vegan lemon-pistachio olive oil cake with raspberry-lemon coulis


To compliment all of the Middle Eastern flavors we enjoyed during Christmas dinner, I wanted to keep dessert in the same flavor spectrum: enter pistachios, lemon and olive oil, all in one cake. Olive oil cake is definitely one of my favorite, versatile desserts. While some people have wrinkled their noses at using olive oil in anything non-savory, I'm here to tell you that it really does change the quality of your cake into something more elegant. The flavors get a little deeper but you will not by any means feel like you're eating a salad.

Bonus, this cake could not be easier. The cake can be made up to a day in advance and have one less thing to worry about in the kitchen.*

For this recipe, you'll need:

For the cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup high quality maple syrup
3/4 cup of water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup apricot jam (or whatever flavor you prefer)
1/3 cup unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
2 tablespoons confectioners sugar, optional

For the coulis

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 6-inch cake pans by lightly greasing and lining the bottoms with parchment paper. In a large bowl, whisk together your flours, baking powder and salt. In a smaller bowl, whisk together your olive oil, maple syrup, water, lemon juice, zest and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and fold together without over-mixing.

Transfer to your prepared cake pans and bake for about 30 minutes, rotating halfway through. You'll know your cake is done when a toothpick comes out clean and the batter has begun to pull away from the sides of the pans. Move to cool on a wire rack (still in the pans). After about twenty minutes, flip out of the pans onto the rack until completely cooled.

*At this stage is when you are able to refrigerate your cakes, well wrapped in plastic.

When you're getting ready to serve your cake, it's time to prepare your coulis. Coulis is really just a fancy word for a puréed fruit sauce, by the way. In a small saucepan, add your raspberries, lemon juice, lemon zest and sugar. Cook down over medium heat until the berries are broken down and glossy. Taste for sweetness. It should definitely have a pop of lemon without being too sour. Add more sugar or lemon to taste. From here you can either purée your sauce using a handheld blender or strain it to remove the seeds. Traditionally, coulis is strained but I'm one of those weirdos who likes their raspberry stuff seeded.

Assemble your cake by using your jam and a sprinkling of pistachios between the two layers. Slice and drizzle (or smear) with your sauce, a final sprinkling of pistachios and a festive dusting of powdered sugar. So simple, so good.

Craving all kinds of cake?

Try this other take on olive oil cake: vegan chocolate-chocolate cake.
Cake-for-breakfast person? Aren't we all. Try this vegan cinnamon peach coffee cake.
Love lemon? Try this Meyer lemon loaf cake with ginger glaze.