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For the sponge…

190g unsalted butter, softened plus extra for greasing the tin.
190g plain flour, plus extra for dusting.
25ml soured cream
¼ teaspoon of salt
100g shelled pistachio nuts (chopped)
190g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon of baking powder
10-12 cardamom pods (split, seeds removed and crushed fairly finely, with a pestle and mortar if possible)

For the glaze…

120g icing sugar
40g of ground/chopped shelled pistachios.
2 tablespoons of water.



1. Preheat the oven to 170°C (Gas mark 3). Grease your loaf tin with butter, then dust it with flour. Set to one side until later..

2. Cream the butter, cardamom and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy. You can soften the butter in the microwave if you have forgotten to let your butter come up to room temp.. Heat for 15 seconds, make sure it doesn’t melt.

3. Break the eggs in one at a time. After each egg, mix well and scrape the sides of the bowl to ensure the ingredients are properly mixed.

4. Mix in chopped pistachio nuts for the sponge ensuring a fairly even distribution.If you can’t use a knife to chop the nuts, put them in a sandwich bag and lightly hit them with a rolling pin or glass until you get small chunks.

5. Add the soured cream and vanilla essence and mix.

6. Sift in the remaining dry ingredients (salt, baking powder and flour). Add the flour in two batches, taking care not to over mix it. Combine it lightly until all the flour is mixed into the cake. If you over mix the gluten will overdevelop and your cake texture will be chewy.

7. Pour your cake mix into the loaf tin. Bake for 50-60 minutes at 170 degrees C. To check it’s cooked, press a finger lightly but firmly onto the sponge, it should spring back into place. If you skewer the middle of the cake it should come out clean.

8. Allow the loaf to cool in the tin a little before turning it out onto a wire rack to let it cool completely.

9. Once the cake is cool, mix icing sugar and water in a bowl, it should look like a runny paste. If it seems too thick, add a little bit more water (a drop at a time). Stir in most of the pistachios, keeping some aside for sprinkling over the top. Pour the glaze over the loaf and sprinkle with the remaining pistachios.

10. Enjoy with a cup of tea 🙂


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