ISO Pistachio Cake recipe

Joined Mar 4, 2000
Lotus Cake Studio sent me this post via email, because she's been having trouble posting on Chef Talk:

I've been on a nut cake binge lately (almond and hazelnut) and now I want to try pistachio (never had it before, but I love pistachios so I'm sure I'll like it in cake too). I've done several searches and all I find are recipes calling for artifically flavored pistiachio flavored pudding. I just made some pistachio flour and was going to mimic my hazelnut and almond cakes (just added the nut flour to a vanilla cake recipe, substituted half of the vanilla with respective nut extract, and voila!), but since I can't find pistachio extract, I don't think the flavor will be strong enough. I guess I could just add more nut flour and see what happens, but I'd like to see an established recipe just to get an idea of ratios.

Also, what kind of filling would go well with pistachio cake? I'm thinking saffron shrikand (Indian dessert which is basically strained yogurt sweetened and flavored) and iced with whipped cream, but any other ideas?
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Actually, that filling sounds exotic and delicious! I'd order it in a heartbeat.

I have a recipe for almond cream (for filling tarts and pithivier), which contains ground almonds, rather than almond paste. You can easily substitute any nut for the almonds. If you want the recipe, I'll gladly give it to you, but it's not a sponge cake, per se. Also, you can buy pistachio emulsion from a few of the wholesalers. Maybe you can see if it's something you can buy through work.

I also have a hazelnut cake recipe that gets its moisture from almond paste. The two nuts together make a wonderful combination, and I'm sure it would be equally good with pistachios. It is a great cake for filling and icing, and has a long shelf life. For the sake of time, I will only post these recipes if they interest you, so let me know. :)
Joined Mar 6, 2001
I think sub-ing in pistachio flour in a nut flour baked cake will be fine. I don't have a tried and true cake recipe using chopped pistachios in a cake, sorry. But I have added compound to other cake recipes and liked my results.

I really love the paste compounds, their addictive to me, like smelling a wonderful perfume. It's definately one of my favorite compound flavors.

Using chopped pistachios in your desserts are so subtle in flavor I always try to kick it up with some paste.

Pistachio goes well with chocolates, both light and dark. Adding saffron sounds wonderful! The more I think about it, I think pistachio would go well with most every flavor. It would be easier to think about something it wouldn't go with........but nothing leaps to mind.

I really love it in anglaises, custards and butter creams!
Joined Nov 27, 2001
I have a recipe for Pistachio Cake- it is actually Scott Clark Wooley's Hazelnut cake (with pistachio instead). I made this for a middle eastern couple who was getting married and filled it with alternating layers of raspberry jam and white chocolate bc. They loved it.

Pistachio cake

1 c. butter
1 3/4 c. sugar.

Beat in:
4 egg yolks

1 c. ground nuts

Mix in separate bowl:
2 c. all purpose flour
2 t. bp
1/2t. salt

Alternate adding dry ingredients and
1 c. buttermilk

To creamed mix and fold
4 stiff egg whites
into batter

Bake at 300* (YES- 300*) until done (about an hour for a 10" pan). Rest for 5 minutes, remove from pan and cover completely with plastic wrap. Let cool while wrapped. These are unconventional directions but they work. If you do not cover with plastic wrap it will be dry and hard. This is a moist dense cake if you follow the directions.
Joined Nov 10, 2000
I took some time off.... to experiment w/ different flavors. Pistachio was one of them.

Anna, I still need to try that Scott Wooleys recipe again. The last time I tried it was w/ hazelnut flour,instead of ground nuts. I still think that method of wrapping a cake up while hot is still funky to me. But, it seems like it works for you.

I baked Flo Brakers "Bakers Dozen" Hazelnut cake but substituted it w/ pistachios and used a little compound in it. Very buttery. I paired it with a raspberry puree and my white chocolate buttercream also. Lotus,It's made with yogurt. If you want the recipe, let me know.

I'm on a mission to try more nut recipes too.

W.DeBord.. what brand pistachio compound do you use?
Joined Mar 6, 2001
I've had several brands and liked all of them in pistachio. Nut flavorings in general don't seem to vary as much as fruit flavored compounds.

I can vouch for wrapping the hot cakes along with Anna W.. That techinque works great with his recipes. I'd use the recipe posted with-out hesitation.
Joined Mar 4, 2000
Originally posted by momoreg
Actually, that filling sounds exotic and delicious! I'd order it in a heartbeat.

Yay! Then I am definitely trying it with the shrikand. Just gotta get to the Indian grocery store for saffron that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

I have a recipe for almond cream (for filling tarts and pithivier), which contains ground almonds, rather than almond paste.

Is this frangipan or similar to frangipan? If so, I do have a frangipan recipe I have in my old school notes that calls for almond flour. I was even able to make it eggless and it came out pretty good!

Wendy, about how much paste do you add per pound of batter?

Anna, thanks for posting the recipe. I just went to NY to see 2 of his demos and he does A LOT of things unconventionally. Even a non-carpal tunnel way of holding a bag! I took his Business, Boxes, & Boards demo and we think almost identically on the business aspect of things, but I think he shocked the pants off some of the other attendees. Because he got into the evils of the government and then off on metaphysics tangents to drive his points home.

Well, I will try subbing my current nut cake recipe with pistachio flour. If it’s not what I’m looking for, I’ll try some pistachio paste. If *that* doesn’t work, then I’ll bug Momoreg and Spoons to post their recipes and give Scott’s a whirl too.
Joined Oct 9, 2002
Momoreg, I found this on though I was sure I pulled a recipe from Bon Apetit magazine (this one's from Gourmet). The reviews were mainly good, though I've not made this recipe.


If you are using salted pistachios, omit the 1/4 teaspoon salt in the ingredient list.

Active time: 30 min Start to finish: 1 hr

3/4cup shelled natural pistachios (4 oz)
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4teaspoon salt
1/2cup whole milk
1/4teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 13- by 9-inch metal cake pan, then line bottom with wax paper. Butter paper and dust pan with some flour, knocking out excess.

Pulse pistachios in a food processor until finely ground (be careful not to overprocess into a paste). Add 1 cup flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt and pulse once or twice to mix.

Combine milk and vanilla in a measuring cup.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Alternately add pistachio flour and milk in batches, beginning and ending with flour, and mix at low speed until just combined.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan and bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around sides of cake and invert onto rack. Remove paper and reinvert cake onto a platter. Cut into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooks' note:

• Cake can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely and keep, covered, at room temperature.

Makes 1 (13- by 9-inch) cake
May 2001
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Lotus I flavor according to my senses, everything depends upon other factors.....every formula/recipe would vary and how I was using it would also make a difference. Sorry.........

P.S. for me........., ktull I wouldn't use that much cardamom in a gently flavord cake like pistachio, unless I was looking for that strong ethnic/exotic taste. A little cardamom goes a long way.

P.S.S I'm betting on Scott W.'s recipe. AND... Lotus I would love to read any notes and details you have on that demo! PLEASE, please?
Joined Jan 15, 2001
I usually like to use a chiffon recipe and add nut flour to the batter. Just don't add too much so cake doesn't come out heavy.
Also, I like to use Amorretti flavoring compounds---they have just about any flavor you can imagine.
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