Pistachio and Chorizo Cake Recipe

cake & suze

I’m now used to sitting down for dinner at 8 or 8:30pm…or 9…or 9:30pm…or 10:30pm…or whenever…but when I first moved to Paris, those first few months were a bit rough and I wasn’t quite sure me, or my stomach, would be able to adjust.

My tummy would start a-grumblin’ around 5 o’clock and I’d start wandering around my apartment, lopping of pieces of bread and cheese, gnawing on radishes, or raiding the chocolate bin—which usually I started in on a bit earlier, I’ll confess, than the other choices.

I am always hungry and the interminable wait between lunch and dinner spans a terrifying seven-plus hours here.

There’s the goûter, or le snack, which is taken around 4 o’clock, and is often something sweet like choquettes or….well, I can’t think of anything else.

For some reason, I always crave choquettes. Although I’m kind of scared to make them at home, since my recipe makes 30 and I’d certainly eat them all—so I usually head to a bakery for a small sack, which contains a more modest 8 to 10.

cake

But closer to dinnertime is l’heure d’apéro, or drink-time, when everyone’s getting off work (except for those of us who work at home, who can take a belt whenever we darn well please). Although I’m always up for a glass of wine, it’s nice to have a drink like Suze, a very bitter, electric-green distillation of gentian root, which might cause some wincing at first sip, but is pretty enjoyable when accompanied by un snack.

Once in a while, to go alongside, I’ll make a cake (pronounced “kek”), made from a batter studded with various savory ingredients. I was recently at a dinner party and some guests were raving about a bread they made all the time, and the more they talked about it, the more anxious I was to get the recipe out of them.

When they told me it was from Chocolate & Zucchini, the cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier, everyone’s favorite Parisian (…and I’m not jealous, since I’m certain I’m a close second), I was all hopped-up to give this recipe a try.

chorizo

Clotilde’s recipe combines spicy chorizo sausage, cut into a little dice, a handful of crunchy pistachios, and tangy sun-dried tomatoes. Although the original recipe called for oil-packed tomatoes, I only had dried ones, which I tossed with the chorizo and let sit for a few hours to moisten up. If using oil-packed tomatoes, drain them well before chopping.

pistachios

You could certainly futz with the ingredients, swapping out the chorizo for diced ham or bacon, or even something vegetarian (Nothing comes to mind right now except smoked tofu, although I don’t know how well that would work.) But for nuts, toasted almonds or pecans would be nice.

I’d run out of white sesame seeds and only had black ones—or so I thought. When I went to look for them, in my cabinet, I found a tiny trail of dark little pellets. Not sure if they were sesames or mouse turds, I decided to quit my search (which was a good thing, since who knows what else I’d have found if I kept searching back there), and instead headed to the Indian market for a fresh, unopened bag of sesame seeds.

White ones, so I wouldn’t have to worry about them.

cake

Chorizo and Pistachio Cake

One 9-inch (24cm) cake

Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini by Clotilde Dusoulier

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1 1/4 cups (150g) flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon chile powder
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (150g) plain, whole-milk yogurt
  • 3 ounces (85g) chorizo, preferable spicy, skinned and finely diced
  • 8 sun-dried tomato halves, finely diced
  • 3/4 cup (100g) unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup (15g) chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • butter, for greasing the pan

1. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C).

2. Butter a 9-inch (23cm) loaf pan and sprinkle in 1 tablespoon of the sesame seeds, tilting the pan to distribute them.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and chile powder.

4. In a medium bowl, mix together the eggs and yogurt. Sift the dry ingredients into the egg mixture, stirring until barely incorporated. Don’t overmix.

5. Gently fold in the chorizo, tomatoes, pistachios, and parsley. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds.

6. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the cake just feels set in the center. Let cool for 15 minutes, then tilt it out of the pan onto a cooling rack.

Serving and storage: Once cool, cut the cake into thin slices and serve as is. Leftover cake should be wrapped snugly in plastic and will keep up to five days at room temperature. I often cut savory cakes in half and freeze part to have on hand for emergency cocktail parties.

Note: Chorizo is available in well-stocked supermarkets and food stores. It’s also available from La Tienda, although any fully-cured, spicy sausage available locally should work.

Related Links:

The Best Holiday Snack Ever

Peach Leaf Wine

Chestnut, Crab, and Goat Cheese Cake (La Tartine Gourmande)

Chorizo and Date Cake (C’est moi qui l’ai fait!)

Making Panisses

Cucumber & Feta Salad

Pistachio Gelato

45 comments

  • oooo such delicious goodness… interesting that you were musing on ways to convert this to a vegetarian recipe because it makes me wonder, would mock meat do? one of my housemates is vegetarian so maybe i should give it a try and see…

  • What an intriguing combination …. can’t wait to try it

    Joanna

  • Beautiful photographs and it looks delicious, David.

  • This sounds interesting, but I’m having a hard time imagining the texture….is it a cake? A sweet bread? Spongey?

  • This looks like the most amazing cake I’ve ever seen, what a wonderful idea, a savoury cake. I wish I hadn’t hastily finished off my chorizo on saturday, this cake needs to be baked asap. good work! Katie

  • I found it funny that it is pronounced “kek”: my grandma who is Greek used to call it that!

  • Hi David,

    Lovely snack – I adore chorizo and pistachio so I’m sure I’d love this.

    xox Sarah

    p.s. you’re my fave parisian! hehe

  • Now, this is one cake that my husband would actually eat! It’s got 2 of his all time favorite things in it. If I can ever get my oven fixed, this will be the first thing to go in it!

  • I love cake and savory foods, so this looks like the perfect fix. Do you think I could add a little cornmeal to it? BTW, I made a batch of your peanut brittle the other day. Let’s just say it is almost all gone, so good…..especially since it was crumbled on top of your vanilla bean ice cream that I added figs and honey to!

  • Sounds like a cake that would get even better over several days… if it lasts that long.

  • Ok..I’ve quit quizzically rereading this, but only because I love chorizo and the recipe sounds good. But, black sesame seed or maybe mouse turds, and chorizo from a Chocolate Zucchini cookbook still leave me thinking I’m having one of those nonsensical dreams that one gets from overindulging in martini’s. Huh? Don’t answer that.

  • Guess what will be served at a party tomorrow night…Just a quick question: what type of chili powder do you recommend, “regular McCormick chili”, ancho, or chipotle? Will chipotle complement the smokiness of the chorizo or make the cake too smoky flavored?

  • David

    We must have the same purveyor for mouse turds and sesame seeds, or your mice have called my mice and they’ve gotten together on an international exchange program.

    Mark

  • Sara: It’s dense, like a quickbread, but without the sweetness.

    Randy: I used Rancho Gordo red chile powder, which Steve (the owner) gave to me because I’m such a good customer!

    Kim: There’s already plenty going on in this cake. And as much as I love cornmeal, I’d skip it.

    Sarah: Thanks! Clotilde is away on vacation, so she won’t be offended : )

  • This savory cake idea is new to me but apparently pretty popular in France. I saved a recipe I found online for one made with fresh tomatoes, basil, and cheese. If I started eating one of these things at four or five o’clock I’m afraid I would, as my mother used to say, spoil my appetite.

  • When I saw the title, I thought you might be pulling our legs! What an odd combination that sounds. But I’ll take your word on its tastiness.

  • Interesting combination. Are you happy with the results? Would you bake this again? or was it a one time kind of recipe?
    By the way, I love “La Tienda”, I buy from them all the time.

  • I made some “pizza” breadsticks for my school aged son to take in his lunchbox with some red sauce for dipping. I used pepperoni and sundried tomatoes in them, as well as lots of fresh herbs. Adding the pistachios would add a nice crunch and I could cut back on the meat since they’d both be adding protein. And yes, I think my 7 y.o. would love it if I didn’t eat it all before he got a chance!

  • This looks like great picnic food! I often take meatloaf or quick bread recipes and bake them in 4 small loaf pans rather than 1 bread pan. I freeze whatever I won’t be using in bags sealed with a FoodSaver. I think this would work perfectly for this recipe. Looks like I will be making this for a picnic this weekend. Thanks……

  • there are a couple of companies who make vegetarian chorizo and I see it stocked at Krogers, VGS, and Whole Foods. It’s pretty spicy but it might work. Or make some vegetarian jerky and cut it up. it will be softer than normal jerky and won’t be tough in the bread. I wonder if someone can Veganize this for those who don’t eat eggs. Altho I am not a friend of that fake egg stuff in general. I might cut down from 3 to less or smaller eggs and add whites. Going to the store for some ingredients now. This just would go so well with fresh grilled corn on the cob and some grand salad. yum.

  • You could make this vegan by replacing the eggs with a tablespoon of vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of water to the yogurt. I would let it sit in the pan for 3-5 minutes before baking….let the vinegar & baking powder do their thing. You can replace the chorizo with “soyrizo” by El Burrito or with my favorite from Turtle Island, Tofurky sausage.

  • David…please don’t tell me you brought the dry sundried tomatos in the US…as I am desperate to find some here in Paris to help with my diet receipes.

    I make a savory muffin like this, adding bacon instead of chorizo, also adding black olives, tobasco and tomato juice. It’s a real hit with everyone too.

    Great pics too!!

  • What about crumbled fried tempeh in the vegetarian version? Perhaps there is no tempeh in France…..

  • Oh David, you’ll always be my favourite Parisian! ;-)

    But this cake comes a close second – I think I’m in love. Bookmarked and good to go, hopefully sans merde de mouse!

  • Hi!

    I came across this blog on TV. It was a warm Philippine Sunday afternoon that i tuned in on National Geographic’s “Food Lover’s Guide to the Planet” and instead of taking the usual afternoon nap I found myself intrigued by food bloggers the world over…your’s included! And thank God for that! A foodie and photography enthusiast that I am, this blog speaks to me!!! (as i write this, the mentioned show is on again with another blogger named Clotilde…she’s part of a segment about a Japanese pastry chef in Paris…she is your friend i gather based on one of your replies) hehe.

    Anyway, I would have never thought that chorizo and pistachio nuts would actually work in a cake! Hmmm…

    Still wondering,
    Laurence

  • Hi David,

    I knew the minute I saw the title of your post that this had to be the recipe from Clotilde’s cookbook – it’s my favorite one in her book, so it’s great to hear you love it, too. I usually increase the number of sun-dried tomatoes for a little more sweetness, and when I don’t have sesame seeds lying around, the cake is still plenty tasty without.

    Thanks for reminding me to go whip up another loaf soon!

  • David,
    I have her book, but never tried single one of her recipe yet. I saw this cake, it wasn’t really appealing to me, but now that you’ve mentioned and tried the recipe, I guest I must give it a try too. See, I told you that I’ve always seems to trust your judgement. If you say the recipe is good, I make it; if you say the book is good, I buy the book! Ah, I guess I am just too fond of you, what can I say!

  • David – I have been putting off buying her book..I think I have come to my senses now.
    Love the recipe – will have to make it soon.

  • American in London: I actually decreased the amount of sun-dried tomatoes she called for, although I suspect my dried tomatoes may be stronger than those that she called for, which are packed in oil.

    Elra & Maya: At that dinner party, the person who recommended this recipe just kept going on and on and on about it. And when he told me where he got it, I was thrilled that I already had the book. (I posted another recipe a while back, Very Chocolate Cookies, which were really good, too.)

    Jeanne: Well, I’m glad to be your favorite, but I think that’s because with you, I try harder! : )

  • Made this in a 9″ round cake pan (too lazy to retrive my loaf pan from storage) and it was ready in 20 minutes. Within an hour after it cooled, half the cake was gone! Thanks David and Clotilde for this wonderful idea! Next time I may substitute Spanish pimenton picante for the chili powder.

  • wow… i am from spain and i have never been such a combination but it looks delicious!

  • Hello David,
    I was very enthousiastic about trying this recipe for friends in a few days time, until I discovered that one of my guests is allergic to nuts, including pistaches. Do you think that a mix and match of both recipes (chorizo & zucchinis) would work?

  • Bibil: I’d be leery about adding anything that might exude liquid during baking, like zucchini, to this kind of cake batter. You could likely omit the nuts, or add another crunchy thing. I don’t know if pumpkin seeds fall under the same category of “nuts” (ask your friend) but those are another option.

    Crumbled goat cheese, chopped olives or diced dried figs might be interesting, too!

  • This cake looks really interesting and unique – the next time I have chorizo in the house I’m going to make it.

  • Thank you for sharing this. I love the combination of pistachios, chorizo & sun dried tomatoes….& the sesame seeds. Everybody loved it. Going to make another one this weekend.

  • I tried this recipe minus the chili powder, and using black forest ham instead of chorizo. I found it a bit too salty for my taste. What would happen to the chemistry of this bread if I reduced the salt by 1/4 teaspoon or so? Would it still turn out OK? Also, what could you recommend in place of the chili powder that would not be as spicy but add some interest flavor-wise?

  • I have gotten chorizo from the Mexican grocery store near my house a few times, but it’s different than what is described in most recipes I see. It’s raw, like a regular braut or italian sausage. How would you handle this? It sounds like a great recipe, and I love her cookbook!

  • I eventually waited for another opportunity to make this recipe, I really did want to add the pistachios and my friend was allergic.
    So I tried it earlier this week. I also added black olives to your recipe. It was so delicious that now I am required to cook it again twice within the next two weeks! Thank you for sharing this…

  • I’ve made this cake today and it`s very delicious! I could not wait untit it was cool – I had to try a piece of it right after it came out of the oven.
    I think by tomorrow there won’t be a single piece left ot it…
    Thank you for the great recipe!

  • I am such a fan of this recipe. It’s my third comment and about the fourth time I try it within a month.
    This time I tried it without pistachios and without tomatoes, but with parsley, black olives, and a strong garlic chorizo-like salami. I was thinking about goat cheese, pine nuts and black olives for my next attempt.
    Thank you once again!

  • After making this delicious bread last weekend I find it hard to believe that there would ever be half a loaf left to freeze for later. It is terrific! Thank you very much for sharing the recipe, David.
    I omitted the tomatoes, however, the combination of parsley, pistachio, and chorizo was both rich and fresh! The eggy quality of the bread reminds me of a popover or a cheese puff more than a cake. I like Bibil’s idea of adding olives to the next batch – any extra kick of salt is good in my mind. David, have you tried this bread with a different set of genius ingredients? How about chocolate (and chilis?)

    Thanks again, I had so much fun making this + even more fun sharing with my friends.

  • Very nice recipe. I made it and everybody like it. You can put a litle more chorizo for an extra taste.

    I am spanish and reminds me the taste of the “hornazo”. The eggy quality of the bread reminds me the texture reiminds me of the “relleno” from the “cocido”

    Sorry about my english…I just want to say you thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • I made this today with dried figs and goats cheese (and with a trickle of honey on top), like you suggested, oh my! It was amazing! Next time I think I’ll try olives and feta. And maybe a super american version with cubes of ham and cheddar.
    Haha, yes, I am obsessed with this.

  • @Erin:You’re right; Mexican chorizo (usually fresh/uncured, and the meat is ground) is different from Spanish (fully cured, and meat is chopped). I’m not sure how it would work as a substitute, but you’d definitely have to cook it first. I’ve never seen Mexican chorizo over here (in Ireland), as all the chorizo I’ve seen here is Spanish, but I understand that can be harder to come by in the States. Proximity of cultures I guess!

  • I might be late for this comment to be of use, but just a thought-
    Wouldn’t tempeh or tofu work as meat substitutes (ex. left salted for a 1/2 hr or so, dried, and maybe marinated in sesame or olive oil with dried chili or fried onions..)?