Flourless Pistachio Cake Recipe for Passover or Easter

By Marcus Samuelsson |

Flourless chocolate cakes have long ruled the roost of modern Passover desserts, but a nut-based alternative seemed appropriate for this year’s celebration. I wanted to make something with a distinctive flavor that might become a classic, and a recipe from a great piece by Joan Nathan in last year’s New York Times caught my eye.


I haven’t celebrated Jewish holidays for many years, I was raised Christian, and still celebrate those holidays with my family. However, I love any tradition, and I eagerly learned about Passover from my best friend in college and now, from my boyfriend Drew’s family. From the first Seder with Arielle’s family, to this year’s Passover celebration in Miami, I love that food is part of the meal and it has allowed me to join in with those I love.

Although the first two nights of Passover are over, when the Seders are traditionally held, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make a delicious flour-less cake to enjoy the holidays. This cake would also do well for Easter this Sunday or for any time of year, it’s delicious!



Prep Details

Servings: Makes 1 (9x9 inch) cake


1/2 cup vegetable oil, plus for the pan

7 large eggs, separated

3 cups roasted, unsalted pistachios

1 cup sugar

1 tbsp matzo meal

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tbsp vanilla extract

Confectioners' sugar(kosher for Passover), for dusting


Photo: Lindsay Hunt

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch square pan and set aside. Using a stand mixer, whisk egg whites until stiff but not dry, at set aside.

2. Using a large food processor, pulse pistachios and one tablespoon of the sugar until very finely ground, stirring once or twice to prevent them from turning into a paste.

3. In a medium bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar, and whisk to blend. Add ground pistachios, matzo meal, and cardamom. Add the vanilla extract and the vegetable oil. Gently fold in the egg whites.

4. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin spatula or knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it. Remove the cake from the pan and finish cooling on the rack.

5. Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.