A few months ago I was looking for desserts that aren’t made with refined sugar…It was when we (husband and I) had attempted to completely cut out sugar from our diet (currently taking a break from that ;)).

This is not very easy to do, especially for someone that loves baking as much as I do…so I wanted to find good substitute recipes. I don’t use sweeteners, artificial or natural, with my baking …the taste is too artificial leaving some sort of after-taste. Anyone that claims that ‘it tastes as good as the real thing’ clearly doesn’t know what the real thing tastes like…that’s my opinion. Not once have I tried something made with a sweetener and thought, yes this is a great replacement for that amazing decadent chocolate cake I make! Never once!

We should just admit and call those desserts out for what they are….low sugar desserts that don’t taste as good as the real thing but might be a fix to a sugar craving…long name but it works for me :p

Anyway, back to my search…I came across this cake made with honey vanilla buttercream on Joanne Eats Well With Others…and I got excited! But of course, upon reading the recipe I realised that yes indeed, sugar is used in the making of the cake and the buttercream…and honey is basically a flavouring I guess.

The cake is in my head. It’s eating away at me…pistachio cake and honey buttercream….sounds so right!!

Finally, I have the honour to bake this great concoction! And first time round, it doesn’t quite turn out the way I wanted it to. I recently moved and I was getting used to my oven and baking times…so i ended up just having the cake without frosting it…and even that was great!

Second time, I made it with the buttercream…and I sent the whole cake, without even tasting it, with my husband to work…

And third time I took it to a reception that was held for my sister, who just got married…

I had a slice…and yes…yes yes yes…the honey vanilla buttercream..the pistachio…the subtle marriage between the honey and pistachio! Too good!

I made a video throughout the whole process and uploaded it on YouTube. It’s quite challenging making videos solo. With the recording, it took me about 2.5 days to complete this cake and it took me 3 days to edit the videos and post on YouTube.

You can see the video below, or, along with other videos I have made, on jarofvanilla.com/videos (YouTube channel is Jar of Vanilla if you’re interested).

Pistachio Cake






Pistachio Cake with Honey Vanilla Buttercream
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 10 slices
This light and airy cake pairs extremely well with honey vanilla buttercream, giving you a subtle aroma of honeystachio!!! Enjoy it to the last crumb!!
For the cake
  • 1½ cups ice-water
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2½ cups cake flour (see notes)
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1¾ cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
For the buttercream
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • 1½ cups milk
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter, soft, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoon honey
Prepare the Cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 162 degrees C (325 degrees F)
  2. Grease three 9-inch cake pans. Line with parchment paper and grease again. Dust with flour
  3. Put some ice in a measuring cup. Add cold water (up to the 1 ½ cup mark) and set aside
  4. Pulse the pistachio in a food processor until coarse. Remove 2 tablespoons to a small bowl
  5. Grind the remaining pistachios until finely chopped.
  6. Combine the coarse and fine pistachios in a large bowl and whisk.
  7. Sift the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on top of the ground pistachios. Whisk until combined and set aside.
  8. Using the paddle attachment of the stand-up mixer, cream the butter for 3 minutes. Add the sugar and vanilla and beat for another 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
  9. Add in the egg and beat until just combined.
  10. Add the flour/pistachio mix to the batter in three additions, alternating with the ice water, mixing each time until just combined. Scrape down the bowl and mix on low speed for a few more seconds.
  11. In a separate medium sized clean bow, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.
  12. Gently fold egg whites into batter.
  13. If you have a kitchen scale, weigh batter (batter weight) = total weight – bowl weight.
  14. Divide batter among three cakes pans and smooth tops.
  15. Bake in preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes. (don't over bake). Toothpick inserted into center should come out almost clean (just a few crumbs sticking to it).
  16. Allow cakes to cool down for 20 minutes
  17. Flip warm cakes onto cooling racks and let cool completely before frosting
  18. Remove parchment paper from bottoms
Prepare the buttercream
  1. Combine the flour, sugar, heavy cream and milk in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth.
  2. Put saucepan on medium heat and whisk mixture continuously. You can remove whisk and start stirring with a wooden spoon.
  3. Stir until mixture thickens and starts bubbling.
  4. Pour hot mixture into the bowl of a standup mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and beat on high speed until it has completely cooled (about 10 minutes)
  5. Reduce speed to low and add butter, a few pieces at a time. Increase speed and beat for a few more minutes until light and fluffy
  6. Add honey and vanilla and beat again until combined.
Assemble the Cake:
  1. Level tops of cakes with a serrated knife.
  2. Place one layer on a cake board (top side up). Spread frosting onto the layer
  3. Place second later. Spread frosting onto the layer
  4. Place the final layer (bottom side up). Spread a thin layer of frosting all over the cake (crumb coating).
  5. Refrigerate cake for 30 minutes to set the crumb coat.
  6. After 30 minutes, evenly spread the remaining frosting on the sides and top of cake.
  7. Decorate with pistachios
*Cake flour is not readily available where I live, so here is the substitute I used: I used all-purpose flour. I removed 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour for ever cup of cake flour required; in total I removed 5 ‘levelled’ tablespoons of flour. I added 5 ‘levelled’ tablespoons of corn-starch and sifted them together. Please note that this is a substitution only for the cake flour. The remaining ingredients, including the ¾ cup all-purpose flour, were used as is with no changes made to them).




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