Pistachio Cake

Pistachio Cake is a delicious cake recipe that I enjoyed while growing up. You use a box cake mix and add some additional ingredients to this and you have a wonderfully fresh-tasting pistachio cake, the cake has a tender crumb, it’s perfectly moist, and a wonderful fluffy frosting, you just can’t go wrong with this recipe!

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.

This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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! Put this lovely green cake on a serving plate and you are going to have one beautiful cake, not to mention the best pistachio cake you have ever tried.

Why this cake is the perfect pistachio cake!

This is the perfect cake to make because it can be made in a variety of pans, you can make this in a bundt pan, it can be made with two cake layers, or it can be made in a rectangle cake pan. This makes very moist pistachio cake with a delicious pistachio frosting. Just one slice of cake will make you fall in love with this delicious recipe. This recipe has been one that was handed down from my Grandmother, so this is family approved tried and true recipe. I know you are going to love this!


Here’s a list of what you need:

  • White cake mix or yellow cake mix – I prefer Duncan Hines Golden Butter Cake mix
  • All-purpose flour
  • Pistachio instant pudding mix – grab the 4 serving size one
  • Eggs – I use extra-large eggs
  • Club soda or water – either will work, but club soda gives you a nice lift to the cake
  • Vegetable oil
  • Chopped nuts – any will do but unsalted pistachios add a really nice touch
  • Milk – I prefer whole milk
  • Dream Whip – Dream Whip is sold typically near the puddings and jello, it is a dry mix that is something like a Cool Whip, but this holds up better than Cool Whip for the frosting.
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This recipe was originally made with a different size of cake mix, cake mixes used to be 18 ounces, and now they are 15.25 ounces, so I adjust this recipe by adding 3 tablespoons of flour.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. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cake mix, flour, pudding mix, eggs, club soda, oil, and nuts in a large mixer bowl.
  3. Blend and then beat at medium speed for 2 minutes with an electric mixer.
  4. Pour the cake batter into a greased and floured 13 X 9-inch pan or two 9-inch cake pans.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Remove the cake from the pans and cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack.
  7. Pour milk into a large mixing bowl.
  8. Add the Dream Whip and pudding mix.
  9. Beat slowly to blend then gradually increase speed until mixture forms peaks.
  10. Spread frosting on the cake.
a slice of watergate cake

Variations to this Recipe

While I may love the cake just like it is, you may want to try some of these variations.

  • Add a teaspoon of almond extract to the cake batter for extra flavor
  • Want your cake to have more green color? You can add a couple of drops of green food coloring.
  • Turn this into a bundt cake by using a bundt cake pan

How to Store Pistachio Cake

This cake must be refrigerated because of the delicate frosting. This isn’t the type of cake you can leave on your 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 do not recommend freezing this cake after it has been frosted.

I hoI hope you give this easy dessert recipe a try! This is an easy pistachio cake recipe that you are bound to love just as much as my family has enjoyed it over the years. We love the different flavors, this pistachio pudding cake has a nutty and sweet flavor that we just love. I know you will love this tender moist cake with this fluffy frosting.

A whole pistachio cake AKA Watergate Cake

Love cake? Check out these recipes!

Christmas Recipes

Be sure to check out more of the best cake recipes and easy Christmas recipes to make for your family and friends.

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 16 votes
Print Pin Rate Add to Collection
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Pistachio Cake
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
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

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare the cake pans by greasing and flouring them so the cake does not stick.
  • Combine all the dry cake ingredients in large mixer bowl.
  • With an electrix mixer mix 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.
  • With and electric mixer mix on low speed for about 30 seconds. 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

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.

REVEALED: Copycat Secrets for 2023

free email bonus

Yes, you CAN make it at home! I'll show you how.

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Reader Interactions


  1. Mary A Conrad

    I made this cake for a family member for her 80th birthday party (she’s now 90!) I increased all the measurements for a full sheet cake and it still came out good! I torte the layers with fresh strawberries and the frosting and the family loves it. It’s now become the go to for all the family functions.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. 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?

  5. 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

  6. 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!

  7. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

homemade Olive Garden Asiago Torgelloni Alfredo with chicken on a plate

Copycat Recipe Secrets for 2024


Yes, you CAN make it at home! 
I'll show you how.