Chetna Makan’s pistachio, cardamom and white chocolate cake

Chetna Makan’s combines the flavours of pistachio, cardamom and white chocolate to make the lightest of cakes that’s perfect served for afternoon tea.


  • 225g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 4 large free-range eggs
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed to a powder in a pestle and mortar
  • 100ml milk
  • 50g shelled, unsalted pistachios, plus a handful extra, all roughly chopped
  • 50g white chocolate chips

For the icing

  • 150g white chocolate, broken in pieces
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • Few drops vanilla extract

You’ll also need…

  • 2 x 20cm round cake tins


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Grease the tins, then line with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, ensuring each one is incorporated before adding the next. Add the flour, baking powder, cardamom and milk, then whisk for 1 minute. Fold in the 50g pistachios and white chocolate chips, then fill the tins with the batter. Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer pushed into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tins.
  3. For the icing, put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of just steaming water until melted, ensuring the bowl does not touch the water. Set aside to cool slightly. Cream the butter with an electric mixer, then beat in the melted chocolate and vanilla until light and creamy.
  4. Remove the cooled sponges from the tins. Spread half the icing on 1 sponge, top with the second, then spread the rest of the icing on top. Sprinkle with the remaining pistachios, then leave for 20 minutes before slicing.

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