This light and tender Pistachio Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting is the prefect treat to enjoy with your friends and family this spring.
Children slipping and sliding through muddy puddles gives me anxiety. Unfortunately, early spring is full of that with the 5 foot mounds of black snow finally melting. The other day around 4, that very long hour between nap time and dinner, every kid and mom in the neighborhood was out enjoying the warm sun… and muddy grass.
Luckily, my daughter is cautious and doesn’t really go out of her way to get dirty. She’s not even 3 yet so that might change but I’m going to cross my fingers. I don’t like to get messy/dirty… especially my clothes. You’d think I’d be over it by now with two kids who have so generously shared every bodily fluid on me. But let’s talk about something clean, lovely, and delicious– this Pistachio Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting!
The batter for this cake is filled with finely chopped pistachios and then decorated with even more. I’m not gonna lie, it takes some time to remove the shell from that many pistachios (especially when you eat every third one) so if you’re not up for the task you can always buy them already shelled. So much easier and faster to add them to baked goods or salads. If you do decide to buy the pistachios in the shell make sure you don’t throw out the tightly closed ones. Just open them using this trick!
The honey cream cheese frosting on this cake is a little different than your typical cream cheese frosting because it is cooked and made with granulated sugar. Yes, it takes a little longer but it is so worth the wait! It is silky smooth and perfectly sweet (not sickening sweet with a pound of powdered sugar). If you’re looking for more honey frosting, try this one on my cornbread cupcakes.
I added blackberries to the top of the cake mostly because I thought they looked pretty with the green pistachios but they also taste fantastic! Personally, I love berries with my dessert (like this cake) because they make it so refreshing tasting.
For the Cake:
- 1 cup shelled roasted and salted pistachios
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup 2 sticks butter
- 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 eggs whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
For the Frosting:
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese room temperature
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the Garnish:
For the Cake:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if using a dark colored pan, preheat to 325 degrees F). Grease the bottom and sides of 3 (8-inch) cake pans with shortening and then dust with flour.
- In a mixing bowl, mix together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Puree pistachios in a food processor or blender until coarsely chopped and then take 2 tablespoons and add it to the dry ingredients. Continue to puree the rest of the nuts until it becomes a powder. Mix into the dry ingredients.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, whip the butter for 2 minutes. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Mix in the whole egg and the vanilla until just combined.
- In 3 batches, alternate mixing the dry ingredients and milk into the butter. Mix completely before adding each additional batch. Scrape down the sides as needed.
- In a separate mixing bowl, whip egg whites and cream of tartar until it reaches soft peaks. Fold the whipped egg whites into the batter until combined.
- Pour batter into 3 cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 28-32 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.
For the Frosting:
- Mix sugar and flour together in a sauce pan and then whisk in milk and cream. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until thick and begins to boil (about 15 minutes start to finish, should be considerably thick). Pour into a bowl or Tupperware, cover with plastic wrap pressing it against the mixture,and then place in the fridge until no longer warm. (If you place it in the fridge overnight, let it sit on the counter and comes to room temperature.) Place in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat on low speed. Add butter a tablespoon at a time and then cream cheese an ounce at a time. Turn up the speed and beat until smooth. Mix in the honey and vanilla until combined.
Assembling the Cake:
- Using a large serrated knife, cut off the tops of cakes to make them evenly flat.
- Place one cake round on a plate or cake platter and then frost the top of it. Top with another cake round and frost again. Add the last cake round and then add a thin layer of frosting (crumb coat) to the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes and then frost the cake with the remaining frosting (save some of the frosting in a piping bag if you wish to decorate with frosting). Garnish with extra frosting, pistachios, and/or berries as desired.
- Store cake in the fridge until ready to serve.
recipe source: slightly adapted from Eats Well with Others
This recipe first appeared over at Handle the Heat where I’m a contributor.