Thursday, June 7, 2012

Pistachio Cake For Real

I finally A:  Shelled out the big bucks and bought pistachios...

and B:  Made this cake recipe myself to assess it...

So this is the finished product!  The taste: Amazing. Texture?  Excellent!!! Combination of topping and cake?  Marvelous!


A couple of big problems. First, the cake is a long-cooking cake because the recipe calls for a cup of lemon-lime soda.... I didn't have lemon-lime (Sprite, Sierra Mist, etc.) so I used Ginger Ale and added a tablespoon of lemon juice concentrate.  That worked fine, but the cake crust was way overdone by the time the cake was done. We fixed that by flipping the cake and REMOVING THE ENTIRE BOTTOM CRUST which is really a smart thing to do....  I de-crust a lot of the things I make for occasions... weddings, showers, etc. It's a writers rule of thumb:  Cut the stuff people skim, and cut the stuff people leave on their plates.


And my pudding mix/Cool Whip/milk topping didn't come out nice and firm like their picture showed. Dagnabbit. It tasted good, but presentation is important when you're serving a cake to guests, right? (My Southern Lady Friends told me that, btw)

See how my topping 'slouches'?

Here's the recipe as I printed it from Taste of Home:


  • 1 package (18-1/4 ounces) white cake mix
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 cup lemon-lime soda
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1-1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, toasted
  • Whole red shell pistachios and fresh mint, optional


  • In a large bowl, combine the first five ingredients; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes; stir in walnuts.

  • Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Lovin' this pale green color!

  • For frosting, in a large bowl, beat milk and pudding mix on low speed for 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with pistachios. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes before cutting. Garnish with whole pistachios and mint if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 12-15 servings.

And here is what I'd do differently, and remember this is still a work in progress:

I used half walnuts/half chopped pistachios in the cake mix. Walnuts are a cheaper alternative, but the flavor of the pistachios in the cake is amazing.

I'm going to substitute heavy whipping cream, whipped and lightly sweetened for the topping, then fold that into the pistachio pudding mix. I'm also going to buy the Jello brand. Dave brought me home the store brand, and the pudding didn't thicken like Jello does, so I'm going name brand on this one next time... Sometimes it doesn't matter, sometimes it does, and in this case I think that was the culprit. But I love the taste and texture of real whipped cream over processed pretend whipped cream, so I'm still substituting the heavy whipping cream, whipped until peaks form.

For the cake... Oy, this is tough until I play with it. I think I'm going to try this at a lower oven temperature (I used 350 but didn't use my convection setting because it was hot out. Maybe. I don't remember why, really, but I think that would have helped.)

So I'm going with 325 in a convection oven, but I'm not really worried about the crust thing. That's repairable, right? Because I can cut it off and the cake is better without crust anyway. But the topping... I like appearances to be spot on when I'm doing a party, mostly because I'm ego-centric and want people to LOVE AND ADMIRE ME!!!!

Or we could go with the simple: it looks better!

So fixing the topping firmness is important to me. I'll let the lot o' youse know how it comes out!


  1. So many Birthday are coming in the next months :) I am definitely going to try this !

  2. Hey, Fitness Republic, you guys have some great variations on things over there and I love good fitness... and cake! I'm determined that folks can have both, very Marie Antoinette!

  3. Ruthy, this looks beautiful to me! Much better than my awful cobbler the other day. LOL

    Looks like it would be very tasty. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Ruthy, I think you have the right idea with substituting the real whipped cream for the oh-so-convenient stuff. When you make your own you can adjust the stiffness.

    Hot weather might make the convenient kind wilt some, too. So maybe that was the culprit.

    Either way, I think it looks absolutely scrumptious. And if the whipped topping is drooping a little, it just makes you want to lean in a grab a taste before it hits the plate, doesn't it?

  5. It was an absolutely delicious cake. Just mouth-watering good. And the moist, dense consistency was like carrot cake or zucchini bread, only with a real mellow flavor. Just marvelous! Jan, good point about the weather. Heat and humidity bother bunches of stuff, don't they?