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Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

White chocolate and pistachios are a perfect match in this lovely Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting.

I am not the kind of baker who makes lots of tall, beautiful layer cakes. It’s just not my thing. But, this time of year, I get such an urge to make layer cakes! I guess it could be the combination of Easter and Mother’s Day that makes me want to bake pretty things.

In any case, I took advantage of my layer cake whims and whipped up this beauty that features a lovely pairing of pistachios and white chocolate.

Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting is sweet, nutty, and wonderfully delicious! - Bake or Break

Along with cashews, pistachios are underused in baking in my opinion. Maybe it’s just my baking? Anyway, I seem to get all excited when I can use pistachios in a dessert. In this case, a generous helping of pistachios goes into layers of moist, delicious cake. The flavor is wonderful, and there’s just the right amount of crunch.

Then, a simple buttercream jazzed up with white chocolate tops off those layers. As I’ve told you countless times and as is evident with my cake, frosting cakes is not my strong suit. I tend to keep it simple. For this cake, you just need to frost the top of each cake layer. You’ll get plenty of sweet frosting in each bite. Of course, if you’re a big frosting fan, make extra and frost the sides as well.

Visit the Recipe Index for more layer cake recipes.

Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Yield 12 to 16 servings
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour

Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting is sweet, nutty, and wonderfully delicious!

White chocolate and pistachios are a perfect match in this lovely Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting.


For the cake:

  • 2 cups (240g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups (250g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (226g) sour cream
  • 3/4 cup (80g) chopped pistachios, plus more for garnish

For the frosting:

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces (170g) white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup (55g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans. You may also line the pans with parchment paper and grease the paper.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla.
  4. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of sour cream. Mix just until blended. Stir in the pistachios.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. Spread evenly.
  6. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Cool the cakes in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then, transfer the cakes from the pans to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

  1. Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the butter until creamy. Add the melted white chocolate and beat until combined.
  2. Add the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and continue mixing until the frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  3. Place one layer of the cooled cake on a cake plate. Spread half of the frosting over the top of the cake.
  4. Place the other cake layer on top of the frosted cake layer. Spread the remainder of the frosting on top of the cake. If desired, garnish the top of cake with pistachios.

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This recipe was originally developed for Go Bold with Butter, where I am a paid contributor.
Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

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    40 Comments on “Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting”

  1. You see, that’s my idea of a cake; an adult’s cake! It’s beautiful, it sounds wonderful.

  2. Oh this is awesome! I made pistachio and white chocolate cookies today! We’re on the same page!!

  3. Cake, pistachios, frosting? A trilogy of awesome! And it looks like the perfect ratio of frosting to cake…

  4. What a nice looking cake.
    I need to make a cake, it’s been a while.

  5. Looks & sounds delicious. pistachios are healthy & need to be incorporated in baking more often. Thanks for recipe.

  6. I’m not a huge layer cake person most of the time — I usually do unfussy cupcakes, upside down or bundt cakes. Special occasions are another story, and this cake is so worthy of a grand occasion. It’s beautiful and looks so delicious!

  7. I love how buttery pistachios get when used in baking. I agree they aren’t used as often as they should be. Great looking recipe. Can’t wait to make one!!

  8. This is really unique! I’ve been looking for a way to use up my pistachios and cake sounds like a great way! Will be trying this over the weekend.

  9. We just finished off some home-made pistachio and white chocolate ice cream. I’ll have to try this out next time I have some white choc and pistachios hanging around!

  10. I rare make layer cakes either, as my decorating skills are less than stellar, but this cake….oh my! Looks delicious!

  11. I’m not a cake baker often either. I resort to cupcakes usually, but for some reason lately I’ve been making cakes and not cupcakes. I better make this one before that streak runs out. LOVE pistachios and white chocolate!

  12. Twelve comments but no one baked the cake. Will I baked the cake and not only did it look good but it tasted even better.

  13. well this cake is certainly worthy of your layer cake whims! I love all things pistachio and it sounds so perfect with white chocolate.

  14. Mmmm, that cake looks awesome. I’ve never made anything with this particular flavor combo (white chocolate + pistachio) but now I must… I imagine it’s delish!

  15. That is gorgeous–totally my kind of layer cake! And I agree about pistachios!

  16. Will work if I make only one cake and then split it in half orizontally to add the frosting?

  17. Hi, Did you use skated or unsalted pistachios? Thanks.

  18. Hi Jennifer,

    Beautiful cake! I just baked one cake using half of the measurements. But either it did not rise or it’s just not tall enough to be called a ‘cake’. If you don’t have 2 9-inch cake pans lying around, could you make one with the original measurements and then cut it into two layers? Or could you bake the cakes one by one or would that not be possible because of the baking soda in the batter?

    • You can try baking in one pan and cutting the layers, but it may be tough to get it baked thoroughly in the center without overbaking the outside. I wouldn’t bake the batter at separate times because the baking soda will already be activated. You could make the cake as written in a 9″x 13″ pan.

  19. Pistachio and white chocolate.. what a combination. I am new to this blog but this cake is amazing.
    My colleagues bought a pistachio cake the other day but I can tell there is a pinch of cinnamon in it.
    Do you think it would be ok to add some?

    Thanks for the wonderful recipes.

  20. This was really simple to bake. I added at least a teaspoon of freshly ground cardamom—I just threw a bunch in—and the flavor was strong but complementary. Also, I used a coffee grinder to make the pistachios powdery (a food processor would make them buttery), so the cake was more green than chunky, and ground up extra pistachios to sprinkle over the top. It was a great birthday cake and would make a lovely and indulgent snack with tea. 

  21. Hi Jennifer! I’ve made this recipe and it came out perfect! Now I am curious if this can be used for cupcake recipe?

    Thank you!!

  22. Has anyone made this cake with almond extract instead of vanilla? I find that whenever I buy pistachio desserts, almond extract is the prominent flavor I enjoy about them. Wondering if it would substitute nicely 🙂 

  23. Just made this cake, and now enjoying a piece with a cup of afternoon tea. Very glad I found the recipe. A big thumbs up.

  24. This cake was wonderful! Easy, unique, and delicious. Thank you! 

  25. Hey I look forward to trying. Could you please suggest substitute for sour cream? And also what was the fat content of the sour cream used

  26. Is it going to work if I use less sugar? Like 2/3

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