3-Layer Pistachio Cake
Yield: 12-14 slices
Prep Time: 60 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 67 minutes
Tessa's Recipe Rundown...
Taste: Sweet, salty pistachio flavor, perfectly sweetened cream cheese frosting
Texture: A light and tender cake crumb with tiny pieces of pistachios and a silky smooth frosting
Ease: Medium. The frosting and assembling requires a little time. Anyone can make it though! Believe it or not but this was the first 3 layered cake I’ve ever made.
Appearance: Beautiful, elegant…
Pros: Tastes as good as it looks!
Cons: You need to start making the frosting ahead of time (I suggest the night before).
Would I make this again? Yes! It tastes delicious and is the perfect cake to welcome the spring season with.
Please welcome back Melanie from Garnish and Glaze as she shares absolutely stunning cake recipe!
Spring is right around the corner! I can feel it… well not really. It’s still in the 20’s and 30’s here in Nebraska but I occasionally hear birds chirping and the sun has been shinning bright for the last few days. Gosh I just love even the thought of spring and how everything is new, fresh, and full of life. Don’t you?
I have really missed the green grass and bushy trees so I get pretty excited about all things green in March. One naturally green food that I’ve been into lately are pistachios. I remember having so much fun when I was young sitting with my mom cracking open a handful of nuts to snack on. She even taught me the cool trick to bust open the tightly closed and almost impossible to crack ones. Just take a half shell from a nut you’ve already opened, poke it in the slit of the tightly closed shell, and give it a twist. That stubborn pistachio will open right up. Go give it a try!
For this recipe you need a cup of shelled nuts for the batter plus more for decorating. I bought pistachios that were still in the shell so removing them took awhile… especially since I kept eating every other nut that I opened. You can buy pistachios already shelled if you want to speed up the process though.
The cake looks lovely decorated with pistachios but I also added them on the outside because it’s important that those with nut allergies are aware that they unfortunately can’t indulge in this cake for the sake of staying alive. This cake is really good but probably not worth actually dying for. I speak from the experience of my “tree-nut allergic” sister who was given a pistachio cake for her birthday and almost died. Pretty sure that wasn’t one of her favorite birthdays.
The frosting of this cake is a little different than your typical cream cheese frosting because it’s made with granulated sugar and must be cooked and cooled before frosting. It takes more work but has the most amazing smooth texture and perfectly sweet taste. By cooking the frosting you are able to add bulk using milk and flour instead of powdered sugar (which can make it too sweet) like most frosting recipes.
This cake just screams “spring” to me. The light texture of the crumb and the not-too-sweet cream cheese frosting are the perfect combo for spring, especially with the light green pistachios and fresh blackberries. Such a lovely cake for a spring party with friends and family.
3-Layer Pistachio Cake
For the Frosting
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1/3 cup 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 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 sugar
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoons vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 eggs whites
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
For the Garnish
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 leave it in overnight, let it come to room temperature). Meanwhile, make the cake. When the cake is cool and ready to assemble, finish making the frosting.
Place cold frosting mixture in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat on low speed using the paddle attachment. 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.
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.
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.
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