Ground pistachios create a light and airy cake and fluffy dollops of tangy cream cheese frosting will have this pistachio cake on your list of must try desserts.

a cake on a cutting board covered with pistachios  next to a blue plate and fork with a single slice of cake one it

How to make this simple Pistachio Cake:

Pre-heat your oven. Using a food processor, grind the pistachios until they resemble sand. Add to the nuts- flour, salt, baking soda and powder, spices. Mix well. Fold into the flour mixture- beaten eggs, buttermilk, vanilla and vegetable oil. Pour the batter into a large baking tray and bake for 45 minutes until the top is just golden. Cool completely.

For the frosting- whip cream cheese until light and add in butter. Mix with a paddle attachment on your stand mixer for 2-3 minutes- you do not want any lumps in the cream cheese. Sift into the mixture 3-4 cups of confectioners sugar and salt. Finally add in vanilla. Dollop on the cooled cake and spread with an off-set spatula. Chill until ready to serve.

Ingredients in Pistachio Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting:

For the Cake-

  • salted roasted pistachios
  • flour
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • almond extract
  • vanilla extract
  • baking powder and baking soda
  • salt
  • eggs
  • buttermilk
  • cardamom
  • cinnamon
a bowl fo flour, a pile of pistachios, four eggs, and other baking ingredients to make a pistachio cake from scratch


For the Frosting-

  • butter
  • cream cheese
  • powdered sugar
  • salt
  • vanilla
a bowl of a food processor filled with ground pistachios

Equipment and utensils needed for this recipe:

  • measuring cups and spoons
  • food processor
  • large mixing bowl
  • 9 x 13 oven proof baking dish
  • sharp knife
  • off-set spatula
  • stand mixer or hand mixer for frosting
a large baking pan filled with cake batter

Tips for a successful bake:

  • Use FRESH pistachios. If your pistachios have been open, sitting in a drawer for a while, they have probably gone ranched. Buy a new bag and store in the freezer.
  • Pulse the nuts until they resemble coarse sand. If you process them too long, you. may end up with pistachio butter.
  • Make certain your flour and spices are fresh as well.
  • You can swap out coconut oil for vegetable oil, but the finished cake will have a slight “coconut” flavor to it.
  • Try not to open the oven door to peek at the cake. The center will deflate.
  • For the frosting- the cream cheese and butter should be at room temp. To brighten the frosting, add lemon juice.
a pan filled with a baked cake next to a bowl of cream cheese frosting

Tips on frosting this cake:

  • Make certain the cake is completely cooled.
  • Use an off-set spatula to frost- it allows you so much more movement than a knife or spatula
  • If the cream cheese is too soft, chill it for 5 minutes.
  • Use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer for the creamiest consistency for your frosting. The whisk attachment will whip the frosting creating too much air.
  • Remove the cake from the cake pan if serving on a tray before frosting.
  • Garnish with a handful of roughly chopped nuts or edible flowers.
a large baking dish filled with a baked pistachio cake with dollops of frosting on top of it waiting to be spread
a pistachio cake with swirls of frosting on it
a sheet cake with a few pieces cut from it off to the side. there are chopped nuts decorating the top of the cake

If you like this Pistachio Cake recipe, try these recipes:

  1. One Bowl Vanilla Sheet Cake
  2. Meyer Lemon Cupcakes
  3. Florida Grapefruit & Cointreau Cake
  4. Classic Lemon Blueberry Tea Cake
  5. Lemon & Olive Oil Tea Cake

Pistachio Cake

Recipe by Meggen Arthur Wilson Course: DessertCuisine: Italian


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A mouthwatering ground pistachio cake that is as delicious as it is elegant. Frost it with tangy cream cheese frosting for a simple, but extra special dessert or snack.


  • 250 grams pistachios, salted and roasted

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp cardamom

  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger

  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 cup buttermilk

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped pistachios for garnish

  • For the Frosting
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened

  • 2 TBSP unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract OR vanilla paste


  • Pre heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 x 13 inch oven proof baking dish. Line with parchment paper if desired.
  • In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they resemble coarse sand. See photo for reference.
  • To the bowl pulse in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and ginger until combined.
  • In a large bowl beat eggs and sugar until smooth and glossy. Stir in oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Combine throughly. Slowly add in the pistachio mixture and stir until just combined. Take care not to over-mix the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish. Bake at 320 for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
  • For the Frosting
  • In the bowl of a stand mixture using the paddle attachment or a bowl using beaters, mix the softened cream cheese and butter until smooth and fluffy- about 2-3 minutes. Add in the salt and vanilla. Slowly add in the sifted confectioners sugar on low speed. Once all the sugar is added in, beat on high for 1 minute until creamy and light.
  • Frost the cooled cake with the frosting and garnish with chopped pistachios.


  • Chill the cake before serving. Let the cake come to room temperature for 30 minutes before slicing.

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  1. I just love pistachio cakes and your recipe looks so yummy and easy to follow! Thanks for sharing and for all the tips too!