Pistachio Cakes with Orange Syrup and Dates Recipe

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makes: 8

I was at first very sceptical at how an egg-free cake would taste and, more importantly, how the texture would be. This recipe was given to me by a friend of mine, Divya, about three years ago. I have to say it was a revelation. It has a lovely texture and crumb and the cake is light and rises really well. The orange syrup adds a lovely sour, sticky note and the dates a great chewy texture, propelling this simple cake into an elegant, impressive dessert. The cakes can be made a day in advance, they won’t be hot but they will still be delicious. You can also make one large cake; just make sure it is cooked all the way through by testing with a toothpick.

ANJUM’S INDIAN VEGETARIAN FEAST by ANJUM ANAND, published by Quadrille (£19.99, hardback) Photos ©EMMA LEE


  • for the cake
  • 150g unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the moulds
  • 360–370ml (440-450g) condensed milk
  • 150g pistachios, ground to a coarse powder
  • 260g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • pinch of salt
  • To finish
  • juice of 2 large organic oranges and finely grated zest of 1
  • 6 tbsp caster sugar
  • 8 large unsweetened dates, sliced
  • crème fraîche, to serve
  • handful of chopped pistachios, to serve


  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Line the base of eight 150–200ml pudding moulds (mine are metal) with greaseproof paper and butter the sides well.

  • Beat together the condensed milk and butter until well blended and creamy. Stir in 240ml of water, add all the remaining ingredients and stir well to mix.

  • Spoon evenly into the moulds; the mixture will be thick. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.

  • Meanwhile, pour the orange juice and zest and the sugar into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until, when you drop a bit on a cold plate, it feels slightly syrupy to the touch. It will continue to thicken further as it cools.

  • Place a cake on a plate and spoon over some orange syrup. Place the date slices on the syrup and spoon a generous dollop of the crème fraîche on the side, or on top. Scatter over a few pistachios and serve.

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