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This vegan pistachio cake has a fluffy crumb and a delicious fragrant pistachio flavor.

Perfectly frosted with silky dairy-free pistachio buttercream that isn't overly sweet and perfectly compliments this delicate cake.

vegan pistachio cake with a slice being lifted out of it with a cake slice on a ceramic plate.Pin
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📖 Recipe Overview

  • Incredibly Light Consistency - This cake is made without butter, and instead uses olive oil which keeps it fluffy without being dense.
  • Naturally Colored - The light green hue comes 100% from pistachios, as this cake is made without food colorings or added powders.
  • Fantastic for Special Occasions - A great birthday cake option for pistachio lovers. It also makes a perfect Mother's Day or Easter celebration cake, or a little something green if you're baking up a cake for St. Patrick's Day.

🧾 Ingredients Needed

Here's everything you need to make this easy vegan pistachio cake:

ingredients for pistachio cake measured out in bowls on a pink marble surface.Pin

Ingredient Notes

  • Raw Shelled Pistachios - They have the best color and a slightly sweet flavor, making them perfect for baking. Raw pistachios without skins or with skins are fine, just make sure they are unsalted. You can use unsalted roasted pistachios if you prefer, just note that the cake will have a duller color.
  • Vegan Buttermilk - This helps to create a fluffy tender crumb and helps leaven the cake along with the baking powder.
  • Granulated Sugar - White sugar is a must here. I don't recommend using brown sugar or coconut sugar, as this will throw off the color and overpower the pistachio flavor of the cake.
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🥣 How To Make Pistachio Cake

This easy vegan pistachio cake comes together in just a few simple steps:

pistachios and sugar ground up in a food processor jug.Pin

Step 1: Blend the nuts and sugar: Add the pistachios and sugar to a food processor or blender, and blitz until finely ground.

dry ingredients for pistachio cake whisked together in a large mixing bowl.Pin

Step 2: Mix dry ingredients: Whisk together the pistachio sugar mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

vegan buttermilk and wet ingredients for pistachio cake in a measuring jug.Pin

Step 3: Mix wet ingredients: Whisk together the vegan buttermilk, olive oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract in a measuring jug or small bowl.

pistachio cake batter in a bowl with a spatula showing the consistency.Pin

Step 4: Make the batter: Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to carefully fold and mix the ingredients.

vegan pistachio cake batter in lined cake tins ready to go into the oven.Pin

Step 5: Bake and Cool: Transfer the cake batter to the lined cake pans and bake in the preheated oven. Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Carefully peel away the parchment that will stick to the base of the cakes.

2 layers of eggless pistachio sponge cake layered up with Italian pistachio buttercream.Pin

Step 6: Decorate. Add half of the pistachio frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle. Reserve some frosting if you want to pipe a design on top of the cake. Add a swirl of frosting as the filling on top of your first layer. Add another cake layer on top of the frosting.

vegan pistachio cake layered up with pistachio buttercream.Pin

Step 7: Add the next layer of cake and repeat with another layer of frosting. Follow with the last cake round so you have a 3 layer cake.

vegan pistachio cake with swirled pistachio frosting on top of a marble serving board.Pin

Step 8: Use the remaining frosting to coat around the sides on top of the cake and smooth everything out with a cake scraper. You can create a swirl on top of the cake using a spoon if desired.

🧁 Optional Variations

You can easily completely transform this vegan pistachio cake by switching up the buttercream, here are some options:

💬 FAQs

How to store pistachio cake?

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or at room temperature for up to 1-2 days. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to allow the cake and frosting to soften.

Note, I don't recommend storing the cake at room temperature for more than 2-3 hours in warmer climates.

How to prep pistachios for baking?

If you can't find ready peeled and shelled nuts, you can prepare and peel your pistachios at home for the most vibrant color. As this method involves blanching the pistachios, make sure you allow them to dry completely before using them in this recipe. Note: I have since tested the recipe using pistachios with their skins and the recipe still works perfectly, so don't stress if you don't have time to peel them!

How do I enhance pistachio flavor?

Vanilla extract along with a touch of almond extract help to intensify the natural flavor of pistachio.

closeup of a vegan pistachio layer cake showing the light and fluffy consistency.Pin

🎂 More Vegan Cakes

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📖 Recipe

Vegan Pistachio Cake

5 from 133 votes
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
COOK TIME: 20 minutes
Decorating: 1 hour
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 15
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Description

Easy vegan pistachio cake that's fluffy and airy with a light, delicate crumb. Made with real pistachios and pantry staple ingredients. Layered with light pistachio buttercream, this is the ultimate vegan cake for Spring.

Ingredients

  • 100 g ( cup) raw shelled pistachios, with or without skins, *see notes 1+2
  • 220 g (1 cup + 5 tsp) granulated sugar, use organic if based in US
  • 250 g (2 cups + 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour, (plain flour)
  • 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 280 ml (1 ⅕ cups) soy milk
  • 4 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 120 ml (½ cup) olive oil, or other neutral oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • ½ batch pistachio buttercream

Instructions

  • Prepare: Preheat your oven to 175°C (347°F). Lighty grease the base and sides of three 6" cake tins with oil. Line each base with a circle of parchment and the sides with a strip of parchment.
    To make the vegan buttermilk add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar to a mixing jug, stir and allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Blend the nuts and sugar: Add the pistachios and sugar to a food processor or blender, and blitz until finely ground.
  • Mix the dry ingredients: Add the pistachio sugar mixture, flour, baking powder, and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  • Mix the wet ingredients: Add the olive oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract to the jug with the vegan buttermilk and whisk to combine.
  • Make the batter: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and use a spatula to carefully fold and mix the ingredients. Stop folding once there are no visible pockets of flour - don't be tempted to overmix!
  • Bake: Transfer the cake batter to the lined cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. To check they are done, insert a skewer or toothpick into the center, it should come out almost clean with a few crumbs, but without any wet batter.
  • Cool the cakes: Allow the cakes to cool in the tins for 15-20 minutes and then carefully turn them out onto a cooling rack to cool further for at least an hour until cool to the touch. Carefully peel away the parchment that will stick to the base of the cakes.
    If preferred you can refrigerate the cakes in an airtight container until ready to use. Chilling the cakes for a few hours (or overnight) makes them easier to work with and decorate.
  • Make a half batch of pistachio buttercream (or a full batch and freeze half for another time).
    Add the frosting to a piping bag fitted with a round nozzle, or simply snip off the end of a ziplock bag/piping bag when ready to decorate.
  • Assembly: Place a tiny amount of frosting on a cake turntable and secure the first sponge layer on top of it.
    Pipe a layer of frosting on top of the first cake layer, and use an offset spatula/pallet knife to spread it in an even layer.
    Add the next layer of cake and repeat with another layer of frosting. Top with the final layer of cake. Use the remaining frosting to coat around the sides on top of the cake and smooth everything out with a cake scraper.
  • Storage: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or at room temperature for up to 1-2 days. Remove from the fridge about an hour before serving to allow the cake and frosting to soften a little. 

Notes

  1. Pistachios: Skinless pistachios will give the cake the most vibrant color, but raw pistachios with skins also work. 
  2. You can prepare and peel your pistachios at home. As this method involves blanching the pistachios, make sure you allow them to dry completely before using them in this recipe.
  3. Alternative Frostings: Chocolate FrostingChocolate SMBCGanache, Champagne Buttercream, Raspberry SMBC, Strawberry IMBCor Cream Cheese Frosting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 150mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 24g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 1mg
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