Chocolate and Pistachio Cake {with Courgette and Rice Flour}


Thinking about a treat this Sunday? I hope I’m not too late as I have just the thing for you! Also as the lovely Angie from  The Novice Gardener invited me to join them at their Fiesta Friday #5, I thought this would be perfect to take along. If you haven’t checked it out, go do it now! it’s an awesome potluck of beautiful recipes, posts and lovely people.

As you all know by now, I have no qualms indulging in rich naughty treats. None whatsoever. And that’s because I know I lead what I beleive to be a healthy life, both in the way of food, exercise and way of living. I am a great beleiver in balance. An ‘everything or nothing’ lifestyle is not for me.

 So when I am faced with the option (or want) to have a treat – emphasis on treat, not every day indulgence – then I don’t think twice and I feel no guilt whatsoever.

However, there are times when I feel like having a real treat and something special and yet I don’t necessarily want to go overboard. And for those days I love having a read through Harry Eastwood‘s beautiful Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache book and pick something that will look deliciously indulgent, soothe my naughty craving and taste totally gorgeous.

This is the book that first took me to beetroot brownie heaven, to nutty chocolate and peanut butter cupcakes made with pumpkin and to butternut squash white chocolate and raspberry blondies.


So when I found out a friend of mine I hadn’t seen in a long time was coming down to Brighton and we were going to get together for dinner I thought this beautiful cake was exactly what we needed for our mid-week get together. It looks beautiful, I tastes gorgeous and warms you up while the weather outside is raging.


This cake is gluten-free and there is no butter in the cake batter. I cannot however claim it is dairy free as there is butter in the creamy chocolate icing. As I eat everything that is not a problem for me but if you need to go dairy free I’m sure one look at the recipe and you will know exactly what to do to make it perfect for you as unfortunately my knowledge on dairy substitutions is pretty much nil! But would love to learn so if you do make the change let me know what you did? Thank you!

For the cake
As I am also still learning when it comes to those types of recipes I decided to follow the recipe exactly and not make any changes.

100g shelled pistachios
3 medium eggs
180g light Muscovado sugar
300g courgette (ends removed, peeled and finely grated)
120g white rice flour
60g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For putting together:
An extra 30g of pistachios

For the icing

I did make a couple of changes to the icing. For one thing I didn’t use golden icing sugar as I have 2 packs of inching sugar in the cupboards and I would rather use what I have instead of going to buy more. Also they use cold butter. My butter was still a bit cold but it wasn’t out of the fridge. I did try doing it their way but it didn’t work out for me. Have a go if you want, you may work for you!

100g unsalted butter, cubed
100g icing sugar
2tbsp boiling water
50g cocoa powder

Preheat oven to gas 4/180C. Line 2 tins (18cm diameter) with baking parchment, brushing some oil around the base and sides.

Blitz the pistachio in the food processor until it is truly blitzed and in complete powdery state. Don’t be tempted to have bits of pistachio in the cake.

In a bowl whisk the egg and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add the courgette and pistachio powder. Mix and add the flour, and cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix it all really well and divide evenly between the 2 tins.

Cook in the oven for 30 minutes.

Remove them from the oven, turn them onto a rack and leave them to cool completely. Don’t be tempted to rush and ice the cake if they feel even a little warm or the icing will run.

To make the icing: In a bowl, whisk the butter until pale and soft then add the icing sugar and water. Whisk until it has doubled in volume. Add the cocoa powder one tablespoon at the time. Keep going until is it’s all in and the icing is fluffy – I have to admit that this is the nicest buttercream I have ever had! I urge you to try.

When the cakes are completely cold ice the underside of the cakes, sprinkle one side with some whole pistachios and top with the other cake. Ice the top and sprinkle some roughly chopped pistachios on top.




20 thoughts on “Chocolate and Pistachio Cake {with Courgette and Rice Flour}

  1. hi love,
    so this is great!!! about a month ago to took the decision of taking gluten out of Hermione’s diet and slowly off mine as her tummy is still causing her lots of pain. what can i say i am her mother and i hate to see her in pain and at this point it has been almost constant for 2 years if not more and the docs are clueless. so i took matters in my own hands and voila!!!what a difference. i try as much as i can to get gluten free but sometimes it is just not possible (going to restaurants) and her body’s reaction is not so extreme so every so often we allow it. so far so go i will keep it up.
    your cake is a God send as she has been asking me to make a cake so obviously it had to be gluten free. she has accepted it and it works for her so let keep it up 🙂

    lots of love sweetie,


    • That’s fantastic, so glad I could help. Poor little thing. At least going gluten free is working and she is feeling better! Hope you lovely people like it 🙂 xx


  2. Thank you for coming to the party, Diana! This is quite a treat you brought with you. What better way to eat your veggies than in a chocolate cake, am I right? And the pistachios on top makes it a superfood! Aren’t nuts a superfood? 🙂 When you have the chance, visit and chat up the other guests. I have a feeling they’ll love getting to know you and your gorgeous cake! XOXO


    • Thank you for inviting! Agreed and agreed! Oh I have been doing lots of visits and oh my goodness I am loving it! Xx


  3. This looks amazing, how inventive to use courgette in cake! I love courgettes in things, I have a recipe for Kolokythokeftdes which are Greek fried courgette balls and awesome!


    • Thank you! Do check out her book, it’s amazing to see all the different veg she uses. Oh that recipe of courgette balls sounds delicious!


  4. What a delicious looking cake, Diana! I love all the pistachios on top. Can never have too many! Have you ever tried white chocolate pistachio cookies? They are soo good!


  5. This cake looks so beautifully delicious! I have a friend who can only eat gluten free foods, and I must make this for her!
    I had to Google courgette, and was surprised to see it was zucchini! I think that’s the first I’ve ever heard that name for it.
    Lovely post, gorgeous photos, wonderful recipe! 🙂


    • Thank you so much! Her book is brilliant, you should check it out! Oh yes I always forget that courgette is zucchini in the states!


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