Pistachio-Olive Oil Cake Recipe

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This recipe is an adaptation of Marcella Hazan's olive oil cake from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking. It originated in the Trattoria Dalla Rosa in San Giorgio, Italy, a family heirloom that has been in the Dalla Rosa family for generations. The cake leans toward the savory side, flavored with rich and spicy olive oil and dry Marsala wine. The list of ingredients is brief but bountiful in flavor. I've added finely chopped pistachios and orange zest to this already wonderful cake for a personal touch.

For easier prep, pulse pistachios in food processor until finely chopped. The cake can also be baked in a 2 1/4-quart tube pan and in mini-loaf pans as seen in photo.

Recipe Details

Pistachio-Olive Oil Cake Recipe

Active 20 mins
Total 90 mins
Serves 6 to 8 servings


  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup dry Marsala wine
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup shelled, dry-roasted, salted pistachios, finely chopped (see Notes)


  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with nonstick baking spray.

  2. Beat sugar and eggs on medium speed until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Add olive oil, Marsala, milk, and orange zest and beat until thoroughly combined, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in bowl. Lower speed to low and add flour mixture. Beat just until combined, about 1 minute, scraping the sides and bottom of bowl as necessary. Add pistachios and beat just until combined, about 30 seconds.

  4. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until cake tester inserted in middle of cake comes out clean, about 35 to 45 minutes.

  5. Cool cake in pan about 10 minutes, then turn over on rack and cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve.

Special equipment

9- by 5-inch loaf pan