Lime and pistachio loaf cake

This cake combines the earthy flavour of pistachios with the zingy vibrancy of fresh lime to make a delicious lime and pistachio loaf cake that is light, refreshing and perfectly balanced.

Lime and pistachios really are a match made in heaven. The sponge is made with fresh lime zest, lime juice and chopped pistachios. As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, a lime juice and sugar syrup is drizzled all over which sinks into the sponge and gives it a lovely moist texture. The cake is finished with a sweet and tangy cream cheese frosting, which pairs beautifully with the flavours in the cake. The final touch is a scatter of crushed pistachios.

Ingredients (makes a 2lb loaf / 8 slices)

For the cake:
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
200g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g self-raising flour
3 large eggs
1 lime
50g unsalted pistachios

For the lime drizzle:
1 lime
50g golden caster sugar

For the cream cheese frosting:
75g icing sugar
35g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
1/2 tablespoon milk
30g full-fat cream cheese, cold from the fridge
10g unsalted pistachios

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350 F. Line a 2lb loaf tin with grease proof paper.

Start with the cake. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy. Add the vanilla extract and beat in the eggs one at a time, along with a tablespoon of flour each time to stop the mixture from curdling. Add the remaining flour, and the zest and juice of the lime, and fold the mixture together. Chop the pistachios into small pieces and add to the mixture. Fold everything together one last time.

Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and spread it out into an even layer. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until the cake has browned on top and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove and set aside to cool for 5 minutes in the baking tin.

Whilst the cake cools, make the lime drizzle. In a small saucepan combine the caster sugar and juice of the lime. Heat gently on a low temperature until the sugar dissolves. Prick the cake all over with a toothpick or skewer, and slowly spoon the lime drizzle over the cake allowing time for the syrup to sink in. Leave the cake to cool completely.

Now make the cream cheese frosting. Beat the butter, icing sugar and milk with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the cream cheese and fold until just combined. Be careful not to over do it, as it can quickly become runny.

To decorate, remove the cake from the baking tin and place on a serving plate. Spread the cream cheese frosting all over the top of the cake. Whiz the pistachio nuts in a blender or crush using a rolling pin and scatter on top.

Slice into 8 and serve. The cake can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 3 days.