Pistachio Cake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe

Every week we’ll post a recipe that we both made. This week’s recipe was Pistachio Cake. Printable recipe can be found at the bottom of this post. The original recipe was provided by reader Alison G.

Robyn’s Take:

This week’s recipe was submitted by reader Alison, who said:

This is a recipe I got from my friend’s mother over 10 years ago. I am pretty sure it is one of those recipes that is as old as the dawn of time and can easily be found if you do a search on the internet. I don’t believe it was her mom’s original creation, maybe something she found out of a magazine. It has become a family favorite and a cake that must be made every year on St. Patrick’s Day (I guess because it is green?). Anyone who has tried it loves it and asks me for the recipe and it is really so stupid simple to make (Amanda might not even call it a recipe!).

With St. Patrick’s Day coming up next week, we figured now was the perfect time to give this cake a try – Alison actually submitted this recipe LAST JULY. Who says we’re quick and organized?!

(The Amanda-baiting part of the recipe is just a bonus.)

Your ingredients for the cake part:

Pistachio Cake (1)

White cake mix, pistachio pudding mix, eggs (5 of them!), water (not pictured), vegetable oil, and milk.

Throw all your ingredients into a bowl and mix it with a hand mixer or a stand mixer ’til well combined. I mixed mine for about three minutes, scraped down the side of the bowl, and mixed for another minute.

Pistachio Cake (2)

Then dump your batter into a greased Bundt pan. (You could also use two 8-inch cake pans, or cupcakes, according to Alison.)

Pistachio Cake (3)

I was kind of taken by surprise that the pistachio pudding actually had little bits of pistachio in it. Did not expect that AT ALL, for some reason.

While your cake is baking, go off and hang out with some kittens. I did my level best to get the current litter of kittens to pose whilst wearing the tiny chef hat, but they weren’t having it. So enjoy this picture of me making a kitten with bunny ears.

“Eff you, lady.”

When the cake is done baking (mine took 40 minutes), let it cool in the pan for a few minutes, then turn out onto a rack and let it cool completely.

I have no pictures of this particular part of the recipe, because I am a flake and didn’t even think about it. Imagine a Bundt cake. On a rack. I know you can do it!

When the cake is cool, make your frosting.

Pistachio Cake (4)

Cool Whip, Pistachio pudding mix, milk. Throw it all in a big bowl, and mix with a spoon or fork or whisk or your hands or whatever floats your boat.

Pistachio Cake (5) Pistachio Cake (6)

Could it be simpler? I think not!

Frost your cake. Try not to be jealous of my brilliant cake-frosting skills. I am a professional. Obviously, yours won’t look this good.

Pistachio Cake (7)

If you’re serving the cake right away, you won’t need to refrigerate it. If, on the other hand, you’re in a household of two, store in the fridge or you’re going to end up with melted frosting.

Pistachio Cake (8)

The verdict? I really liked it. I mean, REALLY liked it. Fred, on the other hand, said that it was okay and he’d eat it if I made it, but he’d never request it. I am a huge fan of pistachios and pistachio-flavored things, and I think he’s less so.

I think part of the issue for Fred is that he’s not that much of a Cool Whip fan, whereas I kinda am. DON’T JUDGE ME.

This is a great idea for St. Patrick’s Day. I think that next time I make it (and I WILL be making it!), I’ll sprinkle the top with roasted pistachios. You can never have too many pistachios.

Thanks for the submission, Alison!

Nance’s Take:

A little over a week ago my uncle and aunt (husband and wife) ended up in the hospital at the same time. We cooked up some food (haluski, pierogies and this bundt cake) to take over for my cousins since they were obviously going to be busy. A few days later my mother and other members of the clan were going over to visit so I thought I would make this cake to send along.

Pistachio Cake

Instead of making another bundt cake I decided to use my new cake pan.

Pistachio Cake

I was a little concerned about the five eggs and using my different cake pan, but the dumbass part of my head said to shut the fuck up and I listened.

Pistachio Cake

It wasn’t hard to mix up because it was only a damn cake mix, Amanda.

Pistachio Cake

I used Baker’s Joy for the pan, threw it all in the oven and walked the hell away.

Pistachio Cake

I had set the timer for 23 minutes and it wasn’t quite done when I checked it. Rather than just stand in the kitchen and wait I decided to guesstimate it. Those edges are HARD.

Pistachio Cake

I whipped up the frosting and since the recipe mentioned refrigerating overnight I walked away from the entire mess.

Pistachio Cake

The next morning I had the brilliant idea to trim off all the hard edges and put the cake in one of those plastic containers you get when you buy things at the grocery store (my mother saves everything).

Pistachio Cake

It was just a little too big for the container that I had. This would be when the heavy cussing started.

Pistachio Cake

So then I decided to make it a square-ish layer cake. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but hindsight tells me that this is where the shit-storm really took off.

Pistachio Cake

Of course The Beagle was all up in it because…food.

Pistachio Cake

I didn’t even have frosting on it and it was already taller than the lid. GODDAMMIT.

Pistachio Cake

OHHELLNO. There was no saving this catastrophe so I didn’t send it out with Shirley. I do have some pride. The cake itself was very good. I’m keeping the recipe with a note to only use a bundt pan.  Lesson learned.

Pistachio Cake - Nance and Robyn make the same recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: IRISH. Yes it is. It's green!
Serves: 12
  • Cake:
  • 1 box white cake mix
  • 1 3.4 oz box pistachio instant pudding mix
  • 5 eggs
  • ½ c. water
  • ½ c. vegetable oil
  • ½ c. milk
  • -----------------------
  • Icing:
  • 8 oz. container of Cool Whip
  • 3.4 oz box of pistachio instant pudding mix
  • ½ c. milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a Bundt cake pan with baking spray.
  2. In a mixing bowl, put cake mix, 1 box of pistachio pudding mix, eggs, water, milk and vegetable oil. Mix on medium-high for 3 minutes; scrape down the bowl and mix an additional 1 minute.
  3. Pour batter into the pregreased Bundt pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 - 40 minutes (my cake took 40 minutes.)
  4. Let cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Turn out onto wire rack and let cool completely.
  5. In a large bowl, mix together the container of Cool Whip, box of instant pudding mix, and milk. Make sure it's well combined before icing the cooled cake.
  6. If you are not serving the cake immediately, store in the refrigerator. (Also, keep leftovers in the refrigerator.)



Pistachio Cake – Nance and Robyn make the same recipe — 32 Comments

  1. I remember way back when when I was a little kid, I got pistachio ice cream, thinking green = lime. I was SO MISERABLE when it turned out to be nut ice cream! Luckily, my taste buds have changed, so I think I’ll try this. Even though I tend to boycott anything green for St. Patrick’s Day because I grew up with quite enough of, “It’s St. YOU Day!” to last a lifetime.

    • Oh, good lord. St. YOU Day. Poor Patrick! 🙂

      I’m generally never a fan of green foods because it tends to be mint-flavored, and that’s not my thing.

      • Whatcho got against mint? It reminds me of Church. My mother always had gum in her purse for church. Yeah, me in a church. On the regular. Imagine THAT.

    • You need to embrace the green stuff, sourpuss. Just roll with it, but don’t drink those green milkshakes because…barf. And do you know that I have never tried corn-beef in my life. I’m not even sure what it is.

      I remember hating nuts in ice cream as a kid, but now I’m wondering if they still sale butter pecan. That sounds so good!

    • I learned from an 8th grade social studies teacher that Catholics wear green & Protestants wear orange on St. Pat’s day. Was she lying to us?

  2. I’ve made the same cake and it is very tasty. I use a butter-cream icing recipe (1 brick of cream cheese, 1/2 stick butter, and enough powdered sugar to keep a classroom of kindergarteners awake for 3 days) and add a few drops of pistachio flavor from LorAnn and some green food coloring for the icing since I’m not a huge fan of coolwhip icings. Plus, buttercream. You can never go wrong with buttercream.

    • You had me at butter and cream cheese. LOVE.
      This Cool Whip icing wasn’t bad for some reason. It reminded me of baby showers from back in the day. Jello pudding, fluff, etc.

    • There’s an frosting variation that calls for a container of Cool Whip, 1 brick of cream cheese, plus about 1/2 c. of powdered sugar. It is STUPENDOUS and I LOVE it. Bet you could substitute the pudding mix for the powdered sugar and call it done.

      In fact, I think I’ll try that instead of lemon buttercream for my Lemon Spring Cupcakes – White cupcakes with a lemon curd surprise in the middle, brushed with a lemon simple syrup (because I find white cupcakes in particular can be a little dry sometimes), and then with this frosting made with lemon pudding. Yep, those are going to my next club meeting.

  3. Just another option, my mother in law always made this cake (hers did have some sour cream in the mix too) but she would grease the bundt and sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar then put some crushed pistachio’s on the bottom, add the mix and bake, then just before done put brown sugar and pistachio’s on the top (bottom when comes out of pan obviously) and no frosting.

    • That sounds like a winner to me. That bundt cake I made for my aunt and uncle was cinnamon/sugar (omg, how great) and I just skipped the poppy seeds because that’s crazy. I have never bought pistachios – I’m going to have to look for them in the store to see what they look like.

      • I’ve actually made the cake without poppy seeds, too. I think the poppy seeds (I keep typing “poopy seeds”, ha) just add some crunch. There’s plenty of crunch with the cinnamon sugar, though. And now I’m having a craving for that cake!

      • That cake is delicious. Poppy seeds stick in my teeth so fuck that. I bet it would be good with walnuts in it or pecans. Look at me acting like I’m on all-recipes. “I made it, but I changed it and now it’s better!” – superior bitch

  4. I can’t believe you have this cake on here. I got a similar recipe from the husband’s ex-wife and of course he loves it! The recipe I got calls for an entire cup of oil, plus you have to shell a cup of pistachios plus it’s got club soda in it for some reason. I hated that fucking cake. It was always soggy in the middle now matter how much I tweaked the oil and baking times. That said, I’m so happy you seem to have found a goddamn cake that bakes properly. I’ll make this for his birthday this year to shut him the hell up. *thinks kittens and sunshine to cool off*

  5. I’m not such a fan of the pistachios. Wonder how it would be to switch out the pudding? – I’m thinking lemon. Or I could go far out on a limb and try butterscotch.

  6. Watergate Cake with Cover-Up Frosting is what I know this bad boy as, so it’s as old as the early 1970s at least. I used to FREAKING LOVE this cake, to the point where I didn’t dare make it at home or I’d nom down the entire thing myself. No lie.

  7. I’ve made cake from a cake mix and then added pudding to the mix but never pistachio and I haven’t used cool whip for frosting before. I can’t see the pistachio but I may give the cool whip frosting a try. Getting tired of regular buttercream.

  8. I realize it’s been years since your post but I thought I’d add, if your hubby isn’t a cool whip fan, we’ve always topped this cake with a dusting of powdered sugar after it’s cooled for a couple hours… Ok I admit, my *dusting* ends up making it almost solid white but can you really ever have too much powdered sugar?? Like you, this recipe has been in our family for EVER… The only differences being we use a butter yellow cake mix instead of white, 2pkg of the pistachio pudding mix in the batter, a whole cup of milk & no water. Same 1/2 c of oil & 5 eggs. Thanks for sharing the love of the green cake!

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