Shaheen February 28, 2013 at 1:58 PM

      Thanks, Janki! : ) The pistachios overshadow the almonds. I made the cake with raw pistachios last time and toasted pistachios this time and I absolutely love the toasted whiff of pistachio when I walk past the cake sitting on the table. I also find that whenever I use ground almond along with anything else, like in a chocolate almond loaf, I can hardly tell that the cake has almonds in it. It can be such a neutral flavour sometimes, but keeps the cake so moist.

  • Reply The Vanilla Bean February 28, 2013 at 10:00 AM

    Looks amazing! I’ve been dying to get my hands on The Rose Bakery Cookbook!

  • Reply Tejasvi February 28, 2013 at 10:01 AM

    Shaheen when I tried the pistachio cake from rosé bakery book it did result buttery halwa . Because i loved the idea of pistachio cake so much I changed the proportions too, so happy for your tip of adding in chocolate.

    • Reply Shaheen February 28, 2013 at 2:01 PM

      There! I’m not alone – I saw that a few other people had the same problem with the cake. Looks like she’s hiding the secret to her favoruite recipe. ; ) It tastes nothing like oily halwa at the bakery!

      • Reply Tejasvi March 1, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        Wow I can only imagine how it must be to eat the cake at the bakery! But I was thinking otherwise after going through all the blogs that tried the recipe verbatim none complained about how buttery it was, heartofhearts I was thinking maybe it’s our amul so naive I am :) but after reading your experience I feel confident big thank you !

        P.s I got tartine bread book too, did a lot of note making want to do what chad’s surfer friend did with bread (baking it in loaves ie ) very excited!

  • Reply Prashant February 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    Hey Shaheen,

    Why dont you do an egg less series?? :D The cake looks lovely..

  • Reply Sona February 28, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Will be very grateful , if we can get egg less version of this lovely loaf.

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  • Reply Kanika March 6, 2013 at 5:39 PM

    Hi Shaheen…i baked the cake and it turned out really good…i agree the taste of pistachio overshadow the almonds but its delicious and the chocolate in it just adds the extra zing to it

    • Reply Shaheen March 7, 2013 at 1:29 PM

      Happy you enjoyed it!

  • Reply Swati March 10, 2013 at 8:35 AM

    Hi Shaheen

    The cake looks yumm! If you were to reduce the amount of butter, hw much would you do?


    • Reply Shaheen March 10, 2013 at 4:08 PM

      Hi Swati, the recipe above is the modified version with the butter reduced.

  • Reply manjeet April 2, 2013 at 5:59 AM

    hey Shaheen,

    Can we have the proportions in cup/tsp/tbsp also please? I do not have a kitchen scale , but do have cups n other paraphernalia so would really appreciate the equivalent measures/approximations..

    • Reply Shaheen April 2, 2013 at 4:39 PM

      Hi Manjeet, You can use the measurement guide to convert the recipes… I used to use cups when I started baking only to realise that using a scale gives me the most accurate results.

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