Rachel Khoo


Posted by Rachel

February 24th, 2015

Recipe: Pistachio and pomegranate cake

Rachel Khoo Pomegranate cake

Image by David Loftus

Turkish pastries, such as the intensely sweet and extremely sticky baklava, were nothing new to me; however, the pomegranate juice stands that cropped up on Istanbul’s street corners were a delightful discovery. The dark red juice makes for a refreshing drink, and although it’s a nightmare if you get it on your clothes, it’s perfect for colouring icing the natural way.


Preparation time: 20 minutes

Baking time: 50 minutes

For the sponge

2 x 150g pots of natural yoghurt
100g pistachio kernels
1 x 150g yoghurt pot of caster sugar
1 x 150g yoghurt pot of sunflower oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 x 150g yoghurt pots of plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp sea salt

For the yoghurt icing

½ a pomegranate
250g icing sugar
50g natural yoghurt


A 20cm springform tin, buttered and floured


Preheat the oven to 160°C (fan). Empty the contents of the yoghurt pots into a bowl, then wash and dry them ready to measure the remaining ingredients. You’ll need one for wet ingredients and one for dry ingredients. Whizz the pistachios to a fine powder in a blender.

Put the caster sugar and oil in a large bowl or standing mixer bowl, then mix together with an electric hand whisk or the whisk attachment for 2 minutes, until the sugar has dissolved. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract. Fold in the yoghurt, then add the flour, baking powder, salt and ground pistachios and gently fold them in.

Spoon the batter into the tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool.

When the cake is cool, place the pomegranate skin side up in your hand with your fingers spread out. Hold the pomegranate just inside a big bowl before hitting the back of the fruit with a wooden spoon. The seeds will fall through the gaps between your fingers.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then add the yoghurt and mix well to get a thick pouring consistency. Pour on top of the cooled cake, gently guiding it down the sides. Once the icing has stopped dripping, take the pomegranate juice and dot several drops along the top of the cake. Drag a skewer or toothpick in a figure-of-eight pattern through the drips of pomegranate, swirling it all around the cake.

Stick the pomegranate seeds to the side of the cake when the icing has stopped dripping. If it’s difficult to make them stick, chill the cake for 10 minutes in the fridge first.

Head over to my new project Khoollect for more delicious recipes you can create at home.

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25 thoughts on “Recipe: Pistachio and pomegranate cake

  1. Hi Rachel,

    This cake looks really amazing.
    I would love to bake it here in France but unfortunately I don’t know what caster sugar is in french. Can I use “sucre glace” instead?
    Thank you and greetings from Lille!

  2. Hi Rachel,
    I’ve watched you on the telly and really admired you and finally got around to trying one of your recipes! What a delicious cake this was, lovely flavors! Hope you’re enjoying Aus.
    Naomi xo

  3. Hi Rachel,

    I absolutely love the look of this recipe! But I was thinking of trying to make mini versions of the cake – so it would be easier to take them into work and share!

    Any tips for doing this? Could I just make the same mix and divide into cupcake cases?

    Thank you!!

  4. Looks great wish I had seen it when I was in Istanbul. The pomegranate juice was unbelievable though. I want to make this cake. I can’t find 150g pots of yogurt where I live but I have kitchen scales. Can you give the ingredients in normal weights and measures please.

    1. Hi couldn’t agree more, the juice was divine! Not entirely sure what you mean re weights/measures, but if you have digital scales it should be able to convert between grams, ounces and mililitres etc. to suit what you need. If not you can use an online converter tool to work it out. Hope that helps!

  5. Hi Rachel,

    I love this cake. I’ve made it twice so far and everyone raved about it. Going to try cupcake versions tonight for a bake sale – I’m sure they’ll be just as yummy!!


  6. Hi Rachel! I’ve hust discovered your recipes on the Spanish Tv! We’ve just prepared this cake for a dinner…It’s not pomegranade season so we have done it with strawberries…we’ll see!

  7. As with the previous comment, I could not find 150g tubs of yoghurt. So I weighed everything out on scales. The cake turned out very heavy and dense. I realized not all ingredients weigh the same as I ended up using 2 cups of flour which weighs 300g. Is it possible for you to convert your 150g pots to cups for this recipe please. Kind Regards

    1. Hi Fiona, sorry to hear that the recipe didn’t go quite to plan. The US version of my book will be released in October, so I’m going to be re-sharing the recipe with the US measurements later this summer. Keep an eye out on the blog and my social media pages 🙂

  8. Hi Rachel I made this cake at the weekend after watching you make it on tv. It looked amazing so I thought I would try it. Unfortunately it came out very dense and heavy and did not rise so ended up in the bin. I used the exact measurements and ingredients. Any ideas as I will not be defeated.

    1. Hi Maxine, it might be a good idea to check if your baking powder has expired (or was it new)? Over mixing a cake batter can also cause it to turn out dense. Try again and let us know how you go.

  9. Hi Rachel
    Success this time. It does look impressive. I am taking it for my work colleagues to try. Hope they enjoy it.
    I used new baking powder!

  10. I saw this beautiful cake featured on Yahoo and decided to make it for Thanksgiving. My parents are Korean so don’t like desserts to be too sweet so I thought this would be perfect for them. The cake turned out wonderfully, it had almost a bread like quality to it and the flavors were outstanding. It wasn’t dense or anything, it just wasn’t as sweet as most cakes are. I was tempted to add more pistachio but I’m glad I didn’t because it was the perfect combination! I want to make this cake again but next time use regular yogurt instead of low fat (this was all they had left after the Thanksgiving rush).

    I’m glad your cake was featured on Yahoo, I’ve been looking at your recipes all day at work (hehe) and am loving it! Will probably buy the cookbook for Christmas too. 🙂

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