Spiced Carrot, Pistachio + Almond Cake


It’s 2015, you guys! I hope everyone’s year is off to a great start.

You know how sometimes when you stop doing something it becomes harder to start up again? You lose momentum. Like with new years resolutions, you start off exercising everyday, or flossing, and then you stop and you can’t imagine starting again. Sometimes it is like that with blogging. I took a little break for the holidays and I am now having to throw myself back into this. Not because I haven’t been cooking and wanting to tell you about (I have! I do!), but because it has been a while and so I now need to squeeze it back into my life. Squeeze it into the time slot that has been filled with things like bad tv and good books.

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Anyway, here I am, back on the internet. Excited to see all of you.

The internet is full of cleanses right now. Everywhere you look: juices, poached fish, and freekeh. It’s all served with a side of totally objectionable language like “clean eating” and “real food”, but that is perhaps a post for a different day. Today I am here to talk about cake.


This glorious cake is from a favorite cookbook of 2014, Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. Desserts are definitely not the focus of the book, but this one sounded appealing. It’s accidentally gluten free, relying on ground almonds and coconut in place of grains. It is easy to throw together, you only need a bowl and a spoon. Well, I guess you also need a scale. But buying a kitchen scale should be your new years resolution anyway. The cake is a real beaut. Moist and nutty with the comforting flavors of carrot cake thrown in for good measure. It’s the sort of thing I want to be eating in January.




[Totally unrelated question/request: Any of you Detroit experts? I’m going to be there for a couple of days in February and would love some advice on where to eat and what to do. You guys always have the best suggestions….]


In the book, Gahyour serves this with some slightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with rose water. I recommend you do this, too. But with or without the cream, it is a delicious cake. My only adjustment would be to add some salt. I added a light sprinkling of a flaky sea salt to the serving plate, you could also add a pinch of salt to the batter.

Spiced Carrot, Pistachio + Almond Cake (recipe from Persiana by Sabrina Gahyour)

  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g (7 oz) superfine sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200g (7 oz) ground almonds
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) desiccated coconut (dried, unsweetened)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 150g (5 1/2 oz)unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large carrots, coarsely grated
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • confectioner’s sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas mark 3 (320° F). Line a 23cm (9-inch) springform cake pan with enough parchment paper to cover the base and sides. The oils from the nuts and butter in the batter prevent the cake from sticking, so no need to butter or oil paper or pan. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Add the ground almonds, coconut and cinnamon and stir, then add the butter and mix the ingredients thoroughly. Add the grated carrots and pistachios and mix again until the ingredients are evenly blended, then gently pour or spoon the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake for 1 hour, or until it feels firm to touch and a crust forms on top. Check at 40 minutes to ensure it is cooking evenly. Once cooked, allow to cool in the pan before serving.

The cake keeps well for a few days. Serves 10ish. (Because this cake is mostly nuts and coconut, it is a bit heavy—you’ll want to serve small slices.)


63 comments to “Spiced Carrot, Pistachio + Almond Cake”

  1. We made this and it was super nice. We agree that whipped heavy cream with a.couple drops of rose water is essential. Thanks Tim for sharing.

  2. Wow, yum! Carrot cakes can be a bit same-same, thanks for sharing something different! Super glad you’re back …

  3. i could imagine this cake being super good with candied ginger added to the batter! yummy.

  4. making this now–just opened the oven for a peek, and man does it smell good in there! Shiv helped mix everything & we are taking it to his friend’s house for a play date.

    on another note, I finally got around to making that English muffin loaf of yours–holy cow. thank God I took it into work that morning or I would have eaten the entire two loaves myself.

  5. Hi Tim!

    I am so happy you are coming to visit our great city! Selden Standard and Torino are two unforgettable places to visit. The menu, chefs and staff at both restaurants are fantastic!

    If you have time and are here for a Saturday morning/afternoon, try to pop into the winter market at Eastern Market. You can find a lot of delicious things to bring back in your suitcase. Grab a pizza from Supinos (near the market) and you will be very happy.

    Have fun!

  6. I’m probably the worst person to ask about anything in the US because I’ve never been there. But nevertheless I just wanted to say yes to having a hard time getting back into the blogging groove after a break, no to New Year’s resolutions (except for this kitchen scale thing. Precision scale: check!) and YES to this cake. Love it. And cleanses? Tsk, so bourgeois.

  7. Made this cake this afternoon for a dinner party and it was a big hit! I’m sort of loose paleo but didn’t tell anyone this was grain-free and no one suspected it was anything but delicious dessert! I did use honey instead of sugar (only bc I recently moved and don’t have a fully stocked kitchen yet) and the honey does bring its own slight taste but it complements the other flavors nicely. Will definitely make again!

  8. Schneiderluvsdoof says:

    February 7th, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    So pretty and looks like pacman.

  9. I am so glad this cake was posted. I make this all the time and it has become one of my favourites. I prefer to serve it with greek yoghurt with a splash of orange blossom water.

  10. Planning to make this for my Passover seder! Don’t have a springform pan though – how essential is it that I use one?

  11. Hi Sarah- I haven’t tried, but I am sure you’ll be fine. Line the whole pan with parchment. You’ll need to let the cake cool completely in the pan before attempting to remove the cake.

  12. Michaela says:

    May 20th, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    THIS CAKE IS BEAUTIFUL! I made this cake dairy and refined sugar free/paleo. Replacing the butter with coconut oil and the sugar with coconut sugar and it was BEAUTIFUL!!! The coconut sugar had a more caramel taste to it and it all worked so beautifully together with the spices. One of my favourite go to recipes! It is sooo yum and can be made healthy!
    Im going to try making it today low fodmap, so using walnut meal instead of almond and add some pecans instead of pistashios. Let you know if it is as good. Might add a bit of nutmeg too!?

  13. I made this on the weekend for a dinner party and it was a big hit. I added a thin layer of lemon cream cheese frosting on top and a big pile of toasted coconut flakes and it looked gorgeous.
    6 of us managed to almost demolish the entire thing, not sure about the 10 serves. I guess that’s for people with self control.