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Pistachio Cake

This Pistachio Cake is sweet, moist, and dense. It's made with real pistachios and is coated in a luxurious cream cheese frosting! This gluten-free cake is made with a few healthy ingredient swaps, but no one can ever tell!
Course Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American, Healthy, Vegetarian
Keyword pistachio cake, pistachio cake recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 37 minutes
Total Time 57 minutes
Servings 16 bars
Calories 108kcal
Author Chelsea Lords
Cost $7.12

Equipment

  • High powered blender (Note 1)
  • 8x8-inch baking pan, parchment paper, & cooking spray

Ingredients

Cake

  • 1 cup shelled pistachios (Note 2)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (up to 1 cup -- See Note 3)
  • 8 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (Note 4)

Optional Cream Cheese Frosting

  • 2 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1-3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened vanilla almond milk (or milk of choice)
  • Optional: additional chopped pistachios to top

Instructions

  • PREP: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (162 degrees C). Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with cooking spray. Set aside for now.
  • CAKE: Add the shelled pistachios and brown sugar to a large powerful blender (Blend-tec/Vitamix) and blend until pistachios are broken down and incorporated with brown sugar-- 20-30 seconds (don't blend too long we don't want to make pistachio butter!). Add in the cubed butter and pulse to break down butter. Scrape sides of blender and add in both eggs, milk, and vanilla extract. Blend until smooth and creamy. Add in the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cornstarch. Blend until the batter is completely smooth, stopping and scraping down edges as needed, about 90 seconds.
  • BAKE: Pour completely smooth batter into prepared baking pan using a spatula to scrape out every bit. Smooth the top with the spatula and bake for 37-43 minutes or until cake is lightly browned at edges and set in the middle (toothpick when inserted in the center should come out clean).
  • FROST: Meanwhile, place softened cream cheese in a large bowl. (Give it ample time to set out so your frosting isn't chunky.) Using a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese with the vanilla and salt until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar (beating in between additions) until smooth and creamy and to the desired consistency. Add milk and beat until smooth.
  • DECORATE: Frost the completely cooled cake evenly with the frosting. If desired, top the frosting with chopped pistachios.

Video

Notes

Note 1: Blender: You'll need a good, powerful blender (think Blendtec or Vitamix) to break down the pistachios without overheating the machine.
Note 2: Pistachios: We love dry roasted and lightly salted pistachios best — more flavor without any extra effort on your part. (Here's what we use in this cake).
Note 3: Light brown sugar: Make sure the sugar is soft and fresh for the best possible cake texture. If you are used to healthier treats, use 3/4 cup brown sugar, but if you'd like a sweeter cake, use 1 cup. I usually go with 1 cup!
Note 4: Corn starch: This is an important ingredient since we aren't using flour and need some additional support and thickness.
Nutrition information is for the cake only.  With the optional frosting one serving has 227 calories.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 108kcal | Carbohydrates: 13.1g | Protein: 0.7g | Fat: 5.8g | Cholesterol: 15.3mg | Sodium: 3.5mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 9.1g