Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake provides a surprising flavor twist on a basic layer cake.

Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
25 min
Recipe by
Minette Rushing
Minette Rushing Cakes
Savannah, GA


2 cups (260g) all-purpose flour
⅓ cup (40g) ground unsalted pistachio nuts
2½ tsp. (12g) baking powder
½ tsp. (2.4g) baking soda
½ tsp. (3g) salt
5 lg. (250g) eggs, separated
¾ cup (170g) Plugrá® Premium Butter, unsalted, softened
1¾ cups (350g) granulated sugar, divided
¼ cup (56g) vegetable oil
1 tbsp. (14g) pistachio paste
1 tsp. (5g) vanilla extract
1 cup (245g) whole buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting

1½ cups (340g) cream cheese, softened
¾ cup (170g) Plugrá®Premium Butter, unsalted, softened
3 tbsp. (42g) pistachio paste
½ tsp. vanilla extract
6 cups (720g) powdered sugar
Cake: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 3 8-inch pans.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, ground pistachio nuts, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Whisk together to incorporate.
Separate eggs. Place the yolks into a small bowl. Reserve whites in a medium bowl; set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter on medium speed for 2 minutes using the paddle attachment. Add 1¼ cups sugar and continue beating on medium for 3 to 4 minutes or until light and creamy.
Add oil until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl. Add egg yolks, one at a time. Beat until fully incorporated. Add pistachio paste and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl, as needed.
Add the flour mixture to the batter in three parts alternately with the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Take care to not overbeat.
If you only have 1 mixer bowl, transfer the cake batter to a large bowl and clean the mixer bowl well, making sure there are no traces of butter or oil. Beat the egg whites on in that bowl on high speed using the whisk attachment until medium peaks form. Add the remaining ½ cup sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Stir ⅓ of the beaten egg white into the cake batter. Fold the remaining egg whites into the cake batter in 2 batches, until incorporated.
Pour into prepared pans and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Let cakes rest for 15 minutes and turn out onto cooling racks. When they are still a little warm, wrap them in plastic wrap and let them finish cooling.
Cream Cheese Frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter at in an electric stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed until smooth.
Add pistachio paste and vanilla extract, beat until blended.
Gradually add powdered sugar. Beat on medium-high speed until smooth, scraping bowl occasionally.
Place one layer of the cake, bottom side down, on a serving plate, spread with frosting. Top with a second layer of cake and spread with additional frosting. Top with the third layer, bottom side up. Spread a thin layer of frosting on the sides of the cake to seal in any loose crumbs then spread the remaining frosting onto the top and sides of the cake. Store in refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Return any leftovers to the refrigerator for storage.
Pistachio Paste
To make 4 tablespoons pistachio paste, purée ½ cup of unsalted pistachio nuts with 1½ teaspoons vegetable oil in a small food processor or electric coffee grinder.