Pistachio Cupcakes

This color! It’s so pretty and vibrant and the rich pistachio flavor derives from chopped toasted pistachios in the cake batter, as well as a smidge of pistachio pudding mix used in the frosting.  Actually, the pudding mix is what gives you this perfect color and you only need a You can make a beautiful layer cake or you can make 24 cupcakes!

One thing I would suggest if you decide to make this cake is to sift out and discard as many of the tiny nut fragments as possible from the pistachio pudding mix when making the frosting. I encountered some blockages in my cake decorating tips due to the tiny bits of nuts. If you want to decorate the cupcakes with big swirls of frosting, use a # 824 open star frosting tip, which makes it pretty easy to create these giant swirly looking flowers! Okay, not that easy, I made several attempts, by scraping off the frosting and putting it back into the pastry bag, but with a little practice, you will get it, I promise! But, if you are good at making frosting roses with the rose nails, they would be beautiful on this cupcakes for springtime!

Here is a quick video of how to make the frosting flowers on the top of the cake or on cupcakes. And you can do this starting at the outside edges and end in the center for the cupcakes and reverse it for the flowers on top of the layer cake.

Quick tutorial on frosting the cupcakes!🧁

Pistachio Cupcakes

Toasted pistachios make these light and fluffy cupcakes extra flavorful with a little bit of crunch in the cupcakes. They are not too sweet and super moist, and topped with pistachio flavored buttercream frosting.
Servings 24 Cupcakes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 25 mins

Equipment

  • 2 regular 12 capacity muffin tins
  • 24 paper or foil cupcake liners
  • 1 pastry bag
  • 1 #824 open star cake decorating tip
  • 1 set of the matching couplers to attach the tip to the bag
  • 1 food processor for chopping the nuts

Ingredients

Pistachio Cake

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter 3/4 cup, at room temperature
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. pistachio pudding mix, nuts sifted out reserve the remaining mix for the frosting
  • 5 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup milk 2% or whole milk
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt I used Greek yogurt
  • 2 1/3 cups cake flour sifted with other dries
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups finely chopped unsalted, toasted pistachios Use 1 1/2 cups for cake and 1/2 cup for garnishes on top and around the cake. To toast pistachios, place them on a piece of foil in toaster oven at 250° F for about 8-10 minutes.
  • 1 recipe pistachio buttercream frosting (recipe below)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate shavings for garnish

Pistachio Buttercream Frosting – Makes enough to frost between layers and on top of an eight-inch 3-layer cake including the decorative flowers on top. (They take a lot of frosting:)

  • 4 sticks unsalted butter 1 pounding
  • 2 tsp. pistachio pudding mix, nut fragments sifted out
  • ¼ cup milk +/-
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 8 cups sifted powdered sugar +/-

Instructions

Pistachio Cake

  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 2 cupcake tins with paper liners. Spray the inside of the paper liner with cooking spray. Note* If you are making a layer cake, prepare three 8-inch layer pans by greasing and flouring the entire inside surface and fastening the damp “Bake-even” strips around the outside edges of the pans. (if you don’t have these, you can still bake this cake, but trust me, they are well worth the investment.)
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, 1 1/2 cups pistachios, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy and smooth. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts.
  • Beat in egg whites, until well integrated, scraping sides of the bowl as you go. Beat in yogurt.
  • Now, add dries alternately with milk, beating with each addition until well incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Begin and end with dries.
  • Divide batter into the three prepared pans and bake for about 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of the pan.
  • Remove cupcakes (or layer cakes) from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. While the cupcakes are cooling, make your frosting. Recipe below.
  • Frost cupcakes using a pastry bag and a #824 open star decorating tip for the big giant swirls, or simply frost with a frosting spatula. Sprinkle chocolate shavings over top of frosting.
  • If you made layers instead of cupcakes, here’s how to assemble it! Set aside about 1/3 of the frosting for decorations on top. Then, place the first cake layer on your cake plate. Spread about 1/2 -3/4 cup of the frosting over the first layer. Repeat with the remaining two layers. Then frost the sides. Finally, decorate the top of the cake with the remaining frosting, making giant swirly waves or flowers.

Pistachio Buttercream Frosting – Makes enough to frost a 3-layer cake and the decorative flowers on top

  • Dissolve the remaining pistachio pudding mix (nuts sifted out) in 1/4 cup of milk. Whisk until dissolved. This prevents your frosting from becoming grainy.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy and fluffy. Beat in the pistachio pudding-milk mixture and blend well. Mix in vanilla and almond extracts. 
  • Now, add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add milk as needed for consistency. Continue to add powdered sugar alternately with milk until you reach desired spreading consistency. If it’s too thick, add a little bit more milk and if it’s too thin, add a little more powdde sugar, each a little bit at a time.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: pistachio cake, pistachio cupcakes

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