Food & Dining

Win The Cake War By Perfecting This Pistachio Layer Cake with Dreamy Buttercream Frosting

Win The Cake War By Perfecting This Pistachio Layer Cake with Dreamy Buttercream Frosting



Food Magazine columnist Chef Joey Prats set out to create a masterpiece built around the theme of joyful revelry. Here's his devastatingly sinful creation that boasts of three thick layers of moist pistachio cake, juxtaposed with a light buttercream frosting.

Pistachio Layer Cake with Dreamy Buttercream Frosting

Makes one 9-inch cake


4 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

3 cups caster sugar

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, slightly softened

6 medium whole eggs

1 1/2 cups fresh whole milk

1 tablespoon pure almond   extract

3/4 teaspoon electric green  soft gel paste food color  

1 cup finely chopped pistachio nuts

1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts, lightly toasted and chopped, for topping

2 tablespoons finely ground pistachio nuts, for dusting, optional

12 milk chocolate buttons, optional


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease 3 round 9-inch cake pans, 2 inches deep. Line bottoms with non-stick baking paper. Grease paper and then dust with flour.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; place in mixer bowl. Add caster sugar. Using a paddle attachment, beat on low speed for 1 minute.

3. Add unsalted butter. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl.

4. Combine whole eggs, milk, almond extract and food color in a bowl. Whisk until blended. Add 1/3 of liquid ingredients to flourbutter mixture; beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl. Add another 1/3 of liquid ingredients and beat for 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl. Add remaining liquid ingredients and beat for 3 minutes. Scrape down bowl. Fold in pistachio nuts.

5. Evenly divide batter among prepared cake pans. Bake for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Do not overbake.

6. Remove cakes from the oven and cool to room temperature in the pans. Wrap the pans in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

7. To assemble, unmold cake layers. Using a long serrated knife, trim off tops of cake to create even, flat layers. Fill and frost cake layers with buttercream frosting (recipe below). Sprinkle chopped pistachio nuts on top.

8. For a more elaborate decoration, run an icing comb around sides of cake. Mask bottom half of cake  with chopped pistachio nuts. Dust top of cake with finely ground pistachio nuts. Score top into 12 portions. Place reserved buttercream in a pastry bag fitted with a medium open star tip. Pipe a rosette on each portion, and then top the rosettes with milk chocolate buttons.

9. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.

Buttercream Frosting


2 cups caster sugar

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons water

1/3 cup light corn syrup

12 medium egg yolks

3 cups unsalted butter,    slightly softened

2 teaspoons pure almond    extract

1/2 teaspoon electric green   soft gel paste food color 


1. Combine sugar, water and corn syrup in a saucepan. Over medium heat, bring syrup to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once syrup boils, continue cooking over medium heat without stirring until temperature reaches 240°F (soft ball stage).

2. While syrup is cooking, place egg yolks in mixer bowl and whip on high speed until light and thick.

3. As soon as syrup reaches 240°F, pour it slowly into the egg yolks while whipping. Continue whipping until mixture is cool.

4. Place unsalted butter in another mixer bowl. Using the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed for 10 minutes, until light and fluffy. Gradually add egg yolk mixture. Continue beating until buttercream is smooth. Add pure almond extract and food color.

To get just the right pistachio green color, Chef Joey prefers Americolor electric green soft gel paste, available in most bakery supply stores. Or else, blend green and yellow liquid food coloring. Sign up for Chef Joey’s baking and pastry classes on Facebook.


Recipe and photo originally published in Food Magazine





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