Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake is a delicious cake recipe that I enjoyed while growing up. You use a boxed cake mix and add some additional ingredients to this and you have a wonderfully fresh-tasting pistachio cake.

This lovely cake has also been referred to as a Watergate Cake.

A slice of pistachio cake on a plate with the cake in the background.

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This pistachio cake has been a favorite around my family for a long, long, time. We have often made this cake for Christmas and St. Patricks Day, because of the color. But it’s so good, you should have it more than on holidays!

My grandmother McDowell often made pistachio cake when I went to go visit her. You can prepare this as a double-layered cake or even in a 13 x 9-inch pan. Both are equally as good.


Here’s a list of what you need:

  • White or yellow cake mix
  • All-purpose flour
  • Pistachio instant pudding mix
  • Eggs
  • Club soda or water
  • Vegetable oil
  • Chopped nuts
  • Milk
  • Dream Whip
Ingredients for Pistachio Cake, pudding mix, eggs, dream whip, and more

Ingredient Notes

This cake is made with a couple of boxes of pudding mix. The pudding mix makes the cake extra moist, it also adds a really nice subtle hint of pistachio.

This recipe was originally made with a different size of cake mix, cake mixes used to be 18 ounces, and now they are 15.25 ounces, so I adjust this recipe by adding 3 tablespoons of flour. We don’t need to worry about extra leavening agents because of the 3 eggs in this recipe.

This recipe also uses an ingredient you may not have tried before. Dream Whip is a powder that is mixed with milk and vanilla to make a whipped dessert topping.

Dream whip has a mild flavor that will not overpower the pistachio flavor of the pudding. You can find Dream Whip in the baking section of most grocery stores.

How to Make Pistachio Cake

  1. Combine cake mix, flour, pudding mix, eggs, club soda, oil, and nuts in a large mixer bowl.
  2. Blend and then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
  3. Pour the batter into a greased and floured 13 X 9-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  5. Remove the cake from the pans and cool completely.
  6. Pour milk into a deep bowl.
  7. Add the Dream Whip and pudding mix.
  8. Beat slowly to blend then gradually increase speed until mixture forms peaks.
  9. Spread frosting on the cake.
a slice of watergate cake

This cake must be refrigerated because of the delicate frosting. This isn’t the type of cake you can leave on your countertop. I feel it really helps to give the cake that extra bit of panache. The flavor is unique, and the cool refreshing cake really hits the spot.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as my family has over the years.

A whole pistachio cake AKA Watergate Cake

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A slice of pistachio cake on a plate with the cake in the background.

Pistachio Cake

This pistachio cake has been a family favorite for years at my house. 
5 from 6 votes
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Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pistachio Cake
Servings: 12
Calories: 343kcal


Cake Ingredients

  • 15.25 ounces cake mix white or yellow
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 package (4 serving size) pistachio instant pudding mix
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup club soda or water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Frosting Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups milk cold
  • 1 envelope Dream Whip
  • 1 package 4 serving size of instant pistachio pudding mix


Cake Directions

  • Combine all the cake ingredients in large mixer bowl. Blend, then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Pour into greased and floured 9 x 13-inch pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool and frost.  (You can use 2 9-inch rounds for this cake as well.)


  •  Pour the milk into a deep bowl. Add the Dream Whip and the pistachio pudding mix. Beat slowly to blend. Gradually increase speed until mixture forms peaks. Spread on cake.


Calories: 343kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 43mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 93mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 32g | Vitamin A: 110IU | Calcium: 125mg | Iron: 1.1mg
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About Stephanie Manley

I recreate your favorite restaurant recipes, so you can prepare these dishes at home. I help you cook dinner, and serve up dishes you know your family will love. You can find most of the ingredients for all of the recipes in your local grocery store.

Stephanie is the author of CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home, and CopyKat.com's Dining Out in the Home 2.

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Reader Interactions


  1. Janet

    5 stars
    I am 56 years old been making this cake since I was in 6th grade. (1975). When I found it on the back of a Jello pudding box hmmm

  2. Trisha

    Can Part of the cake or leftovers of this cake be placed in the freezer? If so how do you just it be stored in the freezer.

  3. eburr

    My daughter-in-law is gluten-free for medical reasons. I can get a gluten-free cake mix, but is there a sub for the flour? Oat flour maybe?

  4. Pyper1977

    5 stars
    This is the receipe I had lost and had no hope of finding – the only difference was frosting was made with cool whip, but I will try the Dream Whip – Thx

  5. Kerri

    5 stars
    This cake was also a big family tradition. My mother makes it at Christmas and it is the only cake my kids want for their birthdays. I lost the recipe and was so glad to find it on this site. It is a very moist and delicious cake. Thanks!

  6. j

    5 stars
    I made this cake this weekend for a get together and it was a big hit. It was wonderful in a very understated way. When you ate it, you realized it was good and light, super moist but you didn’t want to smear it all over yourself – not that good. BUT both me and my husband, after leaving the cake at a friends house kept thinking about and craving this cake – it’s special that way.

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