toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, I’m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce| A Brown Table

I have some exciting news to share with you! If you’ve ever wanted to see me behind the scenes and see what goes on in my kitchen then you must watch this beautifully shot KQED/PBS documentary on my work. The documentary came out last week and was produced by Jessica Jones who is an extremely talented and gifted artist (you must check out all the other wonderful videos she’s produced!). We bought spices from one of my favorite new spots, Oaktown Spice Shop where I got to hang out with the owner John Beaver who was super kind to let us use his space. Vanilla beans from Madagascar to Tahitian, large jars of spices in a gorgeous space that could make you swoon with envy. The shelves, the hutches, the jars, I could go on and on. Some of those spices made it to the pie (that’s in the video) and others I plan on using soon. 

Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland CA |A Brown Table

Oaktown Spice Shop, Oakland CA |A Brown Table

Most of the time when it comes to gluten-free baking, I tend to plan for disasters. You never how things will turn out or taste, the lack of gluten makes for a high-risk cake venture that could easily end up in the garbage. But thankfully with this new Baking flour mix from Bob’s Red Mill, it’s now much easier! Every trial with this cake recipe worked perfectly and the cake crumb is delicate and delicious. It takes the guess work out of gluten-free baking and it’s now become a must when I have to bake gluten-free cakes for my friends who are sensitive and have dietary issues.

This cake is a tea cake, if anything. And, if you like the scent of freshly toasted pistachios then you will love this cake. This baked cake once inverted has an almost speckled appearance with the toasted pistachios nestled in the cake. A little blood orange sauce on the side and you’re good to go! Enjoy!

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips that you might find useful when preparing this cake,

  • Use fresh blood oranges when making the sauce, skip the bottled juice!
  • Use unsalted pistachios.
  • If you like, you can serve the orange sauce on the side with the cake versus pouring it over the cake.

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce|A Brown Table

toasted pistachio cake with blood orange sauce (gluten-free)

yields: one 9 inch cake


1 1/2 cups (223.25 gm) Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free 1:1 baking flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

4 large eggs, cold

1 cup (223.25gm) superfine baking sugar

2 sticks (226gm) unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature + extra butter to grease the pan

1 teaspoon pistachio extract

1/2 cup pistachios, shelled and chopped

1 1/2 cups blood orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained

2 teaspoons sugar

1 teaspoon cornstarch powder

1. Place a wire rack at midlevel in the oven and preheat to 350F. Line and grease a 9 inch baking pan with a little butter. 

2. Dry whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl and keep aside until ready to use. 

3. Beat the eggs and 1 cup of sugar using the paddle attachment in the bowl of a standmixer at medium speed for 4 to 5 minutes until the eggs are pale yellow. Add the butter and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes on medium speed until completely creamed. Add the pistachio extract and whisk for 10 seconds. Then stop the mixer and add half of the whisked dry ingredients. Mix on low speed until just combined, add the remaining dry ingredients and whisk until combined. 

4. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios over the greased baking pan. Pour the cake batter over the pistachios in the pan and bake the cake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes rotating halfway through the baking process, until the center of the cake is firm to touch and springs back (or until a skewer comes out clean from the center of the cake when inserted). Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to cool completely on a wire rack before releasing it from the pan. Flip the cake over a serving dish/cake stand. 

5. While the cake is cooling on the wire rack, prepare the blood orange sauce. Whisk the orange juice, sugar and cornstarch in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Heat on medium-high heat until it begins to thicken like a custard, this should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from stove and allow to cool completely before serving. Drizzle the cake with the blood orange sauce before serving or serve the sauce on the side. 

Disclaimer: Thank you to Bob’s Red Mill for sponsoring this post. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

7 Responses

  1. Nik, this recipe looks so delish! Omg, and the documentary, WOW, it’s incredible and so inspiring. I’d love to get some first hand tips from you on food photography someday. Keep up being amazing!

  2. The video was so interesting, so are all of your shots carried out on a timer? It’s good to see that you actually work in quite a light environment, but your pictures are so dark and atmospheric. Thank you for this insight.

  3. That documentary was a-mazing!!! So so wonderful seeing a little glimpse into your creative process. And this cake is, as always, totally amazing. Yay, Nik!

  4. Love this…I’m going to make this cake my New Year’s cake from now on so that I don’t just eat my piece to find the lucky piece but actually enjoy it too! Happy feasting.

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