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Lemon Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Ganache

Lemon Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Ganache

Serves pea 10 Clock icon 1 hour (30 minutes hands on)
The season for chocolate guzzling has arrived, but you should by no means limit yourself to foil-wrapped eggs. Even traditional simnel cake can enjoy a reboot thanks to comforting white chocolate paired with the subtle power of pistachios and tangy lemon to offset its sweetness. Blitzed pistachios also add a touch of spring when dusted over piped kisses resembling the marzipan balls that represent the 11 apostles.

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Here's how you do it

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line two 18cm/7” baking tins. In a large bowl and using a handheld electric hand whisk, beat the butter, sugar and lemon zest together until pale and fluffy.

  2. Add the vanilla extract. Add one egg and beat until fully incorporated. Repeat with the remaining 3 eggs. If the mixture starts to split, add in a tablespoon of flour.

  3. Add in the ground almonds, ground pistachios, flour and baking powder. Gently fold until just combined. Be careful not to overmix as this will result in a dense texture.

  4. Divide the batter among the prepared baking tins. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean when pushed into the centre. When they’re baked, turn the cakes out from their tins and leave to cool on a wire rack.

  5. Make the ganache whilst the cake is baking. Gently heat the white chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water until the chocolate has melted. Remove from the pan of hot water and leave it alone to cool slightly.

  6. Chill the ganache in the fridge for 15 minutes or until stiffened but still pliable. Prepare the sugar syrup in the meantime. Heat the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan until the sugar has just dissolved. Turn off the heat and let the syrup to cool completely.

  7. Slice the tops off your cake layers to make them flat using a large serrated knife. Brush both cakes with the lemon sugar syrup. Remove the ganache from the fridge and whisk until light and fluffy.

  8. Place the cake on a plate or stand. Using a palette knife, spread a layer of ganache onto one of the cakes. Place the other cake on top. Spread a thin layer of ganache all over the entire cake so the sponge peeks through for a ‘semi-naked’ effect.

  9. Fill a piping bag with a large round nozzle with the remaining ganache and pipe 11 dollops around the cake’s edge on the top.

  10. Sprinkle with ground pistachios and a shavings of lemon zest.



  • 220g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 220g caster sugar
  • Zest of 3 lemons
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 200g plain flour, sifted
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 10g ground almonds
  • 30g pistachios, blitzed in a food processor
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

White chocolate ganache

  • 150ml double cream
  • 450g white cooking chocolate, chips or chopped (larder)

Lemon sugar syrup

  • 100ml lemon juice
  • 100ml caster sugar


  • 10g pistachios, blitzed in a food processor
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest

Suitable for

  • Vegetarians