It’s always right around this time of year that I start craving desserts with fresh juicy berries and zingy citrus fruit — flavors that practically shout from the rooftops that Spring has arrived and it’s time to savor desserts with a lighter vibe. For a garden party I hosted in my backyard, I made this Raspberry & Pistachio Cake with Lemon Glaze (inspired by this recipe from Bon Appetit), and at the last minute decided to make two mini cakes instead of one larger one… because everything’s cuter in mini form, right?
I love making smaller 6″ cakes because it means more approachable little slices at a daytime gathering (not even your most self-controlled friends will resist a tiny slice!), plus if I’m baking for just our family of 3, I can give the other little cake to a friend. Next time, I’m going to try whipping up a lemon curd filling and stacking these two little lovelies on top of each other to make an adorable layer cake! If you try it, let me know how it turns out, will ya? The most unique characteristic of this cake is that it uses olive oil instead of butter or vegetable oil, and the fruity flavor gives a wonderful complexity that is such a great complement to the lemon and raspberry flavors. Plus, all those good fats in the olive oil make this cake feel a little healthier…
If you’d like, sprinkle a flurry of edible flowers all over the top of this cake as the simplest garnish — our grocery store stocks edible flowers in the produce department, and you just might have some growing in your yard! Here’s a great list of which flowers are edible — just make sure they were grown without any chemicals or pesticides. I love tossing nasturtiums onto desserts and chive blossoms into salads all season for an instant way to make any dish jaw-droppingly beautiful. Keep reading for the recipe for this cake, and I’d love to hear in the comments if you give it a try!
*photos by Kate Zimmerman
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
- 1 cup frozen raspberries
- 1/4 cup raw pistachios, chopped, plus more for garnish
- optional: edible flowers for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 2 6″ diameter cake pans with cooking spray, line with parchment paper rounds, then spray parchment with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat eggs and 1 cup sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 – 5 minutes. Add vanilla, almond extract, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice, then with mixer running, add oil, mixing just until combined. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl, then fold lemon zest and dry ingredients into wet ingredients.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Scatter raspberries over cake, then pistachios, and sprinkle everything with 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake cake until sides start to spring back from pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes.
- While cakes are in the oven, bring remaining 1/3 cup sugar and remaining 1/3 cup lemon juice to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Let the lemon syrup cool.
- With the cakes still in their pans, transfer to a wire rack and immediately brush with all of the lemon syrup. Let cakes cool completely in pans, then run a knife around the edges and turn out onto a serving platter. Garnish with chopped pistachios and edible flowers, if desired.
adapted from this recipe from bon appetit