Baking Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake Recipe 1


  • 2 cups (260g) unsalted pistachios (out of shells)
  • 2 and 1/3 cups (250g) sifted cake flour (spoon & leveled)*
  • 2 teaspoonbaking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and 3/4 cups (350g) granulated sugar
  • 5 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120g) sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoonpure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk, at room temperature*
  • cream cheese frosting
  • optional: 1 tiny drop green food coloring*
  • optional: garnishes such as berries and leftover pistachios


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease and lightly flour three 9-inch cake pans.
  2. Make the cake: Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until ground up into very fine crumbs. See photo above for a visual. You’ll have about 1 and 1/2 cups of crumbs. (If you have more than that, set aside for garnish.)
  3. Pour 1 and 1/2 cups of pistachio crumbs in a large bowl. Whisk in the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle or whisk attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, pour in the milk (and the green food coloring, if using) and mix just until combined. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  5. Pour batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 21-23 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  6. Make the frosting: Prepare the cream cheese frosting (see note below).
  7. Assemble and decorate: Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface. Discard (or crumble over ice cream!). Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand, cake turntable, or serving plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting. Top with 2nd layer and evenly cover the top with more frosting. Top with the third cake layer. Spread the frosting all over the top and sides. (I used a bench scraper to smooth out the sides.) Decorate with garnishes, if desired. Refrigerate for at least 30-45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake keep its shape when cutting.
  8. Cover leftover cake tightly and store in the refrigerator for 5 days.


  1. Make Ahead Instructions: The cake layers can be baked, cooled, and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Likewise, the frosting can be prepared then covered and refrigerated overnight. Let it sit at room temperature to slightly soften for 10 minutes before assembling and frosting. Frosted cake or unfrosted cake layers can be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before decorating/serving.
  2. Special Tools: KitchenAid Stand Mixer, KitchenAid Hand Mixer, Ninja Food Processor, 9-inch Round Cake Pans, Whisk, Cake Turntable, Straight Icing Spatula, Bench Scraper, and Marble Cake Stand
  3. Pistachios: I usually use unsalted raw pistachios. However, the cake is still sweet even if you use salted pistachios. Salted actually adds extra flavor! You can use roasted or raw (not roasted), whichever you prefer.
  4. Cake Flour: Sift cake flour before measuring. If you can’t get your hands on cake flour, use this homemade cake flour substitute. I suggest doing this 3x, then remove 2/3 cup since you need 2 and 1/3 cups in this recipe.
  5. Full Fat Ingredients: Whole milk and full-fat sour cream are strongly recommended for the best taste and texture. A full-fat plain yogurt would work instead, though the cake may not be as light. Same goes with a lower fat milk.
  6. Food Coloring: While the pistachio crumbs tint the batter light green, I added 1 *very teeny* drop of green food coloring to help brighten the green color. This is completely optional!
  7. My recipe for cream cheese frosting will be enough to decorate your cake like I did in these photos. Minimal on the edges with more frosting inside and on top of the cake. Do you want more frosting? If so, make the amount of cream cheese frosting included in my carrot cake recipe.
  8. Room Temperature Ingredients: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. For more information, read my post about the importance of room temperature ingredients.
  9. Bundt Pan: This cake batter will fit in a 10-12 cup bundt pan, but I’m unsure of the exact bake time. Use a toothpick to test for doneness.
  10. Here are my pistachio cupcakes!

Pistachio Cake Recipe 2


For the cake:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix, (or white/yellow cake mix)
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant pistachio pudding
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 cup milk
  • green food coloring optional

For the frosting:

  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant pistachio pudding
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 (8 oz) tub frozen whipped topping (COOL WHIP), thawed


To make the cake:

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, combine dry cake mix with dry instant pistachio pudding.
  • Mix those together until combined.
  • Then add in eggs, oil and milk.
  • Stir just until combined.
  • Stir in about 6 to 8 drops of green food coloring until fully incorporated.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes. If you insert a toothpick into it, it should come out clean when done.
  • Allow cake to cool completely before making frosting.

To make frosting:

  • Pour instant pistachio pudding mix into a mixing bowl.
  • Add in 1/2 cup cold milk.
  • Stir until combined.
  • Now stir in the thawed whipped topping.
  • Put in a few drops of green food coloring to really bring out that green color. About 5 drops or so.
  • Spread frosting onto cooled cake.
  • Slice and serve. If you like, sprinkle with some crushed pistachios.

Pistachio Cake Recipe 3


  • 1 cup pistachios, roasted, shelled, unsalted (130g)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
  • 1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (113g)
  • 3/4 cup granulated white sugar (150g)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup sour cream (60g)
  • 2 vanilla beans* (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/2 cup milk (120ml)

OPTIONAL: orange pistachio syrup

  • 1/3 cup pistachios, roasted, shelled, salted (43g)
  • 1/4 cup granulated white sugar (50g)
  • 1 large orange – zest and juice


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of a 9″ (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

  2. Place pistachios in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Don’t grind too long. Otherwise, it turns into a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.

  3. In a large mixing bowl with a stand or handheld mixer fitted with a whisk or paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar until creamy for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 egg at the time and mix until incorporated. Add sour cream and vanilla* and stir to combine. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.

  4. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and bake for about 25-28 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 20 minutes. Then transfer to a wire rack to let cool completely.

  5. Orange pistachio syrup (OPTIONAL): In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, cook pistachios, sugar, orange juice, and orange zest until sugar is completely dissolved and syrup coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes.

  6. Pour syrup over cooled cake slices just before serving. Store leftover cake in an airtight container at room temperature up to 2 days. Reheat leftover syrup to liquefy again, if necessary.


Pistachio Cake Recipe 4