Oh man, I have a serious love affair with citrus cakes, especially lemon and especially Starbucks lemon loaf cake. But this time my mission was to make two giant navel oranges disappear from the fruit basket. A good manly squeeze and some fresh thyme is all it took along with some roasted pistachios to come up with this Orange Thyme and Pistachio Butter Cake.

Moist yellow cake with an orange floral flavor

I’m a huge fan of using herbs in desserts,  check out the links at the end of this post and see some other herb infused recipes. If you do decide to create a dessert and add herbs, just make sure you use fresh and not dried. Fresh herbs always have more flavor and add them in your mix at the very last stage of mixing. Rosemary, thyme, basil and lavender are all safe bets to use so next time you end up baking in the kitchen, throw in some herbs and see what happens!

orange and thyme keep this cake light and full of flavor

I topped the cake with a really thin orange glaze, because who doesn’t need more orange flavor. In fact I loved this cake so much I’m having a slice for breakfast right now as I finish writing this post! That’s right, when I should have been hitting the publish button last night I was snoring like a bull beside the kids. After waking up at 1 am with a horrible stiff neck and seconds of “Where the heck am I?” It was back to bed for me.

Delicious and light, this orange and thyme cake is so summery



Delicious orange and thyme yellow cake


Check out these other herb flavored desserts!

Rhubarb and Rosemary Crisp

Roasted Orange and Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender and Honey Streusel Coffee Cake

Blackberry and Rosemary Coffee Cake

Blackberry Skillet Crumble with Thyme



Moist yellow cake with an orange floral flavor

Orange Thyme and Pistachio Butter Cake

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 12
Super buttery and citrus-y cake with a hint of thyme and pistachio flavor
Print Recipe


  • 1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter soft 4oz
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • The zest of two medium navel oranges
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios plus two tablespoons for garnishing on top
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 9 inch springform pan or cake tin.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together and set aside.
  • Using a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it turns light and fluffy. This is important so don't rush. It may take 10 minutes.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, mixing and scraping down after each one is added.
  • Using a wooden spoon now, alternately fold the flour mixture with the sour cream into the mixture.
  • Add the vanilla, orange zest, thyme and pistachios and fold.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when gently pushed.
  • Mix the powdered sugar and orange juice together with a whisk until all the lumps have dissolved.
  • Once the cake is cool, spread the glaze over the top of the cake and sprinkle with the leftover chopped pistachios.


You can serve this cake with some whipped cream or make extra orange glaze and pour it over each slice.