Pistachio Pound Cake Recipe

Cinq-Cinquièmes à la Pistache

Le quatre-quarts (“four fourths”) can be described as the French pound cake. It has earned its name because the batter is made with the same weight of eggs, butter, sugar, and flour, thus amounting to a fourth of the cake each: you weigh the eggs first, and measure the rest of the ingredients accordingly. There’s baking powder, too, which throws the proportions off by a feather, but thou shalt resist the temptation to nit-pick.

It is a fluffy-crumbed, buttery cake that takes kindly to the company of a cup of tea: late afternoon is the traditional time to serve it, but it won’t be out of place for breakfast — my mornings were consistently fueled by quatre-quart breton for a few of my teenage years — or dessert, to accessorize a chilled strawberry soup or perhaps a chocolate cream.

The basic quatre-quarts is an easygoing fellow that can be adapted and tweaked to your heart’s content. A bit of lemon juice in the batter and a brush of lemon glaze on top is a classic, and quite pleasing, variation, but I decided to make a pistachio version this time, having recently enjoyed a similar bakery-bought cake. I took the equal proportion idea a step further, adding the same weight of pistachios as that of the other ingredients, and this is why I named it a cinq-cinquièmes.

Pistachio Pound Cake

As you will notice on the picture above, I didn’t bake the cake in any old pan, but rather took the opportunity to finally use my Baker’s Edge pan, which its inventor sent to me a little while ago. It is a sturdy nonstick pan with a maze-like pattern, designed to optimize the crust-to-center ratio. I love the idea — I am all for optimized ratios — and I was very pleased with this first use. The shape makes for a more even heat distribution than conventional pans, so the batter bakes faster, which is great if you have an urgent need for fresh-from-the-oven cake — just remember to shorten the baking time of your recipe. The inside walls make it tricky to unmold the finished cake all in one piece (it was conceived with bars and brownies in mind) but it is a fun, quirky object that looks attractive enough to be used as a serving vessel. Perhaps not when your great-great-aunt comes to tea, but your friends who live in that lightbulb factory loft will no doubt love it.

The company behind the Baker’s Edge pan is a three-person operation, founded by one Matthew Griffin. I have exchanged a few emails with him, and he is the sort of passionate, relentless entrepreneur I am happy to support — a David in an industry of Goliaths. The company has some exciting developments in the works (including having the pan sold at modern art museum gift shops, industrial design and all), and I hope that these will allow the team to quit their proverbial dayjobs. (You can read more about Matt’s story here, and buy one of his pans here.)

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Pistachio Pound Cake Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

One 22-cm (9-inch) round cake

Pistachio Pound Cake Recipe


  • 3 eggs (about 170 grams or 6 ounces, weighed shell-on)
  • The same weight as the eggs in salted butter (about 3/4 cup), at room temperature -- add a good pinch of salt if you use unsalted butter
  • The same weight as the eggs in sugar (about 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons) -- I used unrefined brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • The same weight as the eggs in flour (about 1 1/3 cup)
  • The same weight as the eggs in unsalted pistachios (about 1 1/3 cup), toasted and chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Grease a 22-centimeter (9-inch) round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper (I used an ungreased Baker's Edge pan).
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor, and process until creamy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract and mix again.
  3. In a medium mixing-bowl, combine the flour, pistachios, and baking powder. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and process until just combined -- the batter will be thick.
  4. Pour the batter into the pan, level the surface with a spatula, and bake for 25 minutes (just 18 for the Baker's Edge pan), until the top of the cake springs back to the touch, and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool completely before serving.
  • Wow, the pans are great! I wonder what will we be cooking with in the next 10 years? :)

  • Génial ce Cinq/Cinquième… A la suite d’une visite chez Detou, j’ai pistache et âte de pisatche dont je ne sais que faire! Voilà la solution!!!

  • Odd looking yet stylish pan! well done for reinventing a classic.

  • I have to admit a Baker’s Edge pan is the perfect choice, I wouldn’t have thought of it but as usual you thought of everything ;)


  • That is quite an interesting pan you are using…I’d like mine with fresh fruit on top :)

  • K

    The pan is incredible!!!

  • the pan is way cool….but must be quite a trick to line it with parchment!

  • Mmmm. This looks delicious. I hope that’s a fairly non-stick pan. Ok, I really have to go and eat some breakfast before I try to eat the monitor! Brooke

  • The cake looks amazing! And that pan is very cool, I’ve seen it at several blogs now. If they come to Sweden, I’d be happy to buy one – inventors? Lookie here! :)

  • Cherie,

    Lining the pan isn’t that big a challenge, I think. Just cut strips of parchment to lay like lasagne sheets on the bottom. no need to go twisting and turning along with the pan. Just an idea. =)

    I’ve also just taken to ask the inventors about applying the design to silicone ware. That would ease the “sticking” issue.

  • Gagatka – Perhaps a robot-pan in which you just place all the ingredients and it measures, mixes, and bakes them for you?

    Adèle – You could definitely add a tablespoon of pistachio paste to the cake, to enhance the flavor.

    Cherie, Brooke, and Kayenne – The pan is cast aluminum with a nonstick coating that worked very well: no need to grease or line the pan with parchment paper.

  • Very beautiful ! The pan is amazing !

  • Looks great! I’ve been wondering about this pan. Thanks for the review.

  • That is a very interesting pan, and what a wonderful cake. Yum…it’s almost 4 p.m., maybe it’s tea time!

  • Crust holds a similar place in my heart that muffin tops hold in others; nothing is better than a corner brownie. It is for that reason that I’m going to buy one of these this instant!

  • My mom makes the best traditional, I guess you’d call it, pound cake I’ve ever eaten. It was my grandmother’s recipe.

    And the crust is the best part! Gotta get one of those pans. I wonder what my mom would think if I gave her one!

  • Hannah

    Forget the pan, where does that gorgeous fork come from?!

    (The cake looks delicious, by the way.)

  • I saw that your site is mentioned in the Belgian foodie-magazine ‘Ambiance’! Congratulations!!

  • Amazing pan! I love the concept!

  • Joan

    Clotilde…I’ve loved reading this piece from your imagination..especially..

  • That pan is crazy…I want one! Anything that ups that all-important ratio of more crust-to-cake works for me too.

  • That is the most ingenious pan, the best of both worlds, crust and center. I’m going to amazon this second to find one. The cake sounds great too, the pistachios give it a wonderful color.

  • Oh my gosh, I have to get this pan! What a concept, I love it! Looks delicious!

  • I like the pistachio idea. I have to agree that the pan is really ingenius. A little bit of crust and center in every bite…wonderful!

  • Wow, I really want to indulge my inner “white trash” self and pack one of those pans full of Rice Krispy treats. They would cut into the perfect sized squares if made in the Baker’s Edge.

  • I like the idea of a better crust ratio (I can think of many cakes where the crunchy crust is a must), and a pistachio pound cake sounds delicious, too. Thanks, Clotilde!

  • Monica

    The pan also looks useful for those of us in higher altitudes, where baked goods sometimes burn on the outside before they’re done in the middle. There’s less “middle” in this pan. I may have to get one.

    I love the cake recipe, too, of course!

  • Gustad Mody

    looks like a mouse’s maze pan

  • Jennifer

    A conversation piece if I ever saw one. Great review and recipe, Clotilde. Your website is always a joy to read.

  • Roberta

    I don’t understand this pan… How does the cake come out of the pan? With the zig zag pattern how do you serve ot present that cake? Would it be easier to just use 2 loaf pans?

  • Michelle

    I jsut made the cake myself, doubled the recipe to make on to freeze for emergencies. This cake is great! We ate it for dessert, shared with friends and had a but for breakfast with cherry compote. YUM! I believe I will be giving several at Christmastime.

  • The pan, the pan, the cake, the pan! Good job!

  • Oh that sounds lovely, i am going to have to make it next time i cater for a charity event.

  • Hannah

    Oh, pound cake for breakfast. What a treat. I remember eating a toasted slice covered with ripe peaches as a young girl growing up in the South (U.S.). Heaven on earth.

    The pistachio version sounds wonderful. I will try it next.

  • Hi, I finally got around to making this at the weekend, and I have to confess to being a little disappointed on taking my first bite fresh.
    However, I am now converted. It is now 5 days since I baked it and it is tasting fantastic, obviously one of those cakes that get’s better with age :-)
    Thanks for the recipe, I shall be making it again I’m sure.

    Kate x

  • Oh, I’m going to have to try this when my pan arrives! The link to Matt’s story doesn’t work so I found the right one and added it here as my URL.

  • Jaime Sue – Thanks for the updated link! I’ve corrected the post.

  • Laurel

    Anxious to get the pan ….raced right over and ordered one….can’t wait to try the recipie!!! Thanks so much for a wonderful blog!!

  • I love following your updates, and this is a certainly a creative recipe!

    Your comment about robot pans though, that is creative… but isn’t that what bread-maker appliances do!? :)

    Although, it would be nice of they could make other things. But that would also take the fun out of making the dough ourselves – which I love…

  • Elli

    Hello Clotilde, once more this cake of yours got me some good reviews at a friends party.
    I made some tweaks to it: I used 4 eggs (200 gms), with 100gm whole wheat flour and 100 gm blanched almond flour. And instead of equal weight in chopped pistachios, I added 60 gms pistachio paste. cooking time had to be increased to 45 minutes due to the larger size. Everything turned out well, and there was not a crumb left once the cake was served! :-)

    • Lovely to hear, Elli, thanks for reporting back and sharing your version!

  • This looks like a perfect snack. I always associate pistachios with my childhood. Ever since I can remember my favorite ice cream flavor is and has been pistachio.

  • Punky Brewster

    Un délice ! J’ai remplacé 70 g du beurre par de la pâte de pistache Jean Hervé (en plus des pistaches entières torréfiées concassées), et je n’ai mis que 125 g de sucre comme dans tous les quatre-quarts parce que je trouve que ça suffit bien. C’était vraiment super bon, le meilleur dessert parmi les autres de la table de Noël où je l’ai apporté, merci Clotilde :-)
    A noter que dans mon four, j’ai laissé cuire le double de temps quand même !

    • Merci Audrey pour ce retour ! Quelle taille de moule as-tu utilisée ?

      • Punky Brewster

        Mon moule à cake longueur 24 cm hauteur 6 cm

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