Monday, 24 August 2020

Pear, Pistachio, and Rose Cake

This is Nigella Lawson's recipe which lives up to every expectation of what a cake should be. The flavours are perfectly balanced, fresh, and with just a hint of rosewater. The topping of apricot jam, lemon juice and rosewater is delicious. I haven't made a cake apart from those in my normal repertoire for a little while, so it was nice to try something new. I'm never sure how successful a cake with just ground almonds and no flour ingredients will be, but the additional ground pistachios provide the perfect consistency. This cake is a cinch to make, the only challenge is to choose pears which are at the edible stage but not too ripe. I used day old pears from the supermarket and they were perfect, and they don't need to be peeled. How sensible is that. With the start of Spring surprising us very soon, this seemed the perfect cake to make.

I thought I would add some edible rose petals to decorate the cake, and on my morning walks with our dog Locky, I walk past a lovely rose garden in the front yard of a duplex property. I often stop to smell the roses. They are always in flower. I took the plunge one morning, knocked on the occupant's front door and asked her if I could buy one of her roses to decorate a cake She wouldn't hear of my buying it from her and said when I was walking past on the day I was decorating the cake to just take one of the roses. So I did, but I took one which had been in bloom for while. I still felt a little guilty about it but the rose was about to be put to very good use. However I have learned from this, that rose petals need to be a bit smaller to look good on a cake. Anyway I had fun with it, and the Mahjong Ladies loved the idea, and the cake. It is nice to decorate a special cake with nuts and edible flower petals for a special occasion, don't you think? This is the pink rose bush in the front that the petals came from. One day I will take the plunge and plant some roses, even though growing them in the tropics requires careful selection and care.


Makes 8-12 slices

  • vegetable oil (for greasing) 
  • 200 grams caster sugar
  • 100g/ 3/4 cup pistachios
  • 450 grams (approx. 3) pears - not too ripe (cored and cut into chunks, skin still on)
  • 200 grams ground almonds
  • 1 1//2 teaspoons baking powder (gluten free if required)
  • 6 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater
  • 2 teaspoons apricot jam
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosewater
  • chopped pistachios
  • edible rose petals


Use a 1 x 20 cm / 9 inch springform cake tin

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180 deg. C/160 deg. C Fan/350 deg. F. Grease the sides and line the base of your springform cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Put the sugar and 100g/ 3/4 cup of pistachios into a food processor and blitz until the pistachios are finely ground, with a few nubbly bits, too.
  3. Add the remaining cake ingredients and blitz until everything is smoothly combined and the pears have been pureed into the batter. Remove the blade, scrape down the mixture and use the spatula to help ease every bit of batter into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, though take a look at 35 and if the cake looks like it's browning too fast, loosely cover with foil. When the cake is ready, it will be brown on top, beginning to come away at the edges and a cake tester will come out with just a few damp crumbs sticking to it.
  5. Sit the cake on a wire rack and leave to cool completely in the tin; like all flourless cakes, it will sink a little (not too much though). When the cake is completely cold, unclip, remove the base and transfer to a cake stand or plate.
  6. Mix the jam, lemon juice and rosewater together in a cup, then brush this glaze over the surface of the cake, removing any small blobs of apricot if there are any. I didn't really worry about this too much though. Scatter with finely chopped pistachios and strew with rose petals, then sprinkle a few more pistachio crumbs on top.
I think it's time for cake. 

 Best wishes



  1. Such a romantic and gorgeous cake! I am a fan of the combo of pear and chocolate. And my..lots of pistachios is definitely a winner in my book :-)

    1. Thanks Angie, pears, roses chocolate and pistachios, can't go wrong.

  2. i love blinging up a cake! i have dried rose petals in my pantry so i use those, along with golden glitter etc. i used to make rose petal sorbet with our neighbour's roses (with permission). it went the most beautiful pink colour!

    1. Thanks Sherry, I have used the dried rose petals before but wasn't all that thrilled with the result, some are probably better than others. I must get some of that golden glitter though, very effective at nighttime I imagine.

  3. I like that the pears don't need peeling. And how kind of your neighbour to let you take a rose for the styling.

    1. Thanks Tandy, there's not much work involved at all with this cake which is great. Perhaps my neighbour enjoyed being complimented on her roses as well.

  4. Pauline that cake looks amazing. No roses down here though as they have all been pruned 😉

    1. Thanks for your comment Chel. That is really interesting about the roses, but you have some serious rose growers in Toowoomba who know what they are doing. They will be blooming beautifully in Spring for the Carnival of Flowers for sure.Take care, Pauline

  5. This looks terrific! Wonderful decorating job. And such a delish looking recipe. Thanks.

    1. Thanks so much KR you are very kind. The cake is delicious, but I am still aiming for improvement with my decorating skills:) Keep healthy, Pauline

  6. Pauline, I wrote a post about adding tabs to the blog homepage. I hope I explained it clearly. Let me know if you have any questions. :)

    1. Nil thank you so much. I know how short of time you are with your busy life. That can be my challenge this week. I'll whizz over and read it this afternoon. All of your blog posts only come to my reading list so I will go in there Thanks so much again.

  7. What fabulous ingredients in this cake- pear, rose and pistachio.. Looks and sounds amazing.

    1. Thanks so much Rahul, it was delicious cake combination and not difficult at all to make.


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