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Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Crackle Glaze

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Crackle Glaze

Renée Robinson

There’s Also Brown Butter. Need I Say More?

I’ve been wanting to make a pistachio cake for awhile. None of the recipes I could find were exactly what I had in mind, so once again, I came up with my own and it’s a beauty. First and foremost, I wanted it to be full of pistachios. 1 1/2 cups did the trick. I also wanted it to contain olive oil because I love both the flavor and the texture. But I also thought some brown butter would enhance the pistachio flavor, so I used both. Why not? Right?

I chose to add some orange zest, orange blossom water, and orange oil to the cake. I’m always careful with orange blossom water. Too much and it can taste awful. Too little and it’s not at all discernible. I wanted just enough to be able to faintly taste the floral notes. I started with half a teaspoon and decided it needed another half teaspoon. The full teaspoon ended up being perfect. A teaspoon of vanilla rounded it out nicely.

As to the spices, I wanted plenty of cardamom, but felt it needed the balance of a little cinnamon. I was hoping all this would work well together in the end.

Prepared Pan

Before I ever begin baking a bundt cake I prep my pan. I spray it liberally with Baker’s Joy and dust it with almond flour. I never have any problem with it sticking. It releases from the pan easily. And the almond flour leaves a tasty fine coat of baked crumbs. The only time I change it up is if I’m making a chocolate cake and then I dust the pan with cocoa.

After the cake baked, I let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan and glazing it. 

Cake Cooling in Pan

At a friend’s suggestion, I first made the sugar crackle glaze from David Lebovitz’s blog a couple years ago and it immediately became my favorite. I greatly prefer it to thick glazes. It contains granulated sugar, which never fully dissolves and it dries to a crunchy crackly finish. There’s plenty of citrus juice in it, so it’s sweet/tart and is the perfect counterpoint to my rich and nut filled cake. 

Slice of Completely Cooled Cake

The end result is a beautifully moist, warmly spiced, but vibrantly flavored cake. It’s exactly what I was hoping for when I set out to make it. Yep, I’m happy. Very happy.

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake with Crackle Glaze

Recipe by Renée Robinson



A beautifully moist bundt cake filled with pistachios, olive oil, brown butter, warm spices, orange zest, and orange blossom water. The bright lemon and orange glaze crackles and crunches when you bite into it. Simply splendid!

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  • Baker’s Joy baking spray

  • Almond flour, approximately 1/4 cup

  • 1 1/2 cups (180g) toasted lightly salted pistachios, plus 2 tablespoons (18g)for garnish

  • 1 1/2 cups (214g)all purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 1 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup , plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 4 ounces , 1 stick salted butter

  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon orange blossom water

  • 1/2 teaspoon orange oil

  • 3/4 cup whole milk, room temperature

  • Crackle Glaze
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar

  • 1 cup (140g) powdered sugar


  • Preheat the oven to 350° with a rack in the center. Spray a 10 cup bundt pan with Baker’s Joy. Don’t be shy about this. Spray the heck out of the pan. Dust it with almond flour and set aside.
  • In either a small skillet or saucepan, cook the stick of butter until the solids are golden brown. You can also do this in a bowl in the microwave. Set aside to cool.
  • Grind 1 1/2 cups, plus an additional 2 tablespoons pistachios in a food processor until they are finely ground, but stop before they turn into paste. Remove 2 tablespoons that you will use for garnishing.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom, and cinnamon.
  • In a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, olive oil, cooled brown butter, and orange zest for 3 minutes on medium speed, adding the vanilla, orange blossom water, and orange oil during the last 30 seconds.
  • Turn the speed down to low and add 1/3 of the flour, followed by half of the milk. Repeat, ending with the flour. Beat on lowest speed for 30 seconds. Stir in the ground pistachios. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean and the cake has pulled away from the sides of the pan. Let cool on a rack for 15 minutes while you make the crackle glaze. Whisk together the lemon juice, orange juice, granulated sugar, and powdered sugar.
  • Invert the cake onto a cooling rack and brush with the glaze. Sprinkle with the reserved ground pistachios. Let cool completely before slicing and serving. Enjoy!


  • 10 cup Bundt Pan

16 Responses

    1. Hi, Pearl. Seeing as how this cake uses browned butter I did a little research and found a vegan butter that they say actually browns well. It’s called Miyokos brand European Style Cultured Butter. So, it seems this should solve that particular issue. You could then substitute oat milk for the regular milk and be good to go. Please let me know how you like it!

    1. Sophia, thanks for your question. A hand mixer will work perfectly fine for this cake. It’s not a thick batter. It’s very loose. It won’t be difficult to mix with a hand mixer at all. I hope you make it. Please let me know what you think!

  1. Sounds like something I’d love to try when I return. Funny because we’ve been given little olive oil cookies on our short flights through the Greek Islands that are just perfect. Do you have anything up your sleeve for that? Not anxious to get home to hurricanes other than to try this recipe, lol

    1. Claire, your vacation has looked heavenly!! I need to know more about those little olive oil cookies. They sound wonderful. And yes, hurricane season dealt a severe blow to most of Florida yesterday. It’s devastating and heartbreaking. Here on our coast we’re all just fine. But many many others aren’t. We still have 2 months to go. Ugh. Hope you’re enjoying every minute of your lovely vacation.

  2. Thanks for inventing this amazing sounding cake. Unfortunately my September trip had to be moved until the spring. So I will have to add this to my list of Renee’s dishes that I must make for my family. Also, what a beauty that bundt pan is!

    1. Thank you, Janet. Sorry to hear you had to postpone your trip, but the recipes will be there waiting for you. You’re so very welcome.

  3. OMG! Bundt cakes are my weakness. I will DEFINITELY be trying this one. I’ve got a bag of shelled pistachios in my pantry. Thanks, Renee!

    1. I’m with you, Liz. There’s nothing like a really good bundt cake, is there? I can’t wait to here how you like it!!

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