This easy Pistachio Cake recipe from scratch requires just 10 minutes of hands-on preparation time and 10 ingredients. Made with freshly ground pistachios. No artificial colors nor cake mix involved.
The added sour cream makes the Pistachio Cake super moist and soft. Instructions for Pistachio Cake Muffins provided.
The cake is really, really easy to make. Except for the pistachios, there are just basic ingredients in the cake which are almost always at home.
Start with the pistachios. I recommend buying roasted, shelled, unsalted pistachios for the most powerful green color. Place pistachios in a food processor and pulse into fine crumbs. Take care that you don't grind too long. Otherwise, it turns into a paste.
Transfer the ground pistachios together with flour, baking powder, and salt to a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Mix softened butter and sugar until fluffy, pale, and super creamy — about 2 minutes.
Add one egg at a time. Mix until combined before you add the next egg.
Add sour cream and vanilla and stir to combine.
Alternately add dry ingredients and milk. Start and end with dry ingredients.
The batter is very liquid.
Transfer to a parchment paper layered 9" baking pan. Bake for 25-28 minutes until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
The cake is very moist, spongy, and loaded with pistachio flavor. Pistachio Cake is best eaten on the second day because it needs a few hours until the taste is fully evolved.
In case you want to make muffins, line two 12 muffin pans with 16-18 cupcake liners and fill ¾ full with Pistachio Cake batter. This works best with an ice cream scoop or tablespoon. Bake muffins at 425°F / 220°C for 5 minutes then lower the temperature to 350°F / 175°C and bake additional 11-14 minutes or until a toothpick centered in the middle comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool completely. As long as they are still warm, they stick to the paper and don't come off the paper easily. If you let them sit overnight, you can easily peel off the paper.
The best frosting for this cake is chocolate cream cheese frosting. It is sweet, salty, chocolatey, and fits the pistachio taste of the cake just perfectly. If you are not in the mood for chocolate, I recommend a homemade orange pistachio syrup. Orange and pistachio is a great flavor combination. However you decide, I got you covered with both recipes.
Here you find the recipe for the chocolate cream cheese frosting which I used. I made just half of the frosting. The whole recipe would be too much for a single-layered cake. But if you doubled the recipe and made a double-layered cake, you would go with the full recipe.
The orange pistachio syrup is super easy to make. Cook roasted, salted, shelled pistachios, sugar, orange juice, and a bit of orange zest in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup coats the back of a spoon, about 3-4 minutes. Drizzle over the cake just before serving.
Store cake or muffins in an airtight container at room temperature. I recommend adding toppings just before serving. If you drizzle the orange syrup over the whole cake, it soaks through and gets wet.
If it is very warm and humid where you live, you may want to store the cake or muffins in the fridge. Let come to room temperature before serving and add toppings of your choice.
Pistachio Cake is always best eaten fresh. However, if you plan to freeze the whole cake, let it let cool completely. Then wrap tightly in plastic wrap twice. Then wrap in foil twice. Place the wrapped cake in a large freezer bag and remove as much air as possible. It freezes well up to 1 month.
To thaw, unwrap the cake, put it on a wire rack, and let stand at room temperature for 3-4 hours. Then transfer to an airtight container. Eat within 2 days.
To freeze single slices, tightly wrap each slice in plastic wrap twice. Then place in freezer bags and squeeze out all the air. Slices freeze well up to 1 month. For thawing, unwrap single slices and place uncovered on the counter for 1-2 hours. Do the same with the muffins.
Note: Do not add any toppings before freezing. Otherwise, it gets soggy at the top while thawing. Add toppings just before serving.
However, fresh Pistachio Cake is always better than a frozen one. I just want to repeat it.
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Recipe and Video
Pistachio Cake Recipe From Scratch
- 1 cup pistachios, roasted, shelled, unsalted (130g)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour (120g)
- 1 + ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter, softened (113g)
- ¾ cup granulated white sugar (150g)
- 3 large eggs
- ¼ cup sour cream (60g)
- 2 vanilla beans* (or 2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- ½ cup milk (120ml)
OPTIONAL: orange pistachio syrup
- ⅓ cup pistachios, roasted, shelled, salted (43g)
- ¼ cup granulated white sugar (50g)
- 1 large orange - zest and juice
- Preheat oven to 350°F / 175°C. Line the bottom and the sides of a 9" (23cm) springform pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Read the blog post for additional information on how to make, store, and freeze the cake, how to convert it into muffins, and which frosting goes with it. Find here a recipe for chocolate cream cheese frosting.
- Watch step-by-step photos to see the required consistency in every step.
- Watch the 32-seconds recipe video to see the whole process of making this recipe.