Deliciously easy Pistachio Cake made from scratch. This soft and tender Pistachio Cake is an easy, no-mixer recipe made using real pistachio nuts. Dust it with icing sugar or pair it with our creamy, four-ingredient, blackberry mascarpone cream frosting.
The ultimate Pistachio Cake 💚
A soft and tender, one layer Pistachio Cake made from scratch. This gorgeous cake is filled with ground pistachios and is topped with a cloud-like, blackberry mascarpone cream frosting.
It’s surprisingly moist and stays that way for days, making it the perfect make-ahead cake for easy entertaining. And it tastes better than any cake mix!
It’s now my go-to cake for morning or afternoon tea.
why you will love this recipe
- The cake is an easy, no mixer recipe
- Made from scratch using real pistachios
- Stays moist and tender for days
- Topped with a creamy, four-ingredient frosting
This year I’ve been trying to challenge myself to bake with new ingredients and try different flavour combinations. I have such a raging sweet tooth that most of my earlier recipes involve chocolate and candy and more chocolate.
But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become far more appreciative of citrus and more nuanced flavours in my baking from fresh and dried fruits and nuts.
So I couldn’t wait to tackle a Pistachio Cake recipe next. During the testing process, I found my first attempts to be a little dry. The flavour was great, but the texture lacking. And you all know our policy around here for dry cakes 🙅♀️
So after a couple of attempts, I decided to take inspiration from my oh-so-popular Apple Cake and use oil as my base fat, rather than butter. The result was surprisingly good.
The Pistachio Cake still had a sweet, nutty flavour, but it was soft and tender from the middle, all the way to the crust – just what I was looking for.
Truth be told, this cake is lovely on its own, dusted with icing sugar and served with a dollop of cream. Or you could use a cream cheese frosting.
But when I was recipe testing this cake, I had a dream that it was served with a whipped cream frosting that had swirls of blackberry jam 😆 (100% true story).
So when I woke up I knew what I had to do. And trust me, this four-ingredient mascarpone cream frosting is HEAVEN and pairs perfectly with this Pistachio Cake recipe.
pistachio cake ingredients
Here’s a list of everything you’ll need to make this easy Pistachio Cake from scratch.
- Pistachios: Use shelled pistachios that are not salted. You can use raw or toasted pistachios. While some recipes call for chopped pistachios, I prefer to blitz them in a food processor to make them finer.
- Caster sugar: Or granulated sugar.
- Plain flour: Or all purpose flour.
- Fresh lemon zest
- Baking powder
- Vegetable oil: Or another flavourless oil.
- Vanilla extract: While some recipes call for almond extract, I prefer vanilla extract so it doesn’t overwhelm the core pistachio flavour.
- Milk: Whole or full fat milk is best.
- Greek yogurt: Use full fat Greek or natural-style yogurt.
I don’t use any green food colouring in this recipe.
how to make pistachio cake
This cake is a simple, mix and stir recipe. You don’t even need an electric mixer to make the cake itself. Here’s how to make it in four simple steps – more detailed instructions can be found below in the recipe card.
- Use a food processor to grind the pistachios until they form chunky, but fine crumbs.
- In a large bowl, stir together ground pistachios, sugar, flour, lemon zest, baking powder and salt.
- In a separate mixing bowl, add oil, vanilla, eggs, milk and yogurt. Whisk with a fork just to break up the egg yolks.
- Gently mix together wet and dry ingredients until a smooth cake batter forms.
mascarpone cream frosting
Our four-ingredient mascarpone cream frosting is going to be your new favourite thing. It’s so quick and easy to make, and it pairs beautifully with this Pistachio Cake. It’s also a great alternative to buttercream or other very sweet frostings.
Here’s what you will need:
- Thickened cream: Or heavy cream or whipping cream. Look for a cream that is at least 35% fat and it should say on the product that it is suitable for whipping. Do not use light or low fat cream.
- Mascarpone cream: If you don’t have access to mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche would be the next best thing. Or you can leave it out entirely and just have a whipped cream frosting.
- Vanilla extract
- Blackberry jam: Or jam of your choice.
frequently asked questions
You can use either, as long as they are NOT salted. For ease, I prefer to use raw pistachios.
Yes! You can dust this cake with icing or powdered sugar, drizzle it with honey or serve it alongside a dollop of whipped cream. But our mascarpone cream frosting makes this Pistachio Cake extra special.
Once frosted, this cake is best kept covered in an airtight container in the fridge. Without frosting, the cake itself can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
Yes. This recipe can easily be doubled to make a spectacular 8-inch layer cake. Or you can use the recipe as is to make a two layer 6-inch cake.
Easy Pistachio Cake made from real pistachios covered with a four-ingredient mascarpone cream frosting.
- 130 grams (1 cup) whole pistachios, shelled not salted
- 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar or granulated sugar
- 140 grams (1 cup) plain flour or all purpose flour
- Zest of 1 large lemon, finely grated
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 60 ml (1/4 cup) full fat milk or whole milk
- 60 ml (1/4) full fat Greek yogurt or natural yogurt
Mascarpone cream frosting
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) thickened or heavy cream
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2–3 tablespoons good quality blackberry jam
- Pistachio cake
Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F) standard / 160 C (320 F) fan-forced. Grease and line an 8-inch round cake pan with baking or parchment paper.
- Use a food processor to pulse the pistachios until they become fine (but still a little chunky) crumbs (see photo below). Try not to over-mix or the pistachios will turn into a paste.
- In a large mixing bowl, add caster sugar, flour, lemon zest, baking powder and salt. Stir briefly to combine.
- In a separate bowl, add oil, vanilla, eggs, milk and yoghurt. Whisk briefly just to break up the egg yolks.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and gently mix with a spatula until combined – but be careful not to over-mix. Spoon cake batter into prepared pan.
- Bake cake for approximately 30-35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer cake to a wire rack to cool completely.
- Mascarpone cream frosting
In a medium mixing bowl, add cream, mascarpone and vanilla. Beat using an electric mixer on medium speed until mixture thickens.
- Dollop a couple of teaspoons of blackberry jam into the cream and gently swirl using a spoon. Spoon frosting over cake and use a small spatula to spread it out into one even layer.
- Add a few extra teaspoons of jam and swirl it into the frosting.
Pistachios: You can use either raw or toasted pistachios as long as they are NOT salted. Blitz them into small crumbs using a food processor. Don’t over-grind them or they will turn into a paste. See photo for visual reference.
Lemon zest: Or you can use orange zest if you prefer.
Thickened cream: Look for a cream that is at least 35% fat and it should say on the product that it is suitable for whipping. Do not use light or low fat cream.
Mascarpone cream: If you don’t have access to mascarpone cheese, creme fraiche is the next best thing. Or you can leave it out entirely and just have a whipped cream frosting.
Storage: Once frosted, this cake is best kept covered in an airtight container in the fridge. Without frosting, the cake itself can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature.
Cake pan size: You can use this recipe to make a one layer 8-inch cake, or a two layer 6-inch cake.