This Vegan Pistachio Cake is naturally coloured with avocado, super moist and not too sweet. It is the perfect vegan tea cake or coffee cake.
What you can expect from this cake
This vegan cake is fluffy and has NO dense spots typical of nut-based cakes. It has the texture of friands, is perfect with your morning tea or coffee or as an easy vegan dessert.
This healthy pistachio cake recipe has a delicious and unique flavour profile! It has the nuttiness of pistachios, slight tang of lemon and beautiful green hue of avocados! The natural fat in the avocado makes the cake extra moist. With enough sweetener and lemon juice, the avocado flavour doesn't strongly come through.
Love vegan pistachio recipes but want something simplier? Check out my vegan pistachio and cranberry cookies.
Video: how to make this vegan pistachio cake
Ingredients to make this cake
This easy pistachio cake recipe has no weird ingredients, no food colouring and is packed with nuts and fruit (avocado)!
If you're allergic to pistachios, I'd recommend my lemon drizzle cake instead. Or if you would like a vegan lemon avocado cake, simply substitute the pistachios with almond flour by grams.
Incorporating a lot of fruit or vegetables (avocado) to a cake can make it dense. However, adding an acid such as lemon juice (apple cider vinegar for other cakes) balances it out making a softer cake. In saying that, I do not recommend substituting the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar in its entirety, as there's quite a lot of it!
If you don't like the lemon flavour, you replace it with plant-based milk, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (for texture) and almond extract (for flavour)
Steps to make the cake
I'm always a fan of easy cake recipes and this is no exception. To make the vegan lemon pistachio cake, simply add all dry ingredients (except the pistachios) to a bowl and mix.
Add the rest of the ingredients (pistachios, avocados and the wet ingredients) to a food processor and blitz until combined.
Combine the ingredients in your mixing bowl to form a very thick cake batter. As there's already so much natural moisture and oils in the avocado and pistachios, we don't need to add too much liquid!
As the batter is quite thick, you'll need to scoop (or slowly pouring) the mixture into your lined loaf tin.
Like all fruit and nut heavy cakes such as my vegan apple bread, this loaf takes time to bake. If the cake browns TOO quickly and the middle is still uncooked, cover the cake with an oven safe bowl or aluminium foil to force the oven to cook inside the cake.
The final cake will be brown on the outside but green inside!
When you take the cake out of the oven, it will deflate a little. This is completely fine and will not affect the end result of the cake!
Icing and decorating the cake
A simple sugar icing best suits this vegan pistachio cake. It is elegant, simple and makes the cake look like it's from a cafe! I made the icing using only powdered sugar and lemon juice. You can sub the juice for almond milk or other plant-based milk but the lemon juice really adds an extra element to the cake.
Alternatively, if you want a healthy lemon pistachio cake, you can top it with thick coconut yoghurt or whipped coconut cream.
Key tips for baking:
- Make sure your oven isn't too hot (many ovens are hotter than they say they are so I recommend getting an oven thermometer in the long term). There are lots of pistachios in this cake and nuts tend to burn easily in the oven. As mentioned above, if your cake is browning too quickly, simply cover the cake with a large oven-safe bowl or aluminium foil. Or you can lower the temperature of your oven.
- Taste test the batter before you bake it. I couldn't really taste the avocado in my final cake but if you can (and don't like it), simply add more lemon juice/zest.
- This cake can be made into vegan pistachio cupcakes. Your cupcakes won't need to be baked for as long (maybe around 25 mins). They also won't deflate as much when out of the oven.
- You can customise this cake to make a vegan pistachio and rose cake or vegan pistachio cardamom cake. Simply mix in a dash of rose water or cardamom spices to the cake batter and bake as is! You can also add rose water to the icing.
Vegan Pistachio Avocado Cake
Ingredients to blend
- 1 cup (170g) pistachios
- ~1 (250g) medium-sized avocado, flesh only (weighed after removing the skin and seed)
- ⅔ cup (165g) plant-based milk, such as almond, soy or coconut
- ⅓ cup (85g) light-tasting vegetable oil, such as sunflower or rapeseed
- ¼ cup (60g) lemon zest and juice
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, optional
- 1 cup (100g) powdered sugar
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tbsp vegan butter or margarine, optional, for a firmer frosting
To decorate (optional)
- 2 tbsp pistachios, chopped finely
- 1 tsp rose petals
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 20 cm (8 inch) or larger loaf tin with baking paper. The larger your tin, the shorter amount of time it'll take to bake the pistachio cake.
To make the pistachio cake:
- Add all dry ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix until combined and there are no lumps. Set aside.
- Add the pistachios to a food processor and blitz until it forms medium to fine crumbs. Add the avocado, milk, oil, lemon juice/zest and vanilla. Blitz until there are no more chunks of avocado. The mixture may be lumpy from the pistachios.
- Pour the pistachio mixture into the mixing bowl with the flour. Mix gently until combined. The batter will be quite thick.
- Pour or scoop the cake batter into your loaf tin.
- Bake the cake for 60-70 minutes OR until a skewer can be inserted into the middle and there is no wet batter on it.** If the cake is browning too quickly but is uncooked in the middle, cover the cake with an oven safe bowl or aluminium foil and bake until ready. The cake is very moist and there might be some crumbs on your skewer which is fine.
- Allow the cake to rest in the tin for at least 10 minutes. Remove it from the tin and allow it to cool on a wire rack. The cake might deflate which is fine.
To make the icing:
- Add all ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. Add more powdered sugar for a firmer frosting or more lemon juice for a runnier frosting
- When the cake has fully cooled, spoon the icing on top of the cake. Sprinkle with pistachios if desired.
- The loaf can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 day, in the fridge for 3 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.
Please leave a comment below if you made this recipe, have any questions or thoughts! Your comment will help other readers and Rainbow Nourishments.