Chocolate Pistachio Cake



The Chocolate Pistachio Cake is an elegant dessert, easy to assemble and the perfect centerpiece for any special occasion.

chocolate pistachio cake on a cake board

A rich decadent chocolate cake, a soft pistachio frosting, a smooth chocolate ganache: this chocolate pistachio cake has everything to make the perfect dessert. And a naked cake is a go for when you want an easy layer cake to assemble but still want a wow factor.

chocolate pistachio cake close up

Chocolate with pistachio, it’s a win match when you’re looking for which flavors go together. The chocolate cake layers I use for this recipe are moist and rich in flavor. The smooth pistachio buttercream is based on my ermine buttercream; it tastes amazing and it’s a good substitute when you don’t like American buttercream.

Why you will love this Chocolate Pistachio Cake?

  • Either for a birthday, a party or if you are looking for St Patrick’s desserts, this chocolate pistachio cake is the celebration cake to put on your table.
  • The chocolate cake is an easy cake to bake.
  • Ermine buttercream is easier than Swiss buttercream and not over sweet like the traditional American buttercream.
  • This pistachio frosting tastes amazing and it’s silky smooth and not too sweet. Made with homemade Pistachio Butter but you can opt for a store-bought jar if you wish.
  • This cake is wow, and will be fabulous on your table.


How do I store the Chocolate Pistachio Cake?

Keep the chocolate pistachio cake in the fridge and bring it back at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before serving (adjust the time according to your room temperature). You want the pistachio frosting soft.

If it’s not too hot, you can leave the cake at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours.

Can I make it ahead?

You can prepare the cakes (without the frosting) 2 days in advance. Let them completely cooled and wrap them tightly with cling film. Place them in the fridge.

You can prepare and assemble this chocolate pistachio cake one day before serving. Once the frosting is ready, assemble the cake and place it the fridge, covered with a cake dome to prevent absorption of fridge smells.

slice of chocolate pistachio cake

Try these cakes, next:

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Chocolate Pistachio Cake

  • Prep time: 1 hour
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Total time: 3 hours
  • Serves: 8

A rich decadent chocolate cake, a soft pistachio frosting, a smooth chocolate ganache: this Chocolate Pistachio Cake has everything to make the perfect dessert.


3 layer Chocolate Cakes

  • 75 g (2.64 oz) chocolate, finely chopped, 50-60% cocoa content
  • 150 g (1 cup + 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 75 g (3/4 cup) cocoa powder - Dutch Process
  • 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 150 g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 75 g (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons-packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 180 ml (3/4 cup) milk
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup + 3 tbsp) vegetable oil - neutral flavor
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pistachio Buttercream

  • 35 g (1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 125 g (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) caster sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 275 ml (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) milk
  • 250 g (1 cup + 2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 g (1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons) pistachio butter

Chocolate Ganache

  • 60 g (2.11 oz) chocolate - finely chopped , 50-60% cocoa content
  • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) heavy cream


Chocolate Cakes

  • 1)

    Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), fan off. Line three 6 inch (15cm) round cake pans with baking paper or grease with baking spray.

  • 2)

    Chop finely the chocolate and place it in a microwave-proof bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring after each time. Once the chocolate is almost melted, stop microwave and stir the chocolate until it is completely smooth. Set aside.

  • 3)

    In a large bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), baking powder, and baking soda. Add in the caster sugar, brown sugar, and salt. Whisk until combined.

  • 4)

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients: eggs, milk, oil, vanilla, and melted chocolate. Mix until combined but do not over mix.

  • 5)

    Divide the batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Weigh the batter is the more accurate way to ensure an even distribution of batter. (about 300 – 325g in each cake pan)

  • 6)

    Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Note: I place wet cake strips around the pans. It helps keep the sides moist and limits the dome on the top, but it usually takes 5 minutes extra to bake the cakes. So, start to monitor the cake after 25 minutes of baking.

  • 7)

    Let the cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.

Pistachio Buttercream

  • 1)

    Make sure to read my blog post about the Ermine Frosting. You will find tips, faqs and step by step images of the process.

    In a small saucepan, combine flour, sugar and salt. Add in your milk. Cook over medium-heat until a simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture is fully combined, no lumps remain, and it thickens to a pudding-like consistency.

    It usually takes between 10 to 15 minutes, depending on your stovetop and/or the size of your saucepan.

  • 2)

    Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

  • 3)

    Pour the mixture into a heat-proof bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Make sure to touch the surface of the mixture to prevent skin from forming. Cool to room temperature.

    Note: You can let it cool in the fridge but make sure to let it back to room temperature before continuing the recipe.

  • 4)

    When your pudding base is cooled and ready to continue the recipe, stir it with a spoon to soften a little bit.

    Note: your pudding base must be at room temperature but not too warm/not too soft to continue the recipe. The butter should be soft.

  • 5)

    Place your butter in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrap the sides as needed.

  • 6)

    While the mixer is running on a medium speed, add one tablespoon at the time of the pudding mixture, making sure it’s fully incorporated with the butter before each addition.

  • 7)

    Once all the pudding base is fully incorporated, swap with the whisk attachment and whip the ermine buttercream on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes until smooth and fluffy.

  • 8)

    Add the vanilla extract and pistachio butter, and whip on medium speed until fully incorporated but do not overmix.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 1)

    Place chocolate and cream in a microwave proof bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring after each time.

    Once chocolate looks almost melted, but not completely, stop microwave. Stir until it is fully melted and combined with the cream. Set it cool until your reach a spreadable ganache. It takes 20 to 40 minutes depending on your room temperature.


  • 1)

    Proceed when the cakes are completely cooled.

  • 2)

    Using a cake leveler or a long-serrated knife, level the cakes if needed to remove any domes and to have flat cakes.

  • 3)

    Place the first cake on a serving plate or a cakeboard. You can put some frosting in the middle of the cake board to prevent the cake from moving.

  • 4)

    Place 2/3 of  the Pistachio Buttercream in a piping bag fit with a round tip or just cut the end of the bag. Spread a layer of the frosting over the first cake layer. You can use a palette knife to level if needed.

  • 5)

    Top with the second cake layer and spread a layer of frosting.

  • 6)

    Top with the last layer of cake, making sure the cake is upside down to have a perfectly flat surface on the top.

  • 7)

    Using an offset palette knife, spread chocolate ganache on the surface. If the ganache is too set and not spreadable, microwave for 10 seconds.

  • 8)

    Place the remaining pistachio buttercream in a piping bag fit with a open star tip (Wilton 6B). Pipe spirals around the border or any other decorations.

  • 9)

    Chill the cake for 30 minutes to 1 hour before serving.


– US/UK Baking Spoons:  teaspoon: 5ml / tablespoon: 15ml / cup: 240ml

– The espresso powder enhances the chocolate flavor but it’s optional.

– I used Aluminum Cake Pans for this recipe.

– Scroll back to read tips and frequently asked questions within the blog post that you might find helpful


  • Jessica

    October 6, 2022 at 3:55 pm

    My bestie loves everything pistachio and green….this cake will be her next birthday cake for sure! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

  • Lauren Michael Harris

    October 7, 2022 at 10:20 am

    This is such a beautiful cake. I love pistachios., but haven’t really made many sweets with them. I really need to try this cake!

  • Amy Liu Dong

    October 8, 2022 at 8:36 am

    Seeing this cake is making my mouthwatering!
    It is so delicious and looks so easy to make, yum!

  • Sharon

    October 8, 2022 at 9:46 am

    I adore pistachio-based desserts and this layered chocolate cake with pistachio buttercream is an elegant but easy-to-make dessert that satisfies my pistachio cravings.

  • Amanda Mason

    October 8, 2022 at 3:15 pm

    So pretty and so good! I made this because I love making different types of cake and this was fabulous! The buttercream frosting is great and the hint of pistachio is such a different flavor add that works so well with this cake! I’ll be making this during the holidays, for sure!

  • Cathleen

    October 8, 2022 at 7:05 pm

    This cake is a new favourite in my kitchen. Thank you so much for sharing, I’m making it again for Canadian Thanksgiving on Monday 🙂

  • Hayley Dhanecha

    October 10, 2022 at 2:17 am

    Absolutely amazing looking cake! Moist and rich. Would love to have a big slice of it 🙂

  • Jenny

    October 10, 2022 at 2:26 am

    I love a cake that is beautiful to look at and not too sweet. The Ermine buttercream frosting beckons you to have more. Thanks for this lovely chocolate pistachio cake recipe.

  • Anna

    October 10, 2022 at 4:00 am

    Two of my favourite flavours in one delicious bake! The sponge looks so beautiful and the colour of that frosting is just fantastic! Perfect little bake for any celebration!

  • Kristina Tipps

    October 10, 2022 at 4:16 pm

    This a lovely recipe that isn’t too sweet but extremely flavorful. The buttercream frosting is to die for and it would make a great thanksgiving dessert.

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