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Saying Hello to September with a Pistachio Loaf

September 1, 2011

A big welcome to September with this pistachio loaf from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days cookbook. Would you believe it, I missed baking so much I made this the day after coming back from our holiday in Tuscany! Yes, we did our mountain load of laundry. Yes, we restocked our near-empty fridge. But I’d ear-marked this recipe to try after receiving this cookbook in early August from my friend Sue, and needed some comfort food for the week. A loaf cake was perfect to help steel me for the working week ahead.

I love the smell of chopped or ground pistachio nuts. They have provided a delicious aromatic nutty flavour in these white chocolate and pistachio nut cookies and lemon pistachio friands I’ve previously made. They also bring a lovely contrast of colour and texture to this loaf cake. ‘Non-lovers’ of icing might think twice about adding the glaze but it actually went very well with the cake so don’t be tempted to forego it.

You will need a food processor or grinder for the ground pistachios but feel free to hand chop the pistachios for the cake itself.

What you’ll need

  • 190g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing
  • 190g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 100g shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

For the glaze

  • 100g icing sugar
  • 40g ground pistachios

To make your pistachio loaf

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C then grease a 8.5cm x 17.5cm loaf tin with butter and dust with flour.

2. Using a hand-held electric whisk or a freestanding electric mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are properly mixed together.

3. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt, then add to the creamed mixture in two batches and mix on a low speed until just incorporated. Add the milk and vanilla essence, then stir in the chopped pistachios by hand.

4. Pour or spoon the batter into the prepared tin, then place in the oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the sponge feels firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean, with no uncooked batter sticking to it.

5. Allow the loaf to cool a little in the tin, then turn out on a wire rack to cool down fully before adding the glaze.

6. Place the icing sugar in a bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water and mix together. This will form a fairly runny paste; if the glaze seems too thick, add a little more water to thin it – 1/4 teaspoon at a time. Stir in the ground pistachios, keeping a small amount aside to sprinkle on top. Pour the glaze over the cooled loaf and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.

Recipe adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days cookbook

Yields one pistachio loaf

19 Comments leave one →
  1. September 1, 2011 10:11 AM

    Looks delicious!!!

  2. September 1, 2011 10:12 AM

    Looks delicious!!!
    And posted this twice by accident 😉

  3. September 2, 2011 12:42 AM

    I’ve been wanting to get my hands on the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook…all the more after this post!!

    • September 2, 2011 9:27 AM

      Drool factor: I find both the cookbooks from Hummingbird Bakery good. But despite my love for cakes and such I have to reduce the sugar in the recipes a little as they come out a bit too sweet for my taste if I follow them exactly. Hope you’ll enjoy baking from them!

  4. September 2, 2011 1:15 AM

    It look delicious and I love pistachio nuts! I love the color….RaeDi

    • September 2, 2011 9:28 AM

      Thanks RaeDi, I’m totally in love with pistachio nuts too, must find more recipes that incorporate them.

  5. September 4, 2011 9:26 PM

    The pistachio loaf cake looks totally delicious. I agree that a lot of recipes are a little too sweet for my taste as well.

  6. September 5, 2011 11:26 AM

    Delicious Christine! How long did it last?

  7. September 9, 2011 1:20 PM

    I’ve never seen a pistachio bread before! This is heavenly!! I love pistachios and can’t wait to try it out. I also can’t wait to get baking again since the hot summer has curtailed alot of my oven time!!

    • September 9, 2011 1:39 PM

      Thanks spicegirlfla, although it’s a loaf cake, not a bread 🙂 We never really had a hot summer here in London unfortunately. My oven has been working very hard!

  8. pixie permalink
    February 2, 2012 11:17 AM

    i made this and it is delicious
    very tempting
    i love it

  9. pixie permalink
    February 2, 2012 11:18 AM


  10. AshMc permalink
    July 3, 2012 2:30 PM

    I have been looking for a recipe like this after having a mini loaf version from Peyton & Byrne. A fantastic recipe and worked really well. Lovely. The only thing I changed was to put a chocolate layer, 60% dark with a couple of Lindt coconut intense squares and then ground pistachios on top. Thoroughly enjoyed with a coffee.

    • July 4, 2012 3:30 PM

      Thanks for the comment! It is a lovely recipe and love how you’ve used chocolate instead! I must try it, thanks for the brilliant idea 🙂


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