My pistachio cardamom cake is packed with a delicate pistachio flavour and lightly spiced with aromatic cardamom. The cake is filled and covered with a wonderful cream cheese icing, extra chopped pistachios, slices of gulab jamun and rose petals for a truly stunning celebration cake!
Time to celebrate!
Now, I know cake does not always need to be for celebrations alone. But for special occasions or festivals, nothing can beat a good cake as part of the event. Whether it is a birthday, an anniversary, or a special festival such as Diwali or Christmas, cake is a must for me every time!
What ingredients do I need to make this pistachio cardamom cake?
- Pistachios: an essential ingredient in this eggless pistachio cake. Has a beautiful delicate flavour. Try to remove as much of the outer skin of the shelled nuts before blitzing and using them in the bake. This helps make the cake more green rather than brown in colour. You can also buy green pistachios, if you prefer.
- Flour: I use plain (all purpose) flour to make this pistachio cardamom cake. I prefer this as I can control the amount of rise in my cakes better.
- Baking powder: for rise and lightness and essential in these eggless pistachio cakes.
- Cardamom: the other flavour in this delicious cake. Add with caution, depending on your taste preferences and the source of the spice. More details on this in the “additional tips” section below.
- Nutmeg: an optional add in, brings a lovely gently additional warmth to the cardamom pistachio cake.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter, so I can control the amount of salt in the bake. Used in the pistachio cardamom cake and the cream cheese icing.
- Caster sugar: for sweetness in this pistachio cake recipe.
- Vanilla: rounds off the sweetness of this bake beautifully. Can also be substituted for almond extract if you wish.
- Yogurt: part of the liquid requirements for this pistachio cardamom cake. Keeps the cake tender and moist.
- Milk: I use whole milk in my baking for the best results.
- Icing (powdered) sugar: gives sweetness to the cream cheese frosting.
- Cream cheese: the tang of the cream cheese goes so well with the cake. I like a lighter layer of icing on my cakes, so it does not overwhelm the delicate flavours of the cake. Make sure to use full fat cream cheese when making this icing.
- Gulab jamun: totally optional, used for decoration on the pistachio cake.
- Rose petals: purely for the pretty pink colour!
What equipment do I need to make this eggless pistachio cake?
- Cake tins*: to bake the cakes in. I use two tins to make this pistachio layer cake, rather than baking as one and slicing once cool. I find this gives better cakes with a more even bake.
- Parchment/baking paper: to line the tins before baking the eggless pistachio cakes in them.
- Digital kitchen scales*: I provide all my measurements in cups too, however I would encourage all bakers to weigh out ingredients using weighing scales when baking. A set of digital kitchen scales is so useful and totally an essential baking tool for me.
- Measuring spoons*: a set of measuring spoons is essential for any baker. This is because these are more accurate than using everyday teaspoons and tablespoons, which can vary greatly in size.
- Food processor*: a brilliantly quick way to chop up the pistachios, and my preferred way for speed and convenience.
- Handheld electric mixer*: a useful tool to make life easier in the kitchen! You can, of course, make this whole recipe entirely by hand. But it will be quite the workout for your arm!
- Mixing bowl*: used to make both the pistachio cardamom cake and the cream cheese icing.
- Sieve*: to sift the dry ingredients before mixing with the wet ingredients for the pistachio cardamom cake.
- Whisk*: used to mix together and aerate the dry ingredients before adding to the wet.
- Spatula*: to scrape down the bowl with as ingredients are added, ensuring everything mixes together thoroughly. Also used to fold and scoop the cream cheese icing when decorating the cake.
- Piping bag*: used to spread the icing evenly between and on the pistachio cardamom cake layers.
- Offset spatula*: to help spread the icing over the cake smoothly and evenly, as well as creating the decoration on the side of the cake.
- Decorating turntable*: an optional tool, but useful to help you get smooth sides and top to the cake when levelling off the cream cheese frosting.
How to make my eggless pistachio cardamom cake
First, we will make the eggless pistachio cake layers, leaving them to cool completely before decorating. Next is the cream cheese frosting before the cake is brought together and decorated with extra pistachios, gulab jamun and rose petals.
For the cake
Step 1: Brush two 7″ circle cake tins with some melted butter. Line the bases with parchment paper and brush with a little butter again to make sure it sticks down well. Set the tins aside. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F whilst making the cake batter.
Step 2: Finely chop the pistachio nuts. You can do this by hand, but I prefer to use a food processor for speed and convenience. Be careful not to over process the nuts or you will end up with a pistachio nut butter instead.
Step 3: Sift together the plain (all purpose) flour, baking powder, cardamom and nutmeg into a bowl with the ground pistachios. Whisk it all together, then set the bowl aside.
Step 4: In a separate large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in the yogurt and vanilla and beat again to combine. The mixture may look slightly curdled. It will all come together in the end.
Step 5: Alternate adding the dry ingredients and the milk to the butter mixture, folding the ingredients together in between additions. I do this in five stages, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix the cake mixture, but only fold until combined.
Step 6: Bake the cakes in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes until risen and golden. The cakes will be springy to touch and a toothpick/wooden skewer inserted into the middle will come out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes in the tin before turning out and allowing to cool completely.
For the cream cheese frosting and decoration
Step 1: Beat the butter using an electric whisk for at least 5 minutes until it is fluffy, really pale and soft. This step is important, it gives a wonderfully light buttercream, so it is definitely worth being patient!
Step 2: Add in the icing sugar, giving it a quick stir around to prevent a sugar cloud when you start whisking. Spoon in the vanilla, then beat it all together for a few minutes until the buttercream is smooth and light.
Step 3: Slightly loosen the cream cheese with a spatula before tipping into the buttercream bowl. Beat the cream cheese into the buttercream until well mixed and totally smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and check everything is well combined. Transfer the cream cheese icing to a piping bag, if using.
Step 4: Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand. Pipe a layer of buttercream over the top of the cake, then sprinkle with extra chopped pistachio nuts, if you wish. Place the second layer of cake on top, then cover the top and sides with cream cheese frosting.
Step 5: Using an offset spatula or knife, smooth the icing out into an even smooth layer all over the cake. Holding the offset spatula vertically, gently drag it from the base up all around the edges of the cake to create a ridged effect around the side of the cake.
Step 6: Sprinkle some chopped pistachio nuts around the base of the cake, gently pushing it into the cream cheese icing. Decorate the top of the pistachio cardamom cake with chopped pistachios arranged in a crescent shape. Fan out some gulab jamun slices over the nuts, then sprinkle with some dried rose petals to finish the decoration. Enjoy!
How do I line my cake tins?
Place the cake tin on some parchment paper and trace around the base of the tin. Cut out this shape (two times, for two cake layers) and set aside. Melt some butter and use it to brush inside the base of the cake tin. Place the cut out circle of parchment paper on the buttered base and use the brush to flatten and ease it into the corners. Brush a little more butter over the parchment circle and up the sides of the cake tin. The tins are now ready to be used.
How can I tell when my cakes are baked?
You will know when the pistachio cardamom cakes are done as they will be firm to touch and will have shrunk away from the sides of the pan slightly. Additionally, a toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into a cake will come out clean or with one or two crumbs only.
How long does this eggless pistachio cake last? How do I store pistachio cardamom cake?
This cake is best eaten within 2-3 days of being made to be enjoyed at its best. Since the icing contains cream cheese, I would recommend keeping it chilled to store. Leave the cake out for about 20-30 minutes before serving to allow it to come to room temperature. This eggless pistachio cardamom cake is best enjoyed at room temperature.
How to freeze cake
If you wish to make this cake ahead of time and freeze it, this is no problem. I would recommend not freezing the assembled pistachio cardamom cake, but the individual cake layers instead. Then, when you are ready, you can defrost the layers, make the cream cheese frosting, and decorate the cake.
To freeze the cake layers, first make sure they are completely cool. Wrap each layer of cake tightly and securely in cling film, then a layer of tin foil and another tight layer of cling film. You do not want any moisture getting to the cakes, or they will turn out a soggy mess or risk freezer burn, hence thoroughness. Freeze the cakes on a flat surface until frozen before stacking in the freezer.
How to defrost your frozen cake layers
When you are ready to defrost and decorate the cardamom pistachio cake, simply remove the layers from the freezer and unwrap them. Place each cake in a single layer on a cooling rack, brushing off any remaining ice crystals, and leave to come to room temperature. The cakes are ready to be decorated once defrosted.
Can I make this cake gluten and dairy free?
I have not tried making this cake gluten free, but would image using a gluten free flour blend would work well. To make it dairy free, substitute the unsalted butter for a dairy free block butter, along with dairy free alternatives for the yogurt and milk. Remember too, you will need to use a dairy free alternative for the cream cheese in the frosting too.
By making this cake dairy free, you will be making this into a vegan pistachio cake.
Additional tips for making this pistachio cake recipe
- I like to have my pistachios finely chopped so they are almost like almond meal or breadcrumbs in size. This is much easier, not to mention quicker, to do in a food processor than by hand, but be careful not to over process and end up with pistachio paste instead!
- This recipe will work too with finely chopped (by hand) pistachios, however it will affect the texture of the finished bake. I would recommend having the nuts as finely chopped as possible in this cake.
- You can buy pre ground cardamom powder. It is often found in the spices section of the store. If you are unable to find it, you can grind up some whole cardamom at home too. Please keep in mind that freshly ground cardamom has a much stronger flavour than pre ground, and so you will require less than stated in the recipe.
- Almond extract is often used instead of vanilla in pistachio bakes, as it enhances the pistachio flavour in the bake. You can use either here, both are delicious!
- Make sure to use a full fat, thick yogurt such as a Greek yogurt when making the cakes. I always use full fat milk too for best flavour in my bakes.
- Once you start adding the dry ingredients to the butter/yogurt mixture, it is really important to swap to a spatula and fold the mixture to combine it. If you beat it with an electric whisk, you will end up with a gummy texture to the cake rather than a lighter fluffy one which we want.
- When making the cream cheese icing, you want to use a good quality, and again a full fat cream cheese. Low fat or own brand options often have a higher water content, leading to the buttercream splitting or being a runny mess and not setting well at all.
- I like to add extra chopped pistachio nuts in between the cake layers. This gives additional crunch, texture and flavour, and I love it! This is totally optional though, you can easily skip it if you wish.
If you have any questions about this pistachio cardamom cake recipe, please comment below and I will do my best to help. And do remember: if you enjoy this eggless pistachio cardamom cake recipe, please leave a rating and review below. You could even post a picture on Instagram and tag me when you share it with the world. You already know I would love to see!
More recipes from my blog for you to enjoy
If you enjoyed this cake, please do have a look at these recipes I think you will love too!
Rose pistachio and cardamom loaf cake (eggless): this loaf cake was inspired by the stunning flavours of India. Here, earthy pistachio, fragrant cardamom, and floral rose come together in this eggless bake create an incredible stunning cake that is truly out of this world.
Eggless cinnamon sugar donuts: these donuts are utterly addictive! Light, moist and wonderfully cakey, these baked donuts are dredged in the most glorious cinnamon sugar and enjoyed by everyone!
Red velvet cake (eggless): You will love this rich and moist eggless red velvet cake recipe. It has three layers of beautiful decadent red velvet sponge with a smooth and totally irresistible cream cheese icing. This is one showstopper of a cake you will not want to miss!
Thanks so much for joining me today. Enjoy my friends! x
Recommended equipment I used *
|Cake tins||Digital kitchen scales|
|Measuring spoons||Food processor|
|Handheld electric mixer||Mixing bowl|
|Offset spatula||Decorating turntable|