Pistachio Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Buttercream

This cream cheese buttercream pistachio layer cake is quite unique. With plenty of pistachio flavor, the layers are light, moist, and not too sweet. It’s a wonderful spectacle thanks to the swirling top and pistachio-coated sides. Layers may be created ahead of time, wrapped properly, and frozen for up to a month.


  • cooking spray


  • 3 cups unsalted pistachios
  • 2 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cups white sugar
  • 5 large egg whites
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 drop green gel food coloring


  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 drop green food coloring


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) (175 degrees C). Using cooking spray, coat three 8-inch round cake pans. Spray each pan with cooking spray and line with a circular piece of parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the cake by pulsing pistachios in a food processor for 10 to 15 seconds until finely ground. 1 1/2 cup powdered pistachios, flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a mixing basin; whisk until thoroughly blended and set aside. Reserve the remaining ground pistachios (1 1/3 cup) in a basin for completing the cake.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter and white sugar for cake on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the sides as required. Add the egg whites and beat on high speed for 2 minutes, or until completely mixed.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract until well blended, about 1 minute. On low speed, add the flour mixture in stages until thoroughly combined, about 2 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk and food coloring until thoroughly blended, about 1 minute.
  5. Using a spatula, evenly distribute the batter between the prepared cake pans. To distribute and flatten the batter, gently tap each pan on the counter.
  6. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of each pan comes out clean. Allow 10 minutes for the cakes to cool in the pans. To release the cakes, run a table knife down the sides, then carefully flip onto a serving platter or cooling rack. Allow 30 minutes to cool fully.
  7. Prepare the buttercream while the cakes are cooling: In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese and butter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes, or until light and fluffy. On medium-low speed, add powdered sugar in 1/2-cup increments, mixing until mixed and sugar is thoroughly integrated before adding more, about 4 minutes. On medium-high speed, beat in the vanilla and food coloring until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
  8. One cake layer should be placed on a serving dish or cake stand. Spread 1 cup buttercream and 1 tablespoon ground pistachios equally over the top of the cake using a spatula. Place the second cake layer on top, then spread 1 cup buttercream and 1 tablespoon ground pistachios equally over the top. Spread 1 cup buttercream equally over the surface of the third cake layer. Smooth 2 cups buttercream around the sides of the completed cake using a spatula. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to chill.
  9. Remove the cake from the fridge and spread the remaining buttercream evenly over the top and sides of the cake, making sure the sides are smooth and the top is billowy. Make a spiral design on top of the cake with a little offset spatula. The leftover crushed pistachios should be pressed into the cake’s sides.
  10. Slice and serve right away, or refrigerate until ready to serve in an airtight container. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before serving if it has been refrigerated.

Source: Allrecipes

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