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Warmly spiced with cardamom, buttery and tender, it is absolutely good until the last piece. Plush and slightly dense, slicing like a dream. My intentions were to leave it unfrosted, but I’ve been thinking about cloud-like cream cheese frosting since seeing this one. Lightly sweetened, it adds just the right contrast of tang and creamy to every bite.
I made it the first time assuming the batter would be green, and quickly found out that only happens if you use raw pistachios. The roasty, toasty flavor from roasted pistachios was way too good to abandon, so it’s a lovely golden color in its own right.
I’m not sure what I like best about this cardamom pistachio cake…. it’s casual loaf pan style, the tender crumb, or the fact that it gets better each day it sits, letting the flavors drift deeper. I’ll leave that for you to decide.
As you’ve seen with some of my other gluten-free dessert recipes, I used ivory teff flour (you can also find brown teff flour, but the ivory is wonderful when you don’t want the the finished product to be darker or color of other ingredients to be overshadowed) and tapioca starch, making it gluten-free.
It’s the grain component (see it in action in this Teff Bread!) in this pistachio cake, and has enough starch to produce elasticity, without gums. It also has a natural nutty sweetness, perfect for baking. Teff flour has a very fine, soft texture (shockingly comparable to all-purpose flour).
About Being Childless, By Choice:
As women, we all have a story regarding children. Whether we we have them, long to have them, have lost them, or choose not to have them. There is admiration, love, and courage behind each of those situations. This is my story.
I had an inkling from a young age that I would be childless. While the other neighborhood girls fought over who got to hold the newest addition to the block, I let one of them have my turn. The little peach fuzz head and tiny feet peaking out fro the blanket were cute, but I wasn’t all that interested. As a teenager, I babysat for family friends, but the feeling of being trusted and earning money was where my satisfaction came from, not the caregiver role. And while my high school girlfriends were planning their husbands, the kind of house they’d live in, babies names, and how old they’d be when each piece of the puzzle took place, I was breaking up with my long-term boyfriend, knowing we needed to let each other go in order to fully experience college (in different states).
I can remember the exact moment I told my parents I wasn’t going to have children. We were sitting in an airport on our way to Florida for a college golf tournament, and at 19, I stood firmly on my feelings. They both looked at me in shock, disappointment, and maybe even a little anger. Not having children wasn’t the norm, which for a family who lived in very logical order and societal standards, didn’t sit well. Their legacy wouldn’t be carried on by me, and I’m sure there was some thinking about themselves, wanting to be grandparents.
“How can you be certain right now? What are you going to spend your time on? Why would you want to forgo such a beautiful experience? Who’s going to take care of you when you get older? What if you fall in love with someone and they want to have children?
You’ll change your mind. It’ll happen just one day, like a light bulb.
You just need to meet the right guy.
And you’d be such a good mom.”
That might be true, but only if I actually wanted to be a mom.
That desire has never been there. It didn’t come with time. Or meeting the right man. Or a lightbulb moment. It doesn’t make me a better or worse woman. It just makes me, me. And maybe you, you.
Losing my independence has always been at the heart of the matter. Selfishly, I want to live my life on my time and fulfillment instead of making sure someone else is taken care of. I want to be able to travel at the drop of the hat, and make spontaneous decisions. I want to be able to focus on whatever priority needs attention at any given time – whether that be health, relationships, hobbies, my job, or simply what makes me happy. I want to be financially responsible for only myself.
I sometimes feel ashamed, knowing there are many women who desperately want to get pregnant but can’t, and then there’s me who chooses not to. But I remind myself that whatever our story regarding children is, it is our own. A bond we have as women, and one I believe leads us to be supportive towards one another, whether the time calls for empathy, joy, or acceptance.
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Hi Amanda, The only thing I have on hand is roasted salted pistachios. do you have any suggestions how much I should reduce the salt in the recipe because of this? I would hate to waste all these ingredients by having it turn out too salty.
Additionally, your recipe calls for ivory teff but your link leads to brown teff. I’m not experienced enough yet with teff flour to know if there is a difference and what is actually required for this recipe’s success.
I’m having so much fun looking through all the recipes on your blog! Can’t wait to make this one.
Hello Holly! I just updated the recipe card to reflect that you can use brown or ivory teff. Both taste the same, the color of the cake will just be lighter if you use ivory. If using salted pistachios, I would reduce salt by 1/4 teaspoon. Taste the batter and if it doesn’t pop, add a pinch more.
Amanda, I would love to make this for my type 1 diabetic husband. Do you have any suggestions on how one might substitute lower carb sugars such as a blend of xylitol, erythritol and Stevia. That is my favorite blend (THM Gentle Sweet) to use for sweets but I’m just not sure how to do it in this recipe successfully. Hope you can possibly help. This is a beautiful recipe!
Hi Holly! Unfortunately I don’t have any experience baking with low carb sugars.
Has anyone tried making this in a different shape? I’m wondering if it would hold up as cupcakes or work in a small cake pan. Love the recipe and want to use it for a birthday celebration!
Hello, can raw pistachios be used in this cake? Thank you
hi! if you only have raw pistachios, you’ll want to roast them before using in this recipe. the roasting brings out so much flavor and drastically changes the end result of the cake.
I will do that! Thanks for your quick reply! Looking forward to making this cake today 🙂
Had to take a moment to thank you for your contact inspiration when it comes to cooking and life. Your blog is such fun to read and I can’t wait to try this cake recipe. Your photograph is beautiful as well. Look forward to seeing renovation photos. Thank you for your sharing your thoughts on being childless by choice. I admire you for sharing your truth on a sensitive topic. I too, am childless by choice. I am one of eight kids and get to enjoy and help raise 11 nieces and nephews. It does take a village and I’m happy to be part of their journeys .
Thank you so much for the kind note, Mary!
Hello the cake look wonderful!! One question, you instruct to add baking powder but I don’t see it listed in the ingredients. DO you add baking powder? and if so how much. Thank you. I am gluten free and this looks so fabulous!! best s
Recipe now updated to reflect amount of baking powder, thank you for catching!
Your reason for not wanting kids represents such wisdom and perspective, knowing what you want and prioritizing that. As someone who has always loved my independence and been owner of big professional dreams, it’s been hard for me to manage the inner turmoil that’s come with motherhood (something I was never sure I wanted, nor sure I didn’t want) and the loss (albeit temporary) of those parts of my identity. Motherhood has changed me for the better in many ways, but those feelings are still alive for me. I admire your certainty and love witnessing your adventures. Xoxo
Thank you for sharing the bit about choosing to be childless. Acknowledging that you want to be “selfish” and maintain your life in your way is far more honest and noble than the parents who expect zero change and insist on maintaining their own lives when having children (such as letting them run amuck in a coffeeshop, drawing on the floors, wandering into the kitchen or storage rooms, etc – true stories from when I worked in a coffeeshop!). Having a child is a HUGE change and an even bigger responsibility, and it should be totally ok to simply not want that. I understand how it’s confusing for people – having children is such a “normal” and natural part of the life cycle, it is hard to imagine that people simply don’t want to do it – but I’ve never understood the lack of respect for the personal decision someone makes. Thanks for standing your ground with the rest of us childless-by-choice weirdos! :-)
Yes, it is such a big decision! And I know that it is affected by many factors. The responsibility piece is also something that is difficult for me. To have that pressure… is just not something I’m interested in. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Thank you for sharing – I am a mother of three girls and I think that you hit right at the heart of the matter – we must all do our best to be true to who we are. And hopefully we get to make the choices that are best for us. The cake looks beautiful and I love a gluten free cake that doesn’t have a bunch of different flours. xo
this post, girl…spot. on. i leaped over there form ‘how sweet it is’ for the cake recipe, and read the most authentic post that has resonated with me in a long, long time. mind you, i’m still single, so i don’t get much pressure to have a kid at this time (but then there’s the, who/what/where/why of dating shit…), but constantly hear, ‘you’ll change your mind once you find someone. once you get older. when, blah blah blah. i’m nearly 34 and just really don’t want them, and i always knew that was ok, but it sure is refreshing to read your words along with the others above and make me realize there are many of us out there.
growing up, i was the oldest of 4, had a zillion cousins, babysat all through preteen/teen years, and thought maybe someday, bc at that age i had no clue and it was fun to pretend. but come college, my mind frame really started to shift, and i just love time to myself TOO much. i work with kids all day long now, and its great, but i’m more than happy to leave work and leave them and take care of just me.
anyways, i really loved this :) and the cake!
I love that you wrote about this. I am 30 years old and married. I have spent the majority of my life as a caregiver from taking care of my brothers to now being a physical therapist. I really love providing for people, and I feel totally satisfied doing that. So I frequently get the “you’d be such a good mom” comment, and I feel like it diminishes the value of the caregiver I play in other aspects of my life. I even asked my mom, “why can’t I still be a good physical therapist, friend, wife, daughter, sister, etc, and not be a mom? It isn’t the ultimate role to reflect your value as a caregiver.” And despite that, I still got the “you’ll change your mind.” haha (but that’s just my mom hoping for grandchildren) Thank you for sharing that, because when I hear about women who feel similarly, I feel supported.
I love that you are brave enough to share your stories like this–to really bare your emotions. I’m young, but I’m also teetering back and forth on the child debate, some days firmly on one side, some days on the other. I respect your thoughts, and you’re a wonderful, fulfilled woman! xoxo (but also this cake is gorgeous, and it has all my favorite flavors in it. Will DEFINITELY be making!)
It’s good to experience both feelings about children! And I think whatever the end result will be, it will suit you well. All the love!
AND ALSO HOLY SHIT THIS CAKE!! I’M SPEECHLESS,
I love this post 11/10!! There were times where I had this overwhelming desire for kids – and times I didn’t. I’m on the path for kids, half way through this first pregnancy, and I am very excited about this path – but I know it’s not for everyone and it takes a conscious decision either way to decide where you want to be. And that should be one of the most freeing decisions you can make as an individual. I am proud of the friends who have kids, and PROUD of the friends that know it’s not for them and I respect everyone equally because they are doing what is best for them. You are incredible and I am in awe of you every day – I mean that.
There will always be judgements by outsiders (trust me I got the “you better start now!”) but there was shit I wanted to do first. And damn it, I am doing my life on my terms and so happy that we followed the path we did. And I am glad you are following your arrow, too.
Continue to be a great example of LIVING YOUR TRUTH, I am over here loving you more for it friend.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful and empowering thoughts on this subject. We should all have the right to choice without being judged for it. Even though I think I may want kids eventually (faaar down the road), I am firm in my decision to wait a while in order to live my life, travel, pursue dance and all of my other interests. I don’t think it makes me selfish, and if it does, so be it. We have the right to put ourselves first in these situations! I get so much pressure and questioning in Morocco about why I’m not having kids right away since I am now married and it drives me absolutely crazy. Not everyone will understand, so all we can do is have peace and happiness in our own decisions. Much love to you (and for this gorgeous cake, by the way <3) xx
Thank you so much for sharing this! I hear ALL THE TIME “oh, I didn’t want kids when I was your age, but your feelings will change.” Well, maybe they will, and that’s fine to say, but don’t just dismiss what I feel with this certainty that because YOU wanted kids, because it’s the societal NORM to want kids, that I will therefore want kids too. I happen to love children, and there are plenty of warm and fuzzy thoughts that I can conjure up around having them, but still, I do not want them. I have felt this way for as long as I can remember, and it’s a pretty certain feeling. If it ever changes down the road, that’s fine, but I would just love for it to be OKAY to not want kids, too. For people to be respectful of that choice. So, yes. Yes yes yes. Thank you for writing this. :)
yes, that respect piece. it’s what i find lacking in some, intentionally or not. sometimes i think they are just so shocked that someone chooses to go a different route, they can’t wrap their head around it. and you’re right – it feels really shameful when people dismiss your feelings. thanks for sharing your perspective, willow. xo
Simply beautiful cake with a delicious grain:)
thank you, Mary. i have fallen in love with teff, recipe after recipe! xo
beautiful cake. seriously, just about every good thing all rolled into one and so pretty to look at. and thank you for sharing your story and perspective. <3
thank you so much for stopping by. and reading. it means a lot when i’ve shared something so personal. xo
There is a word that I’ve heard people use when describing how important it is to take time for yourself … it’s not selfish, it’s self-ist. So many women (myself included) give up their own self identity and everything that makes them happy for others (in my case it was my family) that they become nothing but a shell of a human being. For me it led to a divorce because my husband and I just grew apart as the needs of the children totally overtook everything and there was nothing left of me. I have since re-discovered myself and learned that in order to give and teach and help others, I need to first give to myself. By doing that, I can better help my children, strategize with my now ex-husband for the success of our children, perform better at work, and bring peace and joy to everyone around me. I don’t know you, but I can tell by reading your post that this is true for you as well. It’s okay. Not all of us need to have children. I didn’t plan to have children either. For me, it just happened–I’m glad that it did, but I would have been content if it hadn’t too. My kids both tell me they are not going to have children, and I’m okay with that. I just want them to find a life that fulfills them, whether or not that involves having children. Thanks for sharing your truth.
Amanda, I really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing something so personal. It reminds me of some of the conversations we had in Salt Lake City. :) One thing that’s always bothered me (maybe as a result of waiting until I’m “old” to try to have children and hearing the S-word a lot) is the idea that not having children is inherently selfish. I think you would agree, but I noticed you used the word “selfishly” in one of the paragraphs, so I just want to remind you that you’re not selfish for this. I think it’s more generous and thoughtful and intentional to make that decision than it is to bring children into the world only to always complain about the time spent caring for them. You are a special person, and you’re not selfish. Love to you friend! XO
Thank you for sharing your beautiful story!
As someone who didn’t want children for the exact same reasons, and then found myself with a child, I have to say: it is SO much work. Your concerns about having children are 100% correct. My selfishness is in a struggle with my maternal instinct EVERY SINGLE DAY. I stare at other moms at the park who are fulfilled by just being a mom. They stay home and take care of their children, and that’s enough for them. And I’m jealous. It’s not enough for me. I want to work, live my life creatively, play, explore the world, AND bring this baby into it. I don’t regret having Camille for one second. Not at all. But I also am not giving up as much of my life as I thought I would have to, though I have given up some.
Having children is so much work, and sometimes I think people tell each other to have babies or’ have another baby’ because they want them to join them in the misery. Yes, sometimes they say ‘you should have a baby’ when things are great, but most of the time, when I think back–it’s because they want to relate to someone else on the sleepless nights, the lack of showers, the lack of personal time, etc. But I’m just not that kind of mom.
Here’s the thing: you’re a beautiful soul living your best life. There’s nothing this world needs more. BUT, if for some reason you do get pregnant, know that a minivan life with self-sacrifice doesn’t have to be your life. You know what I’m saying? You don’t have to give it all up. You do have to give some of it up, but not as much as other people make you think. You would find a way to be a mom in your own way, like I have. I bring Camille everywhere with me–even places most people wouldn’t bring kids, but that’s just me. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with never taking the step either. It’s YOUR life :)
Love you, girl <3
It’s been so long since I actually commented on a blog post but I felt like it should be done here – not facebook :-)
1) I just love the combination of pistachios and cardamom and you’re right it does not turn your baked goods green like you think it would but the taste is completely worth it. Especially when you grind up those pistachios yourself.
2) Totally, absolutely connecting with you on choosing to be childless. I did the same as you, caring for the neighborhood children in high school, was a camp counselor for years but there was no maternal instinct. I love my nieces and nephews dearly but early on I knew I didn’t want children. A partner in life for sure but it was going to be one that was going to think the same way as me. I don’t really think it’s selfish at all, it would be selfish to bring a child into the world when you didn’t necessarily care for them to begin with.
Bravo, sister! Happily childless by choice here and not a single second of regret. And yes, I got and still get all those damn comments. I like my life on my terms but children demand it on their terms and that wasn’t going to work for me. Nice cake, too. :)
Wow, thanks so much for sharing Amanda. I think it’s so important we (women) respect each other –our decisions, our lives, our fate. As well as be kind to each other!
Amanda- THIS. It’s like you’ve written the words and thoughts that swirl around in my head on a daily basis. I can so relate. From the exact same feelings about babysitting as a teenager to being ok with being selfish about what I want from my life as an adult. Thank you for writing it. I saw this cake recipe in my feed earlier and knew I wanted to check out the post because it had my name written all over it and now I surely won’t forget it :)
Those thoughts swirled around too long in my head. They needed to come out, and I’m so glad we could connect through them. It’s freakin’ hard to be a woman, no matter what the decision is… it’s that we have to make so many, or they’ve been decided for us when we really want to choose. Ugh. All the love, xo.
Amanda, I love this!!! As someone who has two kids (and loves them :) ) I tell my friends all the time to do what feels right, not what’s expected. And while I’ve been married before, I have zero interest in getting married again. Not because I’m bitter or I haven’t found the right man, but because I want to spend the last half of my life being selfish (if that’s what we want to call it?) and focusing on what I find fulfilling. People tell me all the time that it’s because I haven’t found the right person…which is dismissive. We need to encourage each other to follow our gut and listen to our own intuition and do what’s right for each of us!! Sending you lots of love + light! xox
Amanda, it takes even more courage to be true to yourself and not succumb to society’s plan for you, even if that means not fulfilling your parent’s dreams. Now that I have a daughter, I have to recognize that perhaps one day this will be her path in life and I must accept every choice she makes, even if it’s not part of my own. Thank you for sharing your story, and for your honesty.
Liren, that is such a lovely perspective, of acceptance for your own daughter no matter what she chooses. I can imagine how hard that would be, because you know how fulfilling it is to be a mother as well. Thank you for sharing, xo!
Amanda, you resonate with me! I’m also childless by choice. I have been maternal, but it’s been more towards the animals I feed in my backyard like the squirrels and birds, heehee. I feel you about independence. I honor and love all women’s choices. Blessings to you!
Same! I have all the love to give to cats. And goats. And the list goes on! Thanks for commenting, blessings to you as well. xo
Aww, I love the goats too heehee! xo
I adore you and that you shared this, so so much. I’m a firm believer that having children is a choice that should be taken by each individual and not something that is a ‘given’ to happen in life. While I still waffle between ‘maybe?’ and ‘maybe not’ most days for a lot of the same reasons you’ve decided not to have children. I know that when I do make whatever decision I make, I’ll be firmly held in knowing it’s the right one for me. You are one of the loveliest women I know and your love knows no bounds when it comes to others, so I’m forever grateful to call you a friend my dear! Many love and hugs, and a few slices of cake too. xoxo
I love your heart and honesty, and I whole heartedly believe having children is NOT what makes the woman. The world needs much love and nurturing, and you give much. Thank you for sharing this. Also, I’ve never used Teff flour! Need to order some asap! XO
It makes you, you and an amazing you at that. It makes you the very best friend someone could ask for – someone who has time and energy to take care of all the important friends and people in her life. Mutual caring doesn’t have to take the form of children – it can be other friends, other relationships. And you do all of that marvelously better than most. Love you.
yes yes yes! thank you for sharing your story, and in such a graceful way that respects that we should all get to make this choice for ourselves.
also, i love cardamom and this cake sounds amazing! i think you’ve convinced me to try teff flour. :-)
that means a lot Kate. i wanted to recognize and honor the many different situations that children pose as women.
and yes, teff flour – it’s magic! my go-to gf flour for sure. xo
Thank you for sharing your story. I did want kids but at 43 decided I did not want to start that late (the year I got married). I feel SO much judgement from people as they try to talk me into it. And I don’t feel like it is anyone’s business … it is so personal that unless you are a close friend you shouldn’t even be asking. I realize that it is a common topic of conversation especially after just getting married, but like you said, everyone has their story and for many it may be painful. Do I really have to tell you we have been trying for years or we have had several miscarriages and decided not to try … thanks for bringing up something so painful! Thankfully those aren’t my stories but they are SO many women’s stories.
Alexis, thank you for sharing too. It is interesting to hear from the viewpoint of someone who was in your situation, and made the decision based on several factors. I’m sure that was difficult. But it sounds like you are in a beautiful relationship and finding ways to fulfill your life together. xo
Beautiful cake, I hope to try teff out when I’m back on grains one day! Thanks for opening up, darling- it’s all so true and it’s always best to know and accept your truth vs. forcing something that doesn’t feel right and ruining lives over it!! All women feel the guilt or the pressure and I’m over it… idk what’s meant for me, I do want to try but will make peace either way and try not to feel guilty if I can’t. It’s sad that it’s so hard and awkward sometimes, just another forced responsibility on women for us to have to worry about!! But standing firm on your beliefs and sharing helps support us all to do the same. Xoxox
Amanda, I can’t even begin to express just how much I love and appreciate this post. I too have never EVER wanted children, and I know I’ll never have them in my lifetime – personal choice, and no one should ever make someone feel bad about that (if anything, people should be applauding us for this choice – there’s an overpopulation problem in the world as it is). I’m very lucky that my family has always been 100% supportive of my decision. So while I also love the delectable pistachio cake recipe you shared, I’m especially grateful for your childless choice story. THANK YOU. xx
Liz, thanks for sharing your thoughts. And so wonderful that your family is 100% supportive. Mine has gotten there now, and respects my decision. I’m thankful for that, as it has made our relationship better. All the love, xo.
Amanda, I truly love your perspective on the decision to not have children. Not all of us are cut out for the role! I really respect your opinions and your honesty – it’s a breath of fresh air! There is nothing about “having to have kids” that makes a woman a woman. Go you :)
Thank you, Kasey. Your words mean a lot. It’s hard being a woman, with so many scenarios and decisions we are faced with, or outcomes we didn’t choose. That’s why I think it’s so important that we talk about them all. xo
I just want to say thank you for sharing this. I have always been in the same boat on not wanting children, and frequently am told (still) that I will change my mind.
Please don’t think your decision is selfish. There are more than enough people in this world, and there are so many ways to give of yourself to others without having children of your own.
Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts Jolene, and I’m glad we could connect about this. And you are so right about giving in other ways! I often feel like a mother, in the best of ways, to some of the adults and friends in my life. That is fulfilling. xo