This Lemon Pistachio Cake With Lemon Glaze is a moist, fluffy cake with a crunchy pistachio topping and a tart lemon glaze drizzle. It has lemon zest in the batter and in the glaze on top of the cake. The pistachio crumble adds a perfect crunch and pairs so well with the zesty lemon flavor in the cake and glaze! This is the perfect snack cake and one that you will find yourself nibbling on all day!
This delicious cake recipe is easy to make and full of flavor. It pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee and can be enjoyed as a sweet treat any time of the day!
I love the pistachio crumble on the top of this cake and the delicious lemony glaze that is drizzled on top is the perfect addition!
Why You Will Love This
- The lemon glaze drizzle. The lemon icing that is drizzled on top of the pistachio crumble is both sweet and tart. It definitely rounds out the flavors of the cake with the crumble on top.
- The crunchy pistachios. The pistachios are mixed with sugar, flour and butter and then sprinkled on top. The crumble adds the most perfect crunch to to the top of this cake and the pistachio flavor pairs well with the lemon.
- It's moist and fluffy. The cake bakes up nice and fluffy with a delicious moist texture.
Here are notes about some of the ingredients needed to make this moist lemon pistachio cake. All of the ingredients can be found at your local grocery store or an online retailer, like Amazon.
- Pistachios: I prefer to use dry roasted and lightly salted pistachios. I like the saltiness in the crumble and I think it pairs well with the sweetness in the cake and glaze. You could use unsalted, if you prefer.
- Flour: For the cake batter, use cake flour. This will give you a lighter, fluffier cake. For the flour in the pistachio crumble, all-purpose flour will work just fine.
- Brown sugar: Packed light or dark brown sugar would work.
- Butter: Softened unsalted butter should be taken out of the refrigerator and brought to room temperature about 2 hours ahead of time. You will use melted butter for the pistachio crumble.
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Lemon: You will use the zest from one lemon in the batter and juice from that lemon in the glaze.
- Vanilla extract: You could use extract or paste. I love this vanilla bean paste.
- Buttermilk: Full fat buttermilk works best for this.
- Powdered sugar: It's best to sift the powdered sugar for the glaze. Powdered sugar tends to clump up and this ensures a nice smooth glaze.
- Heavy whipping cream
Step by Step Instructions
For the Pistachio Crumble
STEP 1: In a small bowl, combine the chopped pistachios, flour, sugar, brown sugar and butter.
STEP 2: Stir well with a spoon and set aside.
For the Lemon Cake
STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 325° F. Prepare an 8-inch square cake pan with cooking spray.
STEP 2: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine and set aside.
STEP 3: In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients (sugar, butter, vanilla, and lemon zest.) Beat on high speed until fully combined, about 1 minute.
STEP 4: Add ⅓ of the flour mixture, ½ of the buttermilk, ⅓ of the flour mixture, the other ½ of the buttermilk, and then the last of the flour mixture, beating on medium speed between each addition. Be sure to beat just until ingredients are almost fully incorporated. It's okay if there are still some dry ingredients visible.
STEP 5: Using a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining dry ingredients just until fully combined.
STEP 6: Pour batter into the prepared pan and using an offset spatula, spread the batter to the edges and corners of the pan.
STEP 7: Sprinkle the pistachio crumble on top and using your hands.
STEP 8: Slightly press the crumble into the batter.
STEP 9: Bake cake in the 325° F oven for 40-43 minutes or until the cake just starts to turn golden brown around the edges and is starting to pull away from the edge of the pan.
STEP 10: Remove from the oven and let cake cool completely on a wire rack.
For the Lemon Glaze
STEP 1: In a medium sized bowl, combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of whipping cream. Whisk ingredients together until fully combined and smooth. Add whipping cream by the tablespoonfuls until desired consistency for drizzling.
STEP 2: Using a spoon, drizzle or pour glaze over the top of the cooled cake.
STEP 3: Slice cake into 16 squares and serve.
- If you wish to remove the cake from the pan after baking, line the pan with strips of parchment paper in both directions, allowing the paper to fall over the edges. After the cake is baked and fully cooled, use the parchment overhang to lift cake out of the pan.
- Be very careful to not beat the batter more than you need to. Beating the batter too much will make for a dry, crumbly cake.
- When measuring flour, be sure to spoon into the measuring cup and level with a knife.
- To coarsley chop the pistachios, use a large knife or pop them in to your food processor and pulse until desired consistency.
- To test the doneness of the cake, feel free to insert a toothpick, or cake tester, in the center of the cake. It's done if the toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
For this recipe, cake flour is best. I've tested it with all-purpose flour and it doesn't come out as light and fluffy as it does with the cake flour.
You could, but I don't think you are going to get as nice of a flavor as you would with the roasted variety. If you can only find raw pistachios, I would suggest toasting them over medium heat in a small skillet until fragrant or lightly toasted.
Yes. This bakes nicely in a round 9-inch cake pan. Slice into wedges!
Storing and Freezing
Leftover cake can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 3 days. It could also be stored covered in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze, wrap individual slices in plastic wrap and place in a zip top bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter or in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving.
Other Recipes to Try
You may find that you have leftover buttermilk or heavy whipping cream. Try one of these recipes to use up those ingredients:
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Lemon Pistachio Cake With Lemon Glaze
For the Pistachio Crumble:
- ½ cup dry roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Cake:
- 2 cups cake flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Zest of one lemon
- 1 cup buttermilk
For the Lemon Glaze:
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Juice of one lemon
For the Pistachio Crumble:
- Combine the pistachios, flour, sugar, brown sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside.½ cup dry roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped, ¼ cup flour, ¼ cup sugar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Coat a 8-inch square cake pan with cookie spray and parchment paper, if desired.
- In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Set aside.2 cups cake flour, ½ teaspoon baking powder, ½ teaspoon baking soda, ⅛ teaspoon salt
- In a separate medium sized bowl, add the sugar, butter, zest, and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at high speed until well blended.¼ cup unsalted butter, softened, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, Zest of one lemon, ¾ cup sugar
- Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture a little at a time alternating with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour mixture. Mix just until almost combined. Finish mixing by folding in any remaining dry ingredients with a rubber spatula, just until dry ingredients are incorporated.1 cup buttermilk
- Spread batter into prepared 8-inch square cake pan. Sprinkle batter with crumb mixture. Gently press crumb mixture into top of batter.
- Bake in the 325° F oven for 40-43 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. Transfer pan to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cut into 16 squares.
For the Glaze:
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the sifted powdered sugar, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons whipping cream, and vanilla. Stir with a whisk until fully combined. Add extra whipping cream by the tablespoonful until desired consistency for drizzling.1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted, Juice of one lemon, 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla