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Lemon and pistachio cake with lemon curd screams summer. This cake is light, zesty and very fragrant. This lemon cake tastes delicious and looks stunning. The perfect combination for your summer party showstopper.

Lemons, lemons, lemons!!!

If you ask me for the one ingredient that can elevate pretty much every single recipe, it’s definitely these lovely, fragrant, yellow, zingy goodies (and a splash of good alcohol… but that’s another story).

So, it should be no surprise that I dedicated this entire recipe to lemons!

Lemon and pistachio cake, lemon curd and I had to really stop myself by not adding lemons into the frosting (well… I swap them for limes). To be perfectly honest though, it turned out as one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. It’s fragrant, sweet (but not too sweet) and utterly delicious.

Everything about this lemon and pistachio cake just screams summer. If you’re in need of a bit of sunshine in your life (and I feel we all are at the moment!), give it a try and let me know how you get on.

Lemon and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Curd

FAQ: Lemon and Pistachio Cake

In order to help you with baking the lemon cake, I’d like to share some good to know tips and advice before getting started.

  • My cake didn’t rise. Why?

This could mean two things: either you used cold butter or you didn’t whisk the butter enough to incorporate air.

Always use the room temperature butter! It makes all the difference. Also, take your time and don’t try to speed up the whisking process. It takes time. You need to end up with a soft, pale and fluffy mixture.

  • My lemon and pistachio cake is dense. What happened?

Again, this could be a result of two different things:

Firstly, you might have over-creamed your butter mixture. The moment the mixture is soft and fluffy – stop mixing it.

Secondly, you might not have sifted the dry ingredients. This helps create a light, fluffy cake.

  • Can I use this cake recipe for the lemon drizzle cake?

Yes, of course! Skip the lemon curd and frosting steps. Instead of these steps, prepare the drizzle-mix (lemon juice with icing sugar) and drizzle all over your cake while it’s still hot.

  • Which lemons should I use?

For this recipe, I really recommend using Italian unwaxed lemons, because the lemon zest is a very important ingredient for the cake. For the best results, you’ll need the best possible quality citrus.

Lemon and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Curd

Lemon and Pistachio Cake Recipe Variations

Oh, this lemon and pistachio cake recipe is absolutely amazing and has endless variations. You can incorporate so many different flavours and ingredients. Here are just a few options:

  • Citrus – you can easily swap the lemons for oranges, limes, clementine, blood orange or even grapefruit zest.
  • Ground pistachios – any type of nuts can work in this recipe (ground almonds, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts).
  • Additional ingredients – what goes well with the lemons? Of course, poppy seeds! Add a couple of tablespoons of these seeds into the batter and mix it.
  • Make it fruitier – add strawberries, raspberries or blueberries into the lemon cake batter.

If you’re looking for more lemon inspired recipes, try these ones:

Lemon Crinkle Cookies
Chocolate Orange Tart with Chocolate Ganache
Blood Orange Upside Down Cake

Lemon and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Curd



200g room temperature butter
100g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 lemons (zest and juice)
1 lime (juice)
200g plain flour
50g ground pistachios
1 teaspoon baking powder
Pinch of salt

Lemon Curd:
3 lemons
100g caster sugar
100g butter
3 eggs
30g cornstarch

Cream Cheese Layer:
200ml double cream
1 teaspoon cream stabiliser
200g cream cheese
2 tablespoons icing sugar
1 lime (zest)


Recipe video

Prepare the cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin with a baking sheet.
  2. Beat the butter with caster sugar in a large bowl using an electric mixer for a couple of minutes, until you have a pale and smooth mix.
  3. Add in the eggs and lemon zest and whisk until combined and smooth.
  4. In a separate small bowl sift the flour, ground pistachios, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients together with the lemon and lime juice into the wet ingredients. Stir until combined.
  6. Add the batter into your prepared loaf tin.
  7. Bake the cake in the oven for 40-50 minutes.

Prepare the lemon curd:

  1. Squeeze the juice from the lemons into a saucepan.
  2. Add the sugar and butter and heat the mixture until the butter melts.
  3. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl.
  4. Take the juice mixture off the heat and very slowly, always whisking, pour this mixture into the eggs (this way you’ll avoid scrambled eggs).
  5. Pour the curd back into a saucepan and add the cornstarch.
  6. Heat the curd for 5-10 minutes always mixing it until it starts firming-up.
  7. Take it from the heat and pour the curd through a sieve to remove any lumps.
  8. Let it cool completely.

Prepare the frosting:

  1. Gently whisk the double cream. Add the cream stabiliser after the cream gets firmer.
  2. Add the cream cheese, icing sugar and lime zest.
  3. Whisk everything together until your frosting is firm.

Assemble the cake:

  1. After the cake cools down pierce some holes in the cake (2-3cm distance from each other).
  2. Add the lemon curd into a piping bag with a round pipping nozzle.
  3. Pipe the curd into the cake through the holes.
  4. Add the frosting into a new piping bag with the star nozzle and pipe the cream on top of the cake.
  5. Serve the cake with a small drizzle of the lemon curd on top.  
Lemon and Pistachio Cake with Lemon Curd