Orange Blossom & Pistachio Cake

My it’s been a busy week for us Brits hasn’t it?!  At least, it has been for poor little me.  Markets to attend, Birthdays to celebrate, cake clubs to partake in, jubilee street parties to organise and last but not least a fierce cold to fight off.  All this in the space of a week has lead to a very tired Katie, the only thing to perk me up is knowing I discovered this gem of a cake.

I made this cake for the Newcastle branch of the famous Clandestine Cake Club movement currently taking the UK by storm.  The theme was English country garden and despite the fact you’d probably never find pistachios nor oranges in a typical English garden I felt it sounded too delicious to overlook.  To tie it into the garden theme I decided to crystallize some beautiful yellow roses to adorn the top of the delicious cake, but if you can’t be bothered to paint flowers don’t worry, this cake is just as yummy without them.  

Pistachio & Orange Blossom Cake

(from Bake & Decorate – Fiona Cairns)


For the cake:

175g unsalted butter, softened

100g unsalted pistachios, toasted

70g self raising flour

1tsp baking powder

200g golden caster sugar

zest of 1 large orange

4 large eggs

70g ground almonds

2tsp orange blossom water

For the syrup:

Juice of 1 orange

45g golden caster sugar

1tbsp orange blossom water

For the frosting:

250g mascarpone

zest of 1 large orange

1/2tsp vanilla extract

1tsp orange blossom water

30g golden caster sugar


Preheat oven to 170C fan.  Lightly butter and line a 20cm springform cake tin.  Grind the toasted pistachios in a food processor till fine.

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  In an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar and zest until light and fluffy and slowly add the eggs, one by one mixing between each addition.  If the mixture begins to curdle add 1tbsp of flour between each egg.  Fold in the almonds, pistachio and remaining flour followed by the orange blossom water.

Pour the batter into the cake tin and bake for 40 – 50 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the syrup: tip the orange juice, sugar and orange blossom water into a small saucepan and heat till boiling.  Reduce the liquid until thickened and syrupy.

Immediately after the cake comes out of the oven prick it all over with a skewer and drizzle over the reduced syrup.  Leave in the tin till completely cooled.

Turn the cake upside down on a cake stand so the bottom now forms the top.  Beat together all the ingredients for the frosting and spread it on evenly with a palate knife.


  1. Anonymous
    June 8, 2012 / 1:48 pm

    Wow most fantastic cake, what a Dream, you are very talented. Have a wonderful weekend.

  2. MessyCarla
    June 8, 2012 / 3:26 pm

    Yessss I'm so glad you've posted the recipe – this cake was amaaaazing! 😀 xxx

  3. Lauren
    June 8, 2012 / 5:19 pm

    The roses are a gorgeous touch. This could easily be the top layer for a wedding cake. I'm sure it was a hit. Where do you get orange blossom water from?

  4. Ellie
    June 8, 2012 / 6:35 pm

    Wow! I wish you lived nearer. I be totally employing you to make me some wedding cakes. Actually, where do you live?! I wonder if it's possible! haha x

    • Katiecakes
      June 9, 2012 / 5:57 pm

      Haha, I sure wish I lived close enough too! Your wedding theme sounds glorious!! :)) xoxo

  5. Daniëlle
    June 8, 2012 / 7:21 pm

    How pretty! Great job!

  6. Kate@whatkatebaked
    June 8, 2012 / 8:28 pm

    What a beautiful cake and so pretty with those rose decorations! I too have made this cake- isn't it delicious? How I wish i was attending the Newcastle branch! Our theme this month is Cocktail Cakes!

  7. Anonymous
    June 9, 2012 / 4:09 am

    wow, that is such a beautiful cake!! and those flavors sound delicious! thanks for sharing! love your blog!

  8. Anonymous
    June 9, 2012 / 8:27 am

    This cake looks absolutely beautiful. And I think the flowers on top are the icing on the cake – so beautiful.

  9. Katiecakes
    June 9, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    I got mine in Waitrose but you can get it in most good delis and food halls 🙂 its sometimes called orange flower water.Xoxo

  10. Dot
    June 10, 2012 / 6:06 pm

    This sounds delicious and almost looks too good to eat!

  11. Dawniepopsies
    June 12, 2012 / 8:16 pm

    I'm a little bit addicted to your blog! The salmon with singapore noodles is a regular feature in this house! x

  12. Anonymous
    June 17, 2012 / 5:23 am

    That looks so elegant and lovely!

  13. Niki Downs
    June 17, 2012 / 7:17 pm

    Hi Katie, I just tried making this gorgeous looking cake, all went fine until it came to the frosting, the mascarpone curdled. I managed to rescue it with a little icing sugar but wanted to know if you've experienced the same in the past? Thanks, Niki

  14. Becs @ Lay the table
    June 17, 2012 / 9:19 pm

    Looks divine! Some English country gardens might have orangeries!

  15. Katiecakes
    June 18, 2012 / 10:03 am

    Hi Nikki,I'm afraid I didn't. It's very odd that it should curdle as there isn't any acidic properties in the ingredients. Did you use orange juice or orange blossom water?xoxo

  16. RecipeNewZ
    June 20, 2012 / 7:31 am

    I found this post though Pinterest. The photo was so beautiful that I just had to come here to read the recipe! Love it! And love your site :-).I would like to invite you to share this post (and your other posts 🙂 ) on a new photo based recipe sharing site that launched in May. The idea is simple: all recipe photographs are published within minutes of submission. And, of course, the images link back to the author's site.It's called RecipeNewZ (with Z) – http://recipenewz.comI hope you get a chance to visit and to share some of your delicious posts with our viewers. It would be a pleasure to have you on board 🙂

  17. Editor
    June 21, 2012 / 8:48 pm

    Sounds really delicious, very summery (even if not very British, but who cares?)

  18. Naomi Magnante
    July 9, 2012 / 9:42 pm

    Your cakes always look perfect!

  19. N Millner
    April 1, 2013 / 4:33 am

    I know it's been a long time since you posted this, but I just made it for an Easter dessert and it is fabulous. I left out the zest (somehow my palate can't deal with orange zest) and sadly, the cake sank a bit in the middle, BUT it tastes really good. The cake was beautifully moist with a lovely richness from the pistachio and that lovely "je ne sais quoi' of the orange blossom water. LOVELY. Thanks so much for sharing it!

  20. Jason loves Orange Blossom Water
    February 9, 2018 / 9:34 am

    That's a mouthwatering masterpiece. It looks really delicious. I am going to make this delicious treat.

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