Pistachio Cardamom Cake

Not too sweet. A dense yet tender crumb. Fragrant cardamom to up the sophistication factor. And a generous studding of pistachios. Pistachio Cardamom Cake is the simple, modern cake you’ll love!

Pistachio Cardamom Cake | The Subversive Table

Pistachio Cardamom Cake sounds fancy but it’s a straightforward, simple cake to make.  Pantry ingredients plus pistachios and ground cardamom.  Mixed in one bowl.  Baked at 350F.  This is a cake you can bake with your kids after school, any day of the week.

To be perfectly truthful, Pistachio Cardamom Cake is more of a tea cake than a frosted, celebratory cake.  That’s the kind I prefer.  A slice that can be pleasurably eaten for breakfast or with a cup of tea in the afternoon.  Of course, this cake taste great at the end of dinner, too.  But just to say, it’s not a super sweet cake!

Pistachio Cardamom Cake | The Subversive Table
Pistachio Cardamom Cake | The Subversive Table



If you love pistachios and are looking for the same flavor and color of the pistachio ice cream of your childhood, this cake will leave you slightly underwhelmed.  That’s because pistachio desserts are flavored with artificial flavoring and coloring.  What we think is real pistachio flavor is actually an amped-up approximation of the real thing.

If you can get over that, then you’ll love this cake. This recipe calls for ground pistachio in the batter and a generous sprinkling of pistachios on top. They ensure a dense, tender crumb and a crunchy topping that feels decadently buttery. — they all point to buttery, salty, nutty pistachio flavor.


Cardamom and pistachios are a common pairing in Middle Eastern recipes. They go together like peanut butter and jelly. Try it once and you’ll agree — the aromatic, fragrance of cardamom belongs with the buttery, salty crunch of pistachios.

Typically, people think of adding cardamom to savory dishes. But I think the floral aroma goes so well with dessert. Plus, cardamom ups the sophistication factor of anything sweet!

Pistachio Cardamom Cake

A simple, modern cake that’s mixed in one bowl. Not too sweet. A dense yet tender crumb. Fragrant cardamom to up the sophistication factor. A generous studding of pistachios on top.  Plus, an optional glaze for those who need a little more sweetness.  
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pistachio Cardamom Cake
Servings: 12 generous slices
Author: The Subversive Table


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup full fat sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp if pistachios are unsalted
  • 1 cup ground roasted and salted pistachios about 4 ounces, *see note below
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pistachios about 2 ounces, coarsely chopped

Glaze (optional)

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 Tbsp roasted salted pistachios, chopped (for garnish)


  • Preheat oven to 350F/175C. Butter a 9inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Add eggs to a large bowl and whisk until well combined. Add olive oil and sour cream/yogurt and whisk again. If the edges look slightly curdled, that’s ok. Just keep whisking and it will disappear into a smooth batter. Add sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk until just combined.  
  • At this point, switch from a whisk to a spatula. Add the ground pistachios and gently fold into the batter. Make sure the batter is well combined.  
  • Pour into the cake pan. Level the top so that it’s nice and even. Sprinkle the remaining chopped pistachios over the top.
  • Bake at 350F/175C oven for 35-45 minutes. The cake should be done when the top is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out with a few crumbs attached. Make sure not to over bake the cake, as this will result in an overly dry crumb.  
  • Cool for 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the sides of the cake pan and invert onto a platter. This is an important step if you want a crisp, crackly crust. Serve warm with a light dusting of powdered sugar.
  • Alternately, make a glaze. Combine 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1 Tbsp of milk in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Spoon glaze over cake. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp roasted, salted, chopped pistachios over the top.


*Note: I used a food processor to pulse shelled, roasted pistachios to a finely ground, crumbly mixture. Be careful not to over process, as you don’t want pistachio nut butter. The resulting texture should be fine but still somewhat coarse. If there are a few large chunks, that’s ok.

More Dessert Inspiration:

Black Sesame Mochi Cake
dark grey plate with black sesame mochi cake
Matcha Coconut Pudding
staggered group of glass cups filled with matcha coconut pudding
Coconut Sago with Mango
two cups of coconut sago with mango topping on marble cutting board
Breakfast + Brunch, Dessert

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