Vegetarian food blog featuring delicious and nutritious whole food recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Lime and Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Shards

As soon as I saw the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, I knew immediately I wanted to make this Pistachio & Lime Cake for my friend’s upcoming birthday. This is one of Lynn Hill’s own and it is the one that graces the front cover of the book.

So for the grand finale of my friend’s birthday bake, this is what I made – my most ambitious cake yet.  I had kept back a few of the Brazilian limes on purpose to go out with a bang. I made my signature lime and ginger curd as a filling for the cake and also thought I’d try making crystallised lime to decorate the top. I had plenty of organic eggs courtesy of Penbugle Farm. I made my usual adjustments, you know I can’t help it.

This is how I made:

Pistachio and Lime Cake with Chocolate Shards

  • Sliced two well scrubbed lime very thinly.
  • Simmered in a sugar syrup made of 50g granulated sugar and 50ml water for about 45 minutes (or until the peel is soft and translucent).
  • Laid out on some parchment paper over a wire rack in a warm place for 24 hours to dry.
  • Creamed 300g unsalted butter with 300g caster sugar, with my trusty wooden spoon, until very pale and fluffy.
  • Grated in the rind of three well scrubbed limes and creamed some more.
  • Chopped 50g pistachio nuts into bits & beat these into the mixture.
  • Beat in 5 large organic eggs one at a time, adding in a little flour with the last two to prevent curdling.
  • Sifted in 300g flour (half wholemeal, half white) with 2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda.
  • Stirred this in as gently as possible together with the juice of two limes.
  • Divided the mixture between three 8″ cake moulds and baked at 180C for 20 minutes until the top was firm and a skewer inserted into the centre came out clean.
  • Whilst the cakes were cooking, made a syrup by heating the juice of two limes with 2 tbsp caster sugar until the sugar had dissolved.
  • Poured this over the cakes as soon as they were out of the oven, then left them to cool.
  • Turned out onto wire racks to cool completely.

  • Creamed 150g unsalted butter with 150g icing sugar until very pale and fluffy.
  • Grated in the zest of a lime and creamed some more.
  • Beat in 150g cream cheese.
  • Melted 75g dark chocolate in a pan over hot water.
  • Poured onto a wooden board and spread out to about 3mm thickness with a palate knife.
  • Sprinkled 25g chopped pistachios over the top and left to set.
  • Cut into longish triangular shards.
  • Roughly chopped another 50g pistachios.
  • Placed one of the cakes on a serving plate and covered with a third of the cream cheese icing.
  • Spread 3 tbsp of ginger and lime curd over the top.
  • Scattered over a third of the pistachios.
  • Placed a 2nd cake on top and repeated the process.
  • Placed the 3rd cake on top and spread with the remaining icing.
  • Placed a ring of crystallised lime rings around the outside of the cake.
  • Stuck the chocolate shards in the centre.
  • Scattered the remaining chopped pistachios over the top.
Many thanks to Lynn Hill for this wonderful recipe. It made a stunning cake and caused a sensation among the party guests and most importantly of all, the birthday girl was absolutely delighted. Oh and by the way, it was truly mouth-watering.


I’m entering this wonder into Bookmarked Recipes. This is a monthly event hosted by Jac of Tinned Tomatoes.

As I made everything here entirely from scratch, I am entering it into Javelin Warriors Made with Love Mondays.

I’m also entering it into Credit Crunch Munch hosted alternately by Fab Food for All and Fuss Free Flavours. Now I know this may not look much like a frugal dish, but I had loads of limes which really did need using up and also lots of eggs which needed using, so if you take those out of the equation, it’s not quite as extravagant as it looks AND it was a birthday cake for a very special occasion 🙂


  1. The KitchenMaid

    8th April 2013 at 7:17 am

    If this is a credit crunch cake then I can’t wait to see you really push the boat out!
    Seriously, this is a really beautiful cake, and very inspiring. I would die of happiness if someone made it for me for my birthday (do you think it would be wrong of me to send around the link?) Hope all is well x

  2. Elizabeth

    8th April 2013 at 9:35 am

    That is a truly impressive looking (and sounding!) cake – well done you! 🙂

  3. Janine

    8th April 2013 at 11:24 am

    The cake looks amazing! I bet the flavours all worked really well together too. Lime and ginger curd sounds pretty good on its own, let alone stacked up in a three-layer cake!

  4. Jo

    8th April 2013 at 12:40 pm

    What an absolute beauty of a cake! I love how your curd is oozing out the sides screaming “eat meeee!”

  5. Johanna GGG

    8th April 2013 at 12:43 pm

    this is a work of art – a wonderful birthday present and an amazing creative use of what is at hand – we’ve had lime and chocolate in my kitchen too recently but in much humbler creations

  6. Javelin Warrior

    8th April 2013 at 4:14 pm

    This cake is epic, Choclette! What a combination of flavors and textures and visual cues… And what an accomplishment – I read through all the steps in making this and you deserve so many pats on the back for all your effort! Thanks so much for sharing…

  7. Jaime

    8th April 2013 at 7:34 pm

    Oh I love the flavours here! Have never tried lime curd but sounds mouth-wateringly good with the chocolate, cream cheese and lovely sponge.

  8. celia

    8th April 2013 at 8:03 pm

    Choc, that looks amazing! What a great job you’ve done – and the chocolate shards look especially fabulous!

  9. belleau kitchen

    8th April 2013 at 8:30 pm

    my EYES are bleeding from staring at this glorious cake for too long… I dont know where to start… it’s simply stupendous, amazing, glorious… and with all the fabulousness dripping out of the cake… I also ADORE the pistachio bark, wow, that’s fantastic!… nice work Miss C!

  10. thelittleloaf

    9th April 2013 at 8:27 am

    This looks like a serious showstopper of a cake! I love the chocolate shards on top too.

  11. Kat Cupcakebaker

    9th April 2013 at 1:25 pm

    WOW! What a cake!! Love it!!

    I love all your posts and have nominated you for a versatile blogger award.

    Go take a Look… />
    xx Kat xx

  12. Karen S Booth

    9th April 2013 at 2:50 pm

    OMG! That is a towering chocolate inferno of a cake and is TRULY gorgeous! STUNNING! Karen xxx

  13. Camilla @FabFood4All

    9th April 2013 at 10:30 pm

    What a show stopper of a cake and so on trend with the lime and chocolate and pistachios are just gorgeous and lend themselves to this cake not only for their delectable taste but their colour too. Thank you for entering this month’s Credit Crunch Munch:-)

  14. Katie

    10th April 2013 at 5:40 am

    Wow what a towering masterpiece of deliciousness. Looks fabulous and very special. Will have to try your ginger lime curd as have lots of limes in the fridge.

  15. hungryhinny

    12th April 2013 at 8:39 am

    I thought I’d commented on this already but I think your word verification out-foxed me again!

    This really is a stunning cake, each element on its own sounds delicious (especially the curd) and I can only imagine how well they all work together.

    I will definitely have to have a go at making crystalised limes, in fact I may be baking something next week which they would go perfectly with… Your cream cheese icing is interesting as well, it’s something which quite often goes wrong for me and ends up too runny, but I haven’t tried one using equal quantities of the ingredients and yours seems a good texture…

    • Choclette

      12th April 2013 at 11:00 am

      Sorry Nat, I know the verification is a real pain and I wish I didn’t have to use it. Thank you, I was just a little bit pleased with this cake. The cheese buttercream worked really well and was just the right consistency. The original recipe had used a lot more butter etc (250g) and less cheese to butter with (200g), but I thought that seemed rather excessive and I had just the right amount for my cake. The limes were a little chewy, but good nonetheless – have fun.

  16. hungryhinny

    12th April 2013 at 3:29 pm

    It’s ok, it was probably me not checking that the comment had posted before clicking away from the page!

    Also I meant to say, your friend is very lucky getting a cake like this for her birthday – bit late for this year but mine is the March 12th, in case you were wondering… 😉

  17. Maggie

    12th April 2013 at 6:35 pm

    This is a beautiful cake and the recipient was very lucky indeed:)

  18. Jacqueline Meldrum

    14th April 2013 at 8:43 am

    Oh my goodness Choclette, that is one amazing cake. Wow!

  19. Baking Addict

    14th April 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Sorry for my long absence but this cake is worth coming back for – wow!! A truly impressive cake and definitely going on my to bake list. Love the new blog layout too. Hope you’re keeping well x

  20. Laura Loves Cakes

    14th April 2013 at 7:15 pm

    Wowsers…this certainly is an ambitious and impressive cake. I love all the elements and the fact you used homemade curd and the chocolate and pistachios shards are great 🙂

  21. Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce

    14th April 2013 at 9:48 pm

    Wow, Choclette! What a magnificent cake! Beautifully dressed and sounds absolutely delicious too! Definitely a cake to impress!

  22. Kim

    23rd April 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Wow, gorgeous cake! I got that cookbook for my birthday so may have to have a go myself. Those pistachio chocolate shards are amazing, I am not sure they would stick around to make it onto the cake!

  23. Maya Russell

    12th August 2013 at 6:27 am

    WOW!…… WOW!

  24. Helen at Casa Costello

    11th June 2015 at 10:26 pm

    You have done a great job with this cake – I have made this recipe too.Isn’t it magnificent?! Thanks so much for offering your link – I have featured this post on this week’s Bake of the Week Lime Roundup x

    • Choclette

      12th June 2015 at 8:14 am

      Thank you very much Helen. I’d forgotten you’d made it too, but now remember. I haven’t made an extravagant cake like that in a long time.


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