My Favorite Pistachio Cake

I came up with this cake a few months ago for Claude’s birthday since he loves pistachio-flavored everything. And ever since then, it’s been my most requested cake by my friends and family. This cake uses a box of pistachio pudding and chopped shelled pistachios so you know it’s extra pistachio-ey. I top this cake every time with a blackberry cream cheese frosting, but of course you could use any frosting you want!

Pistachio Cake

Yield: Two 9 inch cake rounds or one 9×13 inch sheet cake

Ingredients: 

  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 2 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 box (3.4 oz) instant pistachio pudding
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, chopped (I find that one bag from the store will produce more than enough chopped pistachios, and you’ll have some leftover for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two 9 inch cake rounds or one 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Lightly spray with cooking spray and lightly dust with flour so the cake doesn’t stick.
  2. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, sift or stir together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until it is fluffy and pale yellow in color, about five minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add in the vanilla extract.
  4. Begin adding your dry ingredients to the butter mixture in thirds, along with the milk in thirds: Stir in a third of the flour mixture and a third of the cup of milk into the butter mixture until it has all been incorporated, stopping to scrape the bowl as necessary.
  5. Stir in the box of pistachio pudding mix, and then gently stir in the chopped pistachios.
  6. Divide the batter evenly among the two pans, our pour the batter into one pan if you are using a 9×13. Bake two 9 inch rounds for 20-30 minutes, or bake a 9×13 pan for 30-35 minutes. When a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few dry crumbs, the cake is done.
  7. Allow to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pan and allow to cool completely.

Blackberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients:

  • One 6 oz container of blackberries (you will use all the blackberries for the frosting, so if you want more for garnish I would advise to buy another container of blackberries)
  • 10 oz full fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 – 3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Instructions: 

  1. Puree the blackberries in a food process or blender. Pour the puree through a mesh strainer over a bowl to catch the juice and separate the seeds. Set the bowl of puree aside.
  2. In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat the butter and cream cheese on high speed until combined and creamy. Add 3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar, the blackberry puree, vanilla, and salt and beat on a low speed to combine. Once everything has combined, beat on a high speed for two minutes. Note: this frosting is slightly runny, but it should still hold enough to smoothly frost the cake. Add the extra 1/2 cup of confectioner’s sugar if you feel like your frosting is too runny and won’t stay on the cake.
  3. Frost onto your cooled cake.

Recipe Notes

  • I assembled my cake in the picture by baking a 9×13 cake and stamping out the rounds with a cake ring (I talk about cake rings here). I then frosted the stamped out layers and assembled as normal. I like making a cake this way if I’m making it for a smaller crowd since it makes a more petite cake.
  • If you are wanting to pipe flowers on your cake like I did on mine, you will want to make a small separate batch of American buttercream. The cream cheese frosting used in this recipe is nice for frosting the cake, but it is not a stiff enough frosting for piping. I really like this recipe for American buttercream for piping and for frosting!
  • You don’t have to use the blackberry cream cheese frosting, but it is highly suggested because everyone loves it. I think plain cream cheese frosting, a honey mascarpone frosting, or even a coconut frosting would be really good with this cake, too. But something about the blackberry cream cheese really goes well with this cake.

Pistachio, Pistachio

Like I said above, the people in my life love this cake. Maybe I just have a lot of pistachio lovers in my family or something, but if a cake is needed for a function they always ask about this one. My granny called it “contest-winning”, although I haven’t entered it in any contests yet. But since she said that, I just might have to!

The pistachio pudding gives the cake a sweet-but-not-too-sweet pistachio ice cream flavor, and the chopped pistachios in the cake add a nice salty crunch. The pudding mix also serves as a nice shot of moisture to the cake, which is a hack you can incorporate into a lot of cakes if you wanted to try! You know why all of those box mixes advertise “Pudding IN the mix”? That’s why.

I always say I’m going to try this cake with a different type of frosting, but then I never do it. I just feel like it wouldn’t be my signature pistachio cake without the blackberry frosting, you know? I use a whole container of blackberries in the frosting because I wanted the blackberry flavor to be extremely present. Not a hint, not a smidge – I wanted ultra blackberry balanced with a hint of cream cheese. And making the frosting this way will give you exactly that!

On a totally different topic, you may have noticed that I got some Russian piping tips! They’re super fun, not that hard to use, and are fairly inexpensive to order off Amazon. I ordered these and I have been totally satisfied with them. If you’re wanting to watch some good tutorials of bakers using them, I highly suggest this video by CupcakeJemma and this video by Rosanna Pansino. I watched these two videos before piping and they really helped. I would suggest piping onto a plate or some parchment paper for practice.

Let me know if you make this cake and love it as much as I do!

 

 

 

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