Pistachio Cake With Watergate Frosting
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5 from 1 vote

Pistachio Cake With Watergate Frosting

A better pistachio cake, this one's made from scratch. 
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pistachio, watergate
Method: Bake
Skill Level: Basic
Servings: 12
Calories: 252kcal
Author: Marilyn



  • 6 Large egg yolks lightly beaten
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 cups cake flour Sifted
  • 1/3 cup pistachios finely ground, roasted
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1 Pkg Jell-O instant pistachio pudding mix 3 1/2 ounce
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt omit if using salted nuts
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter softened to a cool room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon almond extract Or 1 tablespoon walnut oil or 1 tablespoon olive oil


  • 9 ounces whipped topping
  • 3 1/2 Ounce instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk



  • Heat oven to 350F.
  • Combine eggs, extract and 1/4 of the sour cream in a small bowl.
  • Cut butter into chunks.
  • Put remaining sour cream in another small bowl with tablespoon of oil.
  • allow all ingredients to come to room temperature while you prepare a rectangular pan. Spray sparingly with Pam for baking.
  • Toast pistachios in a 350 degree (f.) oven for 7-8 minutes, cool then grind fine, (I use a bag and rolling pin)-- if using dry measuring cups be sure to grind first then measure Sift all dry ingredients into the work bowl of your mixer and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine.
  • Add softened butter and sour cream, mix on low to combine, scrape bowl, beat on medium (med-high for a hand mixer) for 90 seconds.
  • This will aerate the cake and give it structure.
  • Scrape the bowl down and in two additions add the egg mixture, beating for 20 seconds after each addition.
  • Scrape the bowl one last time and give it a couple pulses.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, (rotate pan 180 degrees after 25 minutes) a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean and the top of the cake will spring back when lightly pressed.
  • Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for 10 minutes.


  • Mix all ingredients.
  • Beat until thick.
  • Pour onto cooled cake.
  • Top with chopped nuts if desired.


It's delicious slightly warm with just a dusting of powdered sugar, topped with sweetened whipped cream or served with pistachio ice cream.
You can also add walnuts to give it a bit more texture.
© MARILYN'S TREATS. All images are copyright protected.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 252kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0g | Trans Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 311mg | Potassium: 0mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 0IU | Vitamin C: 0mg | Calcium: 0mg | Iron: 0mg