Pistachio cake is an underrated dessert flavor. Is it because of the green? Or because it’s a nut? More people should give pistachio a chance. Pistachios pair wonderfully with almond and vanilla flavors, not to mention butter and sugar. (What doesn’t?) In fact, did you know that pistachio flavored ice cream gets most of its flavor from almond extract? We’re definitely using that in today’s pistachio cake.
Pistachio Cake Ingredients
We use my favorite white cake as a starting point for today’s pistachio cake. You’ll notice many similar ingredients, plus a few extras that turn white cake into pistachio cake.
- Pistachios: Instead of relying on artificial pistachio flavor in today’s cake, let’s take pistachios and grind them into a crumb. I know what you’re thinking. Hard chunks of nuts in cake? Actually no– the pistachio crumbs become really soft and buttery. 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.
- Cake Flour: Cake flour provides the cake’s structure. Cake flour is almost 30x finer than all-purpose flour. Using it is a surefire way to achieve a delicate and delicious texture. I use slightly less cake flour in this recipe compared to my white cake because of the pistachio crumbs. It’s sold in the baking aisle and you can use the rest of the box in any of these recipes that use cake flour. In a pinch, use this homemade cake flour substitute.
- Baking Powder & Baking Soda: Use both leaveners to help the cake rise.
- Salt: Salt adds flavor.
- Butter: Butter adds moisture and flavor, and creates a tender crumb. Use room temperature butter.
- Sugar: We use granulated sugar to sweeten this cake.
- Egg Whites: Use ONLY egg whites. No yolks. Only using egg whites ensures that the crumb is not weighed down by the fat in egg yolks. Think about it: lighter confections such as marshmallows and angel food cakes only require egg whites. Same story here.
- Sour Cream & Milk: Both keep the cake ultra moist. I recommend whole milk and full-fat sour cream for best taste and texture.
- Vanilla & Almond Extracts: Use both pure vanilla extract and almond extract for truly outstanding flavor. Almond extract enhances the pistachio flavor, so don’t leave it out!
- Milk: Milk creates an ultra moist cake.
Overview: How to Make Pistachio Cake
- Make pistachio crumbs. Use your food processor to break down the nuts. The goal is a super fine pistachio crumb. If you go too far, you’ll end up with pistachio butter. Add a little honey; it’s delicious on toast. But not what we want in our pistachio cake.
- Combine the dry ingredients together. Include 1 and 1/2 cups of pistachio crumbs.
- Cream the butter and sugar together. Add the egg whites, sour cream, and extracts.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients together.
- Pour in the milk. Mix just until combined– the batter will be slightly thick.
- Bake. These cakes take about 21-23 minutes in the oven.
- Let the cakes cool completely.
- Make the cream cheese frosting.
- Assemble and decorate the cake.
- Refrigerate. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30-45 minutes before slicing. This helps the cake keep its shape when cutting.
Culled from Sally’s Baking Addiction head over to her blog for more exciting recipes.