August 31, 2014

Lemon Cake with Berries and Pistachios

When your husband goes away on a weekend-long trip with the boys, sleeping in until noon, catching up on your reading and finally getting to that tardy spring cleaning suddenly feels like the right thing to do... and so therapeutic!  As the exemplary wife I try to be, I just couldn’t send my husband empty-handed on his getaway trip with the guys.  So, besides the usual snack-type and finger food, I also added this summery, berry studded Lemon Cake with Berries and Pistachios, which turned out to be a big hit!  

Since summer is a joyous fruit bonanza, juicy sweets are inevitably a must.  When I stumbled upon this Lemon Cake with Berries and Pistachios recipe while thumbing through the June issue of Bon Appétit, I instantly knew I wanted to make it and take advantage of the bright, fresh berries that abound at the markets these days.  The initial recipe called only for raspberries, but I feel that a mixture of berries enhances the texture and adds a vivid color to this blissful cake. 

This lemon cake is tender and zesty, citrusy and sweet, crunchy and toasty.  The fragile berries work wonderfully nestled in atop the lightly dense batter, while the fruity olive oil complements the lemony sweetness of the cake.  And the nuttiness of the pistachios completes the delightful circle.  This cake sounds, looks and tastes a lot like summer and comes just in time to celebrate the season’s last gasp.  The best part of this sweet treat is that it’s great for dessert and even better for breakfast or brunch, late afternoon snack, or a lovely picnic in the late summer heat.

Lemon Cake with Berries and Pistachios
Adapted from Bon Appétit (June 2014)

Makes: 8 servings


·         Butter for the pan
·         1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
·         1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
·         ¼ teaspoon salt
·         4 large eggs, at room temperature
·         1 ¼ cups plus 2 Tablespoons sugar, divided
·         2 teaspoons vanilla extract
·         2 Tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
·         1 Tablespoon plus ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
·         ¾ cup olive oil
·         ½ cup fresh raspberries
·         ½ cup fresh blueberries
·         3 Tablespoons toasted pistachios, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Butter and flour a 9-inch diameter springform or cake pan (personally, I think that a springform works better).  Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and 1 cup of sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  With the mixer running, add the vanilla extract and 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, then gradually add the oil, mixing just until combined.  Fold in the lemon zest and the dry ingredients.


Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.  Scatter the berries over the cake, then the pistachios and 2 Tablespoons of sugar.  Bake the cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and the remaining ¼ cup of lemon juice to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve the sugar.  Let the lemon syrup cool. 

Transfer the hot cake (still in the pan) to a wire rack and immediately brush the cake with the lemon syrup (use all of it).  Let the cake cool completely in the pan.      

Poftă Bună! (Bon Appétit!)