Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake | gluten free, sugar free, high protein

Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake

This Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake is sweet, moist, delicious, and sophisticated. It doesn't taste sugar free, gluten free, and high protein one bit!

My family absolutely adored my Whole Orange Almond Cake and ever since then I have wanted to make the cake with other citrus fruits.  How does blood orange sound?  What about grapefruit?  Limes come to mind but I’m not sure how that would work out…

This Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake is sweet, moist, delicious, and sophisticated. It doesn't taste sugar free, gluten free, and high protein one bit!

People love how magically moist and wonderfully dense this cake is.  It has a pronounced nutty pistachio flavor with the occasional crunch.  I was afraid that the lemons might overpower the cake but it was just the perfect amount.

This Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake is not your ordinary cake.  There is no need to cream butter and sugar together, instead you need to boil and puree a few lemons.  And another plus, you don’t even need butter and sugar to make this cake moist and sweet!  Just look at the ingredients:

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Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake

Servings: 1 8" cake
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 2 hours


  • 5 Organic Lemons
  • 292g (1 cup + 3 tbs) Egg Whites (fresh, not cartoned)
  • 192g (1 cup) Granulated Erythritol
  • ½ tsp Lemon Flavor
  • 224g (2 cups) Pistachio Flour
  • 120g (1 cup) Oat Flour
  • 2 tsp Double-Acting Baking Powder


For the Boiled Lemons:

  • Wash the lemons thoroughly then pierce all over with a knife. Place the lemons in a large pot and cover with water.  Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to medium/low and cover with a lid. Simmer for 45 minutes (lemons should be very soft and tender). Drain and let cool.
  • Cut the lemons into quarters, discard the seeds, and puree in a blender (rinds and all). The final weight of lemon puree should be 365g.

For the Cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray an 8" cake pan with cooking spray and line with a parchment paper circle.
  • In a large bowl, add the lemon puree and egg whites (should measure 2⅓ cups). Pour into a large bowl and whisk together.
  • Whisk in the erythritol and lemon flavor.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the pistachio flour, oat flour and baking powder. Slowly add this to the wet ingredients while whisking (batter should be thick, dense, and heavy).
  • Scoop batter into the prepared pan and spread it out.  Bake for ~55 minutes, or until surface of cake is firm and springs back when tapped. Flip cake onto a wire cooling rack and let cool completely.  Slice and serve!
Nutrition Facts
Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 serving = 1/10th of recipe)
Calories 210 Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Sodium 50mg2%
Carbohydrates 21g7%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 200IU4%
Vitamin C 57.8mg70%
Calcium 80mg8%
Iron 1.8mg10%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Cake & Cupcakes

What a healthy cake this is!  Only 210 calories for a large and filling slice with 6g of fiber and 7g of protein.  All of the fat is healthy fat, coming from pistachios only (can you believe this moist and mouth-watering cake contains no butter or oil?).

This Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake definitely qualifies for breakfast.  Yup, I said it — breakfast!

This Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake is sweet, moist, delicious, and sophisticated. It doesn't taste sugar free, gluten free, and high protein one bit!


With love and good eats,


– Jess


30 comments on “Healthy Whole Lemon Pistachio Cake”

  1. Holy cow, that cake sounds delicious (and looks good, too!). I love the ingredient list–all things I would have on hand (except the lemon flavor, but I’m guessing I could get by without it?).

    • dessertswithbenefits

      You can definitely do without the lemon flavor, maybe add 1 tsp of freshly grated lemon zest to brighten it up! 🙂

  2. Do you think this could be made with almond flour instead of pistachio? I don’t have any pistachio flour in my pantry.
    Lemon is one of my favorite flavors!

  3. I’ve been thinking of buying pistachio flour for awhile, for making macarons, but couldnt justify it for such a one-use ingredient. Problem solved, methinks 😉

    Lime cake sounds lovely, particularly if there were a way to incorporate coconut into the flours. I’m not sure that coconut flour alone would work… perhaps some dessicated unsweetened coconut that had been blended until more flour-like, but not quite a powder/butter?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Rosalie- You should make this cake AND macarons! And if your macarons are successful I would LOVE to try them out, especially after my horrible macaron post.

      And I didn’t even think about lime and coconut! You are a genius! I need to try that out 🙂


  4. This cake is so beautiful! I love the lemon and pistachio combination!

  5. Yummy! I want to make it myself!
    lovely photos.

  6. Hello, it’s long time I want to tell you that I think you really have talent, and inspire me to keep exploring new recipes and baking new “generation” of sweets and cakes. It’s a long time I’ve been wanting to do a “Green financier”, A “Financier” being a french traditional kind of cake made with almond flour, but in this case, with pistacchio. The idea of adding a zest of lemon is a good idea. I’ll soon try it. Thanks for your blog and your creativity. I wish I would have been as clear as you about what I wanted to do at your age ! And I wish you would live closer so we could meet and have a real talk! Well done!

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Thank you so much Patricia! A pistachio financier sounds delicious, I really want to try that soon 🙂

  7. This cake is in my oven right now, smelling fabulous! I can’t wait to try it. 🙂 Just a quick question: I wasn’t sure of the steps to put the batter together. I ended up whipping the egg whites up, folding them into the flours, and then adding the lemon-xylitol mixture (I had processed them together). The batter was certainly very thick, which I expected, and it tasted really good. Next time I will probably grate some lemon peel into the mixture—guess I like it lemony! Is there a preferred method to making the batter?

    • dessertswithbenefits

      Oh my goodness Julie I apologize! I wrote the instructions quickly and was going to get back to it later but totally forgot. I updated it just now, thanks for the heads up.
      Our methods were just a little bit different but I’m sure the cake will turn out the same in the end. If you like it more lemony, perhaps make this citrus glaze! I hope you love the cake 🙂

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  9. Oh wow, I’ve never even thought of using pistachio flour, but it sounds amazing. Actually, the whole recipe is something I’d never think of but sounds amazing! Hahah, I’ve got to give this a try. Thanks, Jessica!

  10. What a lovely recipe, thank you for sharing it with us. I made this last night for the first time and it turned out beautifully. I topped it with a dollop of Creme Fraiche lots of fresh blueberries and pistachio nuts…and drizzled some honey over the top…very yummie!5 stars

  11. Just found this sitem and the recipes look and sound wonderful. For this one, is it possible to substitute honey instead of the dry sweetner? If so, how much?

  12. My granddaughter wants me to make this for her graduation party. My question to you is , can I use Lemon Oil for flavoring and can I use stevia or coconut palm sugar for sweetener. This is all new to me so your help is appreciated.

    • You can use lemon oil instead of the lemon flavor (the ingredients in the lemon flavor I used is: organic sunflower oil and organic lemon oil), although I haven’t tried it.
      I haven’t tried other sweeteners in place of the erythritol either, so I can’t be sure. I’m sure coconut sugar would work out, just note that the color will be brownish-green, not like the green you see in the pictures.
      Hope this helps!

  13. Hello, isn’t the sugar substitute too much? I had half added in cause i was afraid it would be overly sweet.

    Sure it is 190 gr of sweetener?

  14. Deborah Harrison

    can this be made without the sugar alternative?

    • You can substitute the erythritol with another sweetener (like organic cane sugar or coconut sugar or sucanat – just note the final color of the cake will probably be brown with a greenish tint), but you can’t omit the sweetener in general otherwise you will end up with a lemon flavored bread and not a cake.

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  16. do you make your own pistachio ‘flour’?

  17. Heather Carley

    Good Morning Jessica! Do you know the approximate number of eggs it takes? I don’t normally keep eggs in the house since I can’t eat them. But I’d like to make this for Easter. Wondering if I can get away with buying a half-dozen or not. Thank you!

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