With their powers combined, strawberries, pistachios and olive oil make for one splendid cake

  • When you want a cake that's not overly sweet, this delicate, gluten-free treat is an elegant answer. It's also dairy-free and comes together in a single bowl.

    When you want a cake that's not overly sweet, this delicate, gluten-free treat is an elegant answer. It's also dairy-free and comes together in a single bowl. Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post

 
By Becky Krystal
The Washington Post
Updated 9/18/2019 11:12 AM

One of the joys of cooking is discovering new ingredients. Put me in a spice store or international grocery, and I am like a kid in a candy shop. (That's still a thing, right?) But there are also plenty of genuine discoveries to make when ingredients you know and love are combined in a way you've never encountered.

Such was the case with this Strawberry and Pistachio Olive Oil Cake. I came across it in BBC Good Food magazine, a lovely publication I read when I can because it satisfies my interest in both food and all things British. The recipe caught my eye because of the trifecta of title ingredients, all of which I adore. I was pretty sure I had never had all three together, and if I had, it was not in anything like this.

 

Also intriguing: The cake is gluten-free and quick to come together in a single bowl, after you've ground the pistachios in a food processor, anyway. Because the batter is so reliant on nuts (cornmeal also helps keep it gluten-free), a little extra care is required. Nuts tend to burn easily, so I found it necessary to cover the cake partway through cooking to keep it from getting too dark and bitter. Similarly, you want to make sure you don't overbake the cake, as it is delicate and crumbly. Don't just rely on the baking time I've included in the recipe. Ovens vary, so use the visual and textural cues to ensure you pull the cake out of the oven at just the right time.

If you do, you'll be rewarded with a very tender, aromatic cake that would be right at home with a cup of tea or coffee. I recommend you consider serving it with creme fraiche or yogurt and extra strawberries, not only for presentation's sake, but to tie all the flavors together. And, yes, the dollop of dairy helps hold together all those nutty bits, because you will want every last crumb.

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