This vintage Pistachio Cake recipe is an easy dessert that starts with a cake mix and a box of pistachio pudding! The Bundt cake has a moist, tender crumb, a fresh, nutty flavor and a sweet almond glaze. It's perfect for a simple Sunday supper, a festive St. Patrick's Day gathering, Easter brunch, bridal showers and baby showers. Best of all, the crowd-pleasing Pistachio Pudding Cake comes together with about 15 minutes of prep!
Pistachio Pudding Cake
This vintage Pistachio Pudding Cake is very similar to my favorite old-fashioned Orange Juice Cake, since it's prepared in a Bundt pan with a yellow cake mix and instant pudding. It's also reminiscent of the Watergate Cake that my grandmother served back in the 1970s! This particular dessert is a lovely shade of pale green, and is flavored with the just right amount of almond extract. It's a simple pantry recipe that you can throw together when you need a quick dessert at the last minute -- but it looks so impressive. There's a good reason that similar versions of this easy Pistachio Cake have been loved for generations!
This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you'll need to make pistachio cake with pistachio pudding. As always, the specific measurements and the complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.
- Yellow cake mix: you can also substitute with white cake mix, if you prefer.
- Instant pistachio pudding mix: grab the small box, which weighs 3.4 ounces and has 4 servings.
- Club soda: the carbonated beverage acts as a leavening agent to help the cake rise, and gives it a nice, light, "fluffy" texture. It's also the liquid that brings this batter together. You can substitute with 7UP, Sprite or ginger ale, too.
- Almond extract: this ingredient enhances the pistachio flavor, so I add it to the cake batter and to the glaze. It has a sweet, floral, slightly-nutty flavor that's very unique. Vanilla extract will work as a substitute, but I highly recommend the almond extract if you can find it.
- Eggs: give the cake structure.
- Vegetable oil: a neutral oil that keeps the cake really moist.
- Optional mix-ins: chopped walnuts, almonds, pistachios or pecans; chopped maraschino cherries; miniature chocolate chips; sweetened coconut flakes.
What does adding pudding to cake mix do?
The dry pudding mix adds even more moisture to the cake and helps the cake holds its structure. The gelatin component in the pudding gives the cake a more "fluffy" texture, while the pistachio cake gets its hallmark flavor and color from the pudding as well. Don't omit this essential ingredient!
How to Make Pistachio Cake
This easy dessert recipe has been prepared in farmhouse kitchens and even in professional bakeries for generations because it's absolutely delicious (and so darn simple). The cake strikes a perfect balance with a rich, moist flavor and a light, fluffy crumb. It's not as dense as a 7UP Pound Cake, and it's drizzled with a flavorful almond glaze.
- Combine cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, club soda, oil and almond extract.
- Beat on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to a greased and floured Bundt pan.
- Bake in a 350° F oven for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool completely.
- Whisk together the glaze and drizzle over the cooled cake.
Pistachio Cake Frosting
Many vintage Pistachio Cake recipes include a Dream Whip frosting (similar to the frosting that I use on my grandmother's Watergate Cake). This cake is so flavorful and delicious on its own, though, that I didn't want to distract or overwhelm it with too much icing. Instead, I opted for a simple almond glaze that enhances the pistachio flavor. If you want a less-sweet dessert, you can also just dust the cool cake with powdered sugar right before serving. For the glaze, you'll whisk together sifted confectioners sugar, milk, almond extract and a pinch of salt until it's fairly thick (but pourable) and smooth.
Covered loosely, this cake will keep at room temperature for about 2 days. To extend the life of your cake, store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Can I freeze Pistachio Cake?
Absolutely! This old-fashioned cake freezes beautifully. I often cut the large Bundt cake in half so that we can enjoy part of it now and save the other half for later. Allow the cake to cool completely, wrap tightly, and freeze for up to 3 months. The glaze might not look as pretty when it's thawed, so if you're prepping ahead to serve the cake to guests, I recommend waiting to glaze the cake just before serving.
Recipe Variations -- Easy Pistachio Cake
- Instead of the club soda, substitute with 7UP, Sprite or ginger ale.
- Chocolate Pistachio Cake: use a chocolate cake mix instead of the yellow cake mix. You can also mix mini chocolate chips into the cake batter.
- Optional add-ins: if you like more texture, flavor and crunch in your cake, you can add chopped walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios to the batter. Chocolate chips pair well with pistachios, and chopped maraschino cherries give it a nice red-and-green touch for Christmas. Get creative and make it your own!
- Pistachio Loaf Cake: If you don't have a Bundt pan, you can bake this cake in two loaf pans. The cooking time will be about the same or slightly shorter, so start checking the loaf cake at about 30 minutes.
- Serve your pistachio cake with dream whip frosting (this is a great recipe).
- Instead of the almond glaze, dust your cake with powdered sugar when it's completely cool.
- Garnish the glazed cake with finely-chopped walnuts, almonds, pecans or pistachios.
Tips for the Best Pistachio Cake Recipe
- Grease the Bundt pan really well by coating with butter and then dusting with flour. Alternatively, you can use a cooking spray that's specifically made for baking (like this one). These options will ensure that your cake pops right out of the pan when it's done!
- The cake gets better as it sits, so this is a nice dessert option to prepare the day before you plan to serve it.
- Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.
- The almond glaze will "set" after a short while, so give it time to firm up before slicing and serving.
More Bundt Cake Recipes to Try
- Grandma's Old-Fashioned Rum Cake
- Orange Juice Cake
- Old-Fashioned Apple Cake
- Cranberry Swirl Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
- 7UP Pound Cake
- Claudia's Easy Triple Chocolate Cake
- 1 (15.25 oz) box yellow or white cake mix
- 1 (3.4 oz) box pistachio instant pudding mix
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup club soda
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- ½ teaspoon almond extract (or sub with vanilla extract)
- Optional mix-ins: ½ cup chopped walnuts; almonds, pistachios or pecans; ½ cup chopped maraschino cherries; ½ cup mini chocolate chips; sweetened coconut flakes
- 1 ¼ cup confectioners sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- ½ teaspoon almond extract
- Pinch of salt
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, club soda, oil and almond extract; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
FOR THE GLAZE:
- Once the cake is completely cool, prepare the glaze by whisking together the confectioners sugar, milk, almond extract, and salt until there are no lumps. If it seems too thick, add a small amount of milk to thin to desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add a small amount of confectioners sugar to thicken. Drizzle over the cake.