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.

Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 to 14 servings

Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting


    For the cake:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 cup chopped pistachios, plus more for garnish
  • For the frosting:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 ounces white chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

Reduce mixer speed to low. Add flour in three portions, alternating with two portions of sour cream. Mix just until blended. Stir in pistachios.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Spread evenly.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 15 minutes. Then, transfer cakes from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting:

Beat butter on medium speed of an electric mixer until creamy. Add melted white chocolate and beat until combined.

Add confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, and continue mixing until frosting is smooth and fluffy.

Place one layer of cooled cake on a cake plate. Spread half of the frosting over the top of the cake.

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 top of cake with pistachios.


This recipe was originally developed for Go Bold with Butter, where I am a paid contributor.

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  1. Margot C April 28, 2014 Reply

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

  2. Madison Sanders April 28, 2014 Reply

    I LOVE pistachios! Yum!

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

  4. movita beaucoup April 28, 2014 Reply

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

  5. vanillasugarblog April 28, 2014 Reply

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

  6. geri fletcher April 28, 2014 Reply

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

  7. Marcie April 28, 2014 Reply

    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!

  8. Linda April 28, 2014 Reply

    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!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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!

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

  12. 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!

  13. Dennis April 30, 2014 Reply

    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.

  14. Joanne May 1, 2014 Reply

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

  15. 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!

  16. Laura May 2, 2014 Reply

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

  17. Lily May 6, 2014 Reply

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

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry May 6, 2014 Reply

      Hi, Lily. That should be just fine. You’ll just have a higher frosting to cake ratio!

  18. M September 29, 2014 Reply

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

  19. H. October 11, 2014 Reply

    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?

    • Author
      Jennifer McHenry October 11, 2014 Reply

      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.

  20. Hala November 18, 2014 Reply

    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.

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