Citrus pistachio spice cake with cranberry compote

Recipe for Citrus pistachio spice cake with lemon sugar glaze, cranberry compote and homemade whipped cream. Full of cinnamon and cardamom, it almost tastes like lebkuchen. Perfect holiday treat, can be made ahead. |

The perfect spicy sweet cake! Recipe makes 8 normal servings; cake can also be cut into 16 bite-sized pieces.




  • 200g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 140g (2/3 cup) sugar
  • 120g (2/3 cup, packed) dark muscovado brown sugar (I use Billington’s)
  • 120ml (1/2 cup) sunflower oil (or other neutral vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 115g (1/2 cup) sour cream
  • freshly grated zest from 2 large organic oranges
  • freshly grated zest from 1 medium-large organic lemon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 80ml (1/3 cup) apple cider
  • 50g (1/3 cup) unsalted shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Lemon sugar glaze

  • 160g (1 cup) powdered sugar
  • freshly grated zest from 1 medium-large organic lemon
  • juice from 1 large lemon (yield about 40ml | 3 TBSPs)
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt

Serve with


  1. First make the cake: Preheat oven to 177°C (350°F). Grease bottom and sides of a 20-cm | 8-inch square pan with oil. Line bottom with parchment paper and brush paper with more oil. Set aside.
  2. Mix flour, cinnamon, salt, cardamom, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside. Stir sugar, brown sugar, and oil in another medium bowl until combined. Add eggs one at a time and whisk until combined and creamy. Whisk in sour cream, orange zest, lemon zest, and vanilla.
  3. Whisk dry ingredients into wet in 3 additions, alternating with cider in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients (flour – cider – flour – cider – flour). Once well combined, fold in chopped pistachios.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake cake for 50-60 minutes, rotate pan once halfway through. Bake until until a tester inserted into center of cake comes out clean.
  5. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan for 15 minutes. Run a thin knife around inside of pan to release cake; turn out cake onto rack. Peel off parchment paper, then flip cake and let cool for 20 minutes.
  6. As the cake cools, make the glaze: Whisk powdered sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt in a small bowl. The glaze will be thick, but still smooth. Start by pouring some glaze in the center of the cake, then spread glaze all over warm cake. Let it drip down the sides.
  7. Let cake stand until glaze becomes dry, about 1 hour. The glaze will be smooth to the touch and will crack if you pat it.
  8. At this point you can serve the cake or save it for later. Serve it with a side of cranberry compote and whipped cream on top.
  9. Baked and glazed cake will keep for up to two days, kept in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap, stored at room temperature.


HOW TO: Whipped cream Combine 240ml (1 cup) whipping cream and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar in a large bowl or bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk cream on low-medium speed until medium peaks form. Transfer to a medium bowl, keep cream covered with plastic wrap in the fridge until serving time. It holds well for a few hours. Adapted from Bon Appetit.