These Vanilla Pistachio and Strawberry Mini Loaf Cakes are a great choice for entertaining. The easy to make cakes have a buttermilk and vanilla base, and they are studded with chopped pistachios and strawberries. I used freeze dried strawberries in these cakes, which give nice pops of both color and strawberry flavor without weighing down the crumb or making it soggy.
While I typically prefer to use toasted nuts in my recipes, I opted for raw pistachios in this one. Raw pistachios have a nice sweetness to them and a vibrant green color, both of which I wanted to capture here to contrast with the strawberries.
Mini loaf cakes are a little bit cuter than their full-size counterparts, but they offer a few other advantages, as well. For instance, they bake a little bit more quickly, saving you time in the kitchen, and can be better for sharing. Even though the quantity of batter is the same in a batch of mini loaf cakes as it is in a full sized cake, the mini size allows you to get more creative with the serving and presentation. You can deliver a whole mini loaf to one person (or perhaps two), or cut it into individual slices as a snack during a party. The smaller slices seem easier to serve and eat – even though my observations have not been scientific, but merely observational – meaning that more people seem to reach for them when they’re out on a dessert tray.
The finished loaves are both adorable and delicious. They have a buttery, soft crumb and a nice distribution of nuts and berries. I love the pops of color in the vanilla cake. Each mini cake should really serve 2-3 people, but you can easily stretch it by making the slices smaller. I don’t usually top these with anything, but a drizzle of vanilla glaze would be a nice way to dress them up and add some extra sweetness to the cakes.
Vanilla, Pistachio and Strawberry Mini Loaf Cakes
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup finely chopped raw pistachios
1/2 cup freeze dried strawberries, finely chopped
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease three 3×5-inch mini muffin pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and creamy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, followed by vanilla extract. Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the buttermilk. Stir in the remaining flour mixture along with the pistachios and strawberries, mixing until no streaks of flour remain and the nuts and berries have been evenly distributed.
Divide batter evenly into prepared mini loaf pans.
Bake for 35 minutes, or until loaves are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.
Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
Makes 3 mini loaves; serves 6-9.