A wonderfully light Orange and Pistachio Loaf infused with an abundance of orange zest and nutty pistachios. Best served with a coffee or tea.
In my house there is one word that perks everyone up.
And that one word is ‘cake’.
Now make that a pistachio cake with notes of citrus and I have one happy family. We’re cake people, and if we’re having cake we’re going to make sure it’s worth it.
Now in my opinion there are various types of cake that exist. And different moods call for different types. I know on my birthday I need a buttercream cake.
But there are times when all I want is a slice of something that will pair well with my cup of coffee or tea. And these cakes are different and delicious in their own right. These cakes are less sweet, but just rich enough to thoroughly enjoy alongside your cuppa.
Now me being me, I’ve got to have pistachios in there somewhere. I keep things on brand, that’s for sure. But I’m also a huge fan of citrus flavours, like lemon and orange for example.
And on that note, let’s introduce this Orange and Pistachio Loaf.
Orange and Pistachio Loaf
This is without a doubt, one of the most perfect cakes to enjoy alone or along with a cup of tea or coffee. Though admittedly I am biased as this does have all the things that I enjoy.
It’s a fragrant loaf cake infused with all the sweet citrusy notes from orange along with nutty pistachios. It’s quite a simple and straightforward bake that doesn’t require too much work.
This loaf starts off with a simple orange and pistachio sponge. Which is lightly soaked in an orange syrup for even more citrus flavour. The loaf is then finally
Pistachios are already such a special ingredient.
You can see how much I love them through the abundance of pistachio recipes on this blog. To be able to sweeten them up and pop them into a cake is always the right decision.
This is perhaps a recipe that you never knew you needed. But trust me, once you smell the fragrance of this baking and experience the sweet deliciousness of the loaf. You won’t ever look back.
Loaf cakes deserve more attention
You can say that again.
Yes round cakes are brilliant, and yes sheet cakes are nostalgic. Square cakes are a bit random so let’s just pretend they’re not a thing.
But loaf cakes, that’s where it’s at.
They’re simple, elegant, and understated. And frankly anything that pairs with coffee or tea is already a win in my books. Yet for some reason they don’t see the same adoration that other cakes too.
Loaf cakes are the type of bakes you resort to when you’re craving something sweet and delicious without requiring crazy amounts of work. You already know it’s going to be a rustic home style bake when you take out that loaf pan.
Loaf cakes are definitely a classic bake, and that is honestly their forte. They’re perfect for birthdays, celebrations, weekend get togethers, and random Wednesday 3pm cravings.
If all of this resonates with you, my Ultimate Lemon Drizzle Loaf might be right up your street!
Why Orange and Pistachio make for a delicious combo
Those incredibly small green pistachios have a wonderful flavour. They’re nutty and earthy with a hint of mild sweetness. The fresher they are, the more flavourful they are.
The texture of pistachios is also fairly tender in comparison to other types of nuts. They’re not hard but do have a slight bite to them. That turns into an almost creaminess as you chew them.
Pistachios also have an almost buttery and nutty aroma to them too. They’re easily one of my favourite scents.
Though that’s possibly because I spend way more time than I should with my head inside a bag of them.
And the oranges?
Oranges are…. well… orangey. They’re sweet and citrusy with a great balance between acidity and sweetness. Plus they also have one of the best smells.
Definitely another favourite.
Oranges, being a citrus fruit, have the right amount of acidity to cut through rich ingredients. But they can also bring flavours to life. The use of acidity in both sweet and savoury dishes is incredibly underrated and sadly overlooked.
If you often feel like something you’ve made is great, but there’s just something missing. Chances are it’s probably acidity. It almost acts like a seasoning.
The orange does the same thing here, it cuts through the richness of the pistachio and brings freshness and lightness. But it also adds its own notes and brings a totally new dimension of flavour.
The balance between orange and pistachio is a match made in heaven. They really bring out each other’s flavours.
But what if I don’t like pistachios?
This was a particularly soul destroying heading to write. And I can’t understand why anyone would even ask this.
However for the sake of inclusivity I thought this would be worth covering. Considering there are about 5 people out there that don’t like pistachios, the next few sentences are for their eyes only.
You may substitute the pistachios for any other nut of choice. I would recommend hazelnuts, almonds, or cashew nuts personally.
And just to clarify, the use of the word ‘may‘ is not suggesting that you ‘should‘. But it will still work and taste great for the 5 of you who don’t like pistachios.
How I’d recommend serving this Orange and Pistachio Loaf
As mentioned earlier, a mug of coffee or tea is probably the best way to go about it. If you’re a coffee drinker then a cappuccino or a latte are an excellent choice to pair.
If you’re more of a tea drinker then I would always recommend Assam or Ceylon tea leaves. These are my personal favourites and really the only tea leaves I use now.
But now, if we’re going to be very real about my honest serving suggestion. I would take the entire loaf and run into a corner of the house where I won’t be disturbed.
And it will very much be a me, fork, and an Orange and Pistachio Loaf situation.
This Orange and Pistachio cake contains no eggs
That’s right, this recipe is eggless and also very easy to make vegan with a few simple substitutes.
I know that a cake with no eggs can sound a bit worrying, but let me put your mind at ease. You won’t even notice it’s not there. The loaf rises beautifully and has a moist, tender, crumb.
The ingredient that aids this process are flax seeds, also commonly known as linseeds. I use them throughout my baking, and my cake recipes were the first recipes I started developing.
It took me 2 years from ages 12 to 14 to come up with my own cake recipe. You can tell I didn’t have a social life, right?
The flax seeds are ground and then mixed with water to form a gelatinous mixture. This slightly aids with binding but more so with moisture.
Both golden or brown flaxseeds will work, but bare in mind that the brown variety can impart a slight colour to the bake. I usually buy them whole and grind them to a powder in a blender which takes seconds.
I’ll link the ones I often use below:
This post contains an Amazon Affiliate link. This is the product that I use in this recipe. It is not a gifted or sponsored product. By using this affiliate link, I receive a small commission which is at no expense to yourself. This helps to support this blog for its day to day running. Many thanks.
What if I don’t have flaxseeds?
If you don’t have them and don’t want to purchase them, that’s totally ok. You can just omit them from the recipe.
There will be a slight impact to texture and the cake will be a touch drier. But it will still bake fine. Once the loaf soaks in the orange syrup it will pick up some moisture anyways.
Can I just use regular eggs instead?
I can’t answer this as I’ve never tried myself. I don’t use eggs and have never baked with them so I genuinely have no idea.
If you do try, proceed with caution. I developed the recipes and ratios for my cakes around the fact that they are eggless. So I’m not sure what impact adding eggs in will have.
What you’ll need
The full recipe is at the end of the blogpost
- Self raising flour
- Unsalted pistachios
- White granulated sugar
- Baking powder
- Flavourless oil – such as sunflower oil or vegetable oil
- Vanilla bean paste – or extract/essence
- Milk – plant based milks work well too, I always recommend oat milk or soya milk for baking. But this would be the perfect opportunity to use pistachio milk if you can find it
- Ground flaxseeds/linseeds
We’re not adding in any orange extract here as it becomes too overpowering and you lose the flavour of the pistachios. Which is a far more subtle flavour. We want to keep it balanced.
I keep the decoration on the cake fairly simple. It is totally optional but I use:
- Crackly orange glaze made from orange juice and icing sugar
- More unsalted pistachios
How to make this Orange and Pistachio Loaf (photos)
1+2) Mix together the ground flax seed/linseed and water. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to hydrate and activate
3) Mix together the orange zest, oil, sugar, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl
4) Whisk for 1-2 minutes, this will help to release the flavour from the orange zest
5) Add the flax seed mixture in
6) And continue to whisk
7) Juice one of the oranges and mix with milk. Allow to sit for 5 minutes
8) Pour into the oil, sugar, and orange mixture and whisk once again
9) Sift in the flour, baking powder, and salt
10) Whisk until mostly smooth – a few lumps are totally fine. Avoid over whisking
11) Add in the roughly ground pistachios
12) Fold the pistachios in to combine
13) Next pour the batter into a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin
14) Bake until brown and a cake tester and tooth pick comes out clean
15) Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin. Do not remove from the tin
Now let’s do the orange syrup
1) Mix together sugar, orange juice, and water in a pan. I recommend making the syrup whilst the loaf is baking to give the syrup some time to cool
2) Bring to a gentle simmer until the sugar has dissolved. This will only take around 1-2 minutes
3) Pour the syrup all over the warm cake and allow to soak in for another 15 minutes
4) Then cover tightly with clingfilm and place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours or overnight for best results
And finally the glaze
1) After the loaf has chilled in the fridge, prepare the glaze by whisking together orange juice and icing sugar
2) It should form a thick consistency
3) Brush the glaze generously over the loaf. Ensure the loaf is on a cooling rack on top of a tray to catch any drippings
4) Top with sliced pistachios and allow to sit for 1-2 hours for the glaze to set
If you enjoyed this recipe
Please do let me know! Leave a review and a rating below, I’d love to know how you got on.
Until then, happy baking!
For the loaf:
- 1tbsp ground flaxseeds/linseeds
- 2tbsp water
- 220g white granulated sugar
- Two oranges
- 175ml neutral flavoured oil, e.g. sunflower, vegetable, rapeseed
- 250ml milk, or plant based milk
- 1tsp of vanilla bean paste, or extract/essence
- 355g self raising flour
- 1+1/2tsp baking powder
- 1/2tsp salt
- 80g unsalted pistachios, plus extra for topping
For the syrup:
- 25ml water
- 60g white granulated sugar
- 50ml orange juice (this will be from the oranges listed above)
For the glaze:
- 70g icing sugar
- 1tbsp orange juice
- Preheat the oven to 160’C fan/180’C conventional and line and grease a 2lb loaf tin
- First mix together the ground flax and water and allow to sit for 10-15 minutes to
hydrate and activate
- In the meantime coarsely grind the pistachios in a food processor and leave aside
- In a large mixing bowl, add the oil, sugar, vanilla, and the zest of both oranges. Whisk for
1-2 minutes to help release the flavour from the zest
- Juice one of the oranges into a measuring jug, which should provide around 100ml of
juice. Add 250ml of milk to make a total volume of 350ml. Let the orange milk
mixture sit for 5 minutes
- Add the flax mixture to the oil, sugar, and zest mixture and
whisk again to incorporate
- Then add the orange and milk mixture and whisk once more
- Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, then briefly whisk
until the batter is mostly smooth. A few lumps are fine. Avoid over whisking
- Add in the coarsely ground pistachios from earlier and fold
- Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake on the middle
rack for 75 minutes, or until a cake tester/toothpick comes out clean
- While the loaf is baking, prepare the orange sugar syrup by
mixing the sugar, 50ml orange juice (the juice from half of the remaining
orange), and water. Place into a pan on a low heat and bring to a low simmer
until the sugar has dissolved, then leave aside to cool
- Once the loaf has baked, transfer to a cooling rack to cool
for 15 minutes. Leave the loaf in the tin, do not remove
- After 15 minutes, pour the syrup all over the loaf and let
sit for another 15 minutes to soak in. Then wrap tightly in clingfilm and place
into the refrigerator for a minimum of 6 hours, or overnight for best results
- Finally, for the glaze simply whisk together 1tbsp of orange
juice with the icing sugar until thick but pourable. Remove the chilled loaf from
the tin and discard the baking paper. Place the loaf onto a wire rack with a
tray underneath and brush all over with the orange glaze. Top with sliced pistachios
- Allow the loaf to stand for 1-2 hours or until
the glaze has fully set, it should be firm and crackle when cut
- When mixing the glaze, if you find it has become too runny you will need to add more icing sugar
- If it is too thick, add more orange juice
Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 411Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 3mgSodium 586mgCarbohydrates 58gFiber 2gSugar 31gProtein 6g