Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

Light, airy and full of flavor this Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake is a fun and tasty flavor combination perfect for absolutely any occasion. 

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

So last-minute, my mom called me and asked if I had any plans for baking the next day. I did, but nothing that was in dire need of being made right away, just some stuff that I wanted to try. So I said not really. Well here last-minute she asks me to make my aunt a 70th (sorry Aunt Karen) birthday cake! So obviously since I love cake and I’m the nice daughter that I am I happily obliged. 

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

Well my mom said anything but coconut, so she said to brainstorm some flavors and call her back within the hour. So I had come up with some flavor ideas and I had reverted to trusty old Facebook to ask some of my friends flavor ideas. So I put the ideas all together and gave my mom a call back. The first idea out of my mouth was this Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake! Well needless to say, I didn’t have to name off any more and she was sold at the first option.

Vanilla bean and pistachios go together so well. Both flavors are light and subtle and don’t overpower each other one bit! Luckily vanilla beans are something that this girl keeps on hand thanks to my amazing friends over at Rodelle! The vanilla beans that I used for this luscious cake are the ever delicious Madagascar vanilla beans, and you guy’s if you’ve never had vanilla beans before, go pick yourself up some of these babies!

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

So this is actually one of my go-to vanilla cake recipes. It’s super simple and it whips up really nice. I like to switch between vanilla beans, vanilla paste and vanilla extract depending on what type of filing or frosting I was doing. Since I was going with the light flavor of pistachio for this one I figured that vanilla bean would pair super well with it and boy was I right. 

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

I know I probably say this all the time, but this is one of my most favorite cakes to date. No joke. Some of my other absolute favorite cakes is this Banana Cream Cake, Peanut Butter Banana Cake and this Black Forest Cake. But I have so many different cakes on my blog that it’s seriously hard to just pick a handful, so go search “Cake” and you’ll see some of the other amazing flavors that I’ve played around with in the past.

So getting back to this delicious Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake. So I’m sure you could totally make your own homemade pistachio buttercream using pistachios but I’m just not that dedicated into making my own, kinda too much work for an already kinda simple cake wouldn’t you say? So in this frosting is a packet of pistachio pudding! So easy! Plus, it gives it a nice little green color and the flavor is just right for me. 

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

A little vanilla is added to give it a little more oomph and sweetness, but all in all you probably don’t even need to add that! So if you have actually seen some of my other cakes, this is a new one for me. Usually I don’t texture my cakes at all, but this one I decided to make a change and textured the sides. I love how it turned out. No special equipment needed to do it, all I did was use my offset spatula and pressed against the frosting gently and spun my cake on my turnstile. 

So my friends, I urge you to give this Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake a try, I can’t express how much I love the flavors of this puppy! I think this is my new favorite cake…until next week when I make another and rant and rave about that one too. But no, really…go make this! And if you do make ANY of my recipes head on over to Instagram and tag me or use the hashtag #bakingwithtornadoughalli I’d love to see your creations!

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake


4.15 from 14 votes
Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake
Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Light, airy and full of flavor this Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake is a fun and tasty flavor combination perfect for absolutely any occasion. 

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter softened
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Rodelle Madagascar vanilla bean
  • 1/2 tsp Rodelle vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 lb butter
  • 1 pkg pistachio pudding 3.4 oz
  • 1 tsp Rodelle pure vanilla extract
  • 5-6 cups powdered sugar
  • 4-6 Tbs milk
  • Chopped pistachios optional
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In bowl mix together your flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and whisk until combined, set aside.
  3. In another bowl beat together your butter and sugar until fluffy, add in your eggs 1 at a time until blended
  4. Mix in your vanilla bean and vanilla paste.
  5. Alternate adding your dry ingredients and milk into your wet ingredients.
  6. Place in 2 9" prepared cake pans and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until golden and they spring back.
  7. Remove from oven and turn onto cooling racks to fully cool.
  8. Meanwhile to make frosting, in large bowl beat your butter until light and fluffy.
  9. Blend in pudding and vanilla and then add in your powdered sugar 1 cup at a time.
  10. Once sugar is added add in your milk slowly until you reach your desired consistency and continue to beat on high for about 5 minutes to fluff up.
  11. On turnstyle or cake stand place one layer of your cake and then spread about 1 cup of your frosting in the center and spread to about 1/2" from sides.
  12. Top with second layer of cake and then spread frosting around the top and sides of your cake until covered, reserving about 1 cup of your frosting for decorating.
  13. To make a textured cake using a offset spatula place gently on the bottom of your cake and press into frosting and spin cake around, repeat in rows until you reach the top of your cake.
  14. Pipe remaining frosting into large roses on top of cake then sprinkle with pistachios.

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake



82 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Pistachio Cake

  1. My husband loves pistachio pudding (anything pistachio really), and I’m going to make this for his bday… he will sure be surprised!

    Does the powdered sugar make the frosting too sweet? Any ideas for a creamier lighter frosting?

    1. Hi Dee, with any buttercream frosting powdered sugar is always added for flavor. Well for any frosting. You could always use the flour frosting in my Razorback Cake I have on my blog and just add the packet of pudding to that. That’s a really creamy frosting. One that they used in the olden days.

    1. I Carrie, you sure can. It most likely will make 24 usually this amount of batter does. I would bake for around 15-20 minutes and reduce the amount of frosting used. You can use the same amount of pudding but less butter.

  2. Hey, thanks for sharing this recipe. As far as the vanilla Bean goes are you grounding that? I see where it mentions adding the beans but nothing about removing it. Maybe this is a silly question, I’m totally not a baker! Thanks again!

    1. Hi Erin, I can totally see how you wouldn’t understand. With Vanilla beans you cut them open and scrape out the beans with a knife and directly add them to your recipe. You don’t use the pod they’re housed in, although it is amazing to place in some sugar to make vanilla sugar to reuse it after the beans are scraped out.

  3. For the frosting, do you add the dry pistachio powder, or you prepare it before you add it? I have never made a frosting with any type of pudding. Thank you

  4. Concerns on the frosting… after following your instructions on the frosting, I tried and it was very grainy. Any way your recommend getting rid of the graininess from the pudding?
    I tried beating extra long, I really love fluffy frosting, but even still grainy.

    Advice would be great!


    1. Hi Jess, I’m sorry yours turned out grainy that is unlike this frosting as its always turned out smooth and creamy for me. I would suggest adding more milk and beating beating for about 3 minutes to whip the frosting and see if that helps your issue 🙂

    2. I have had that problem in the past also. What I discovered is that you need pure CANE sugar. Some powdered sugars are made from beet sugar, however, it is considered “sugar” and won’t be labeled as beet. Hope this helps.

    3. As with your frosting, mine was silky with the exception of the sugar granules from the pudding. I think I might try blending the pudding mix with the milk to try to dissolve the sugar prior to adding to the powdered sugar.

      1. Thanks:) so instead of one bean 1/2 t of powder and then make the paste with the powder and extract. Sorry making this for Easter.

  5. I made this cake for my birthday and it was such a hit, here I am 5 days later making it for my mom. I’m going to try using the flour frosting you suggested in a previous comment. At what point would you add in the pistachio pudding to the frosting? Thanks!

  6. Made it for Easter and it was great! Everything turned out perfect, my family ate it all up. I will definitely make it again. The color was perfect for spring.

    1. I’m so happy it turned out Michelle and that you guys all loved it! It truly is a pretty green!! Thank you so much for leaving a comment and letting me know it turned out!!

  7. My dad loves Pistachio and Vanilla. Sent him the ingredients for this cake in the mail for his birthday (he lives in Chicago, my sister and I in Texas). We made the cake together on skype and both of our cakes came out great. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. Hi Candice, I’m sure you could unfortunately you would have to cut the measurements down and I don’t know what they would be at this time. I can try and figure them out for you.

  8. I assume this cake should be left out on the counter until served if I make it just a few hours before? And then no refridgeration even for left overs right?

    1. Hey Katie, yes this can remain on the counter. It won’t spoil or anything. I usually refrigerate all my cakes regardless just because sometimes temperature fluctuations can make the frosting melt. I’ll add that to my notes on the recipe for future reference.

  9. For the pistachio pudding pkg, I am completely clueless. Could I use the jello instant pudding pkg or what do you suggest?

  10. Thanks Alli. Have you tried baking this with a 6 inch pan? If yes can you please share the measurement? If not, not a big deal…it’ll just be more for me! 😊
    Thank you

    1. Hey! I haven’t made it into a 6″ pan but here is some options – I would make it in 3 six inch pans and not reduce it. Or I would halve the recipe and have thinner 6inch layers. You could 1/3 the recipe of course, but that gets tricky and could change the integrity

  11. I just want to say how good this cake Is! I didn’t change anything. And it fits to 2x 6 inch pan ( 3 inch high). Thank you for sharing this recipe. ❤

  12. Hello, I am doing this tonight for a co worker. I do not have the vanilla beans, is it ok to use the Madagascar vanilla paste? How much should I put?

    I appreciate it if you could advise, thank you!

  13. Hello! I used 1/2 cup less organic sugar, doubled the vanilla extract for the cake batter and baked it in two Fat Daddio’s 6″x3″ spring form pans for 35 mins. The cakes turned out moist and delicious so this is my new “go to” vanilla cake recipe; thank you! My only issue was the chopped pistacio pieces contained in the pudding mix kept clogging my piping tips. Since this became a little frustrating, I turned the cakes into cake pops and melted the frosting to coat. Will definitely make for Christmas!

  14. I made this for Christmas and my husband’s family loved it! I will try your other frosting mentioned in the comments next time because I found this buttercream a little too sweet for my liking. Great cake, thank you for the wonderful recipe!

  15. Hi there- I’m making this cake for a birthday party this weekend and I can’t wait. Would you recommend chopped pistachios that are salted or unsalted for the garnish? Thanks 🙂

  16. Can I use less sugar powder for the frosting to make it less sweet???? Or do you have another frosting recipe to keep it fluffy creamy and less sweet? Thank you xo

  17. This cake looks so great ! I want to make it for Easter, but I was wondering can I subtitute de vanilla bean with something else ? Like with more vanilla extract ? If so, how much should I use to for the cake batter and the frosting ? And do you think it’s gonna taste as delicious than it is without the bean ?

  18. Do you have any high altitude directions? Making this for my daughters birthday this weekend and want it to turn out great!

  19. Hi. I substituted the AP flour for GF AP flour and I’m starting to get worried watching these cakes in the oven. They do not look like they have risen at all and they look bumpy and jiggly. Has anyone used GF flour for this recipe before with success?

  20. Hello I want to make this cake for Easter this year, but I can’t find the pistachio pudding… I am desperate! Help me please, I am in Quebec, Canada

    1. I wish I could help! I don’t know what a good substitute would be for the pudding itself as I’ve never used anything besides it. Do you have Walmart in Canada? Thats usually where I find my pudding.

  21. This cake looks devine. I’m in Australia, has anyone attempted to make in Australia? Is the pistachio pudding jello? Also all purpose flour is this plain or self raising? Really hope i can give it a go.

    1. Jello and pudding here in the states are two different things, the Jello brand itself does make pistachio pudding so if thats what you are wondering than yes, it is the jello. It would be plain flour for the all-purpose and not self raising. I hope this helps!

  22. I finally tried something from Pinterest! The cake, is ahhmazing! The frosting is a little grainy. I left the mixer going for about 10 minutes and it was still grainy. I am new to homemade frostings, so I may have not done something correct. I do love the flavor and the color is perfect for our Easter gathering tomorrow. All in all, a lovely recipe!! Thank you for sharing!

  23. I made this for Easter Sunday 2018 and have some thoughts on it:

    – I really enjoyed the concept of it, the color was perfect for Easter! The actual cake ingredients were really tasty and it had a nice consistency and just the right amount of sweetness to it

    – I really was not prepared for how expensive a fresh vanilla bean was and how labor intensive getting the bean extracted would be! Maybe it was my inexperience, but as a non-professional approaching this– it did not work out well and was expensive for the yield. I feel like just the extract or paste would’ve worked

    – The color was perfect, but my frosting came out grainy, too. Even when adding milk and whipping it very thoroughly. Maybe it was the brand of pudding mix (Kroger brand), but it just never got that nice buttercream flavor and instead tasted extremely sweet and again, grainy! Next time I’d reconsider cutting back on the 5c of powdered sugar and get a different brand of pudding mix.

  24. Looks delicious! What do you think about a pistachio cake with chocolate buttercream? (My husband’s request)

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