Pistachio Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting (from Scratch)

Little Lucie was born on September 30, 2010, but before her arrival my girlfriend, Carrie, and I threw Lucie's mom, Suzanne, a baby shower at my parents' house in Maine. Suzanne requested a pistachio cake with chocolate frosting, however, after much sleuthing I couldn't find a single crave-worthy, from-scratch pistachio cake recipe. I emailed Annie at Annie's Eats and she did a test-run of a Martha Stewart recipe. But, when she described the cake as "dense" I knew it wasn't going to fly for my fluffy cake loving mom-to-be. So I set out to create my own all-natural (as in "from scratch") pistachio cake recipe to satisfy a pregnant woman's cravings.
The base for the cake is my favorite vanilla, which I developed for our wedding, and redeveloped after the cupcake baking fiasco. To it I added ground pistachios, bit by bit until the batter tasted heavenly. And then I added chopped pistachios for that little extra je ne sais quois. The frosting is a back-of-the-box chocolate frosting using Baker's unsweetened squares. The results are divine.
All-Natural Pistachio Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting
makes 24 cupcakes

1 c. unsalted butter at room temperature (2 sticks)
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 cups unsalted, shelled pistachios, measured then ground into a fine powder
2 1/2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1 c. milk
1/2 c. unsalted shelled pistachios, chopped

1. In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar for several minutes until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides.

2. Add eggs once at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla. Add ground pistachio powder.
3. Sift together dry ingredients and add in two batches, alternating with milk. Mix well after each addition until smooth. Stir in chopped pistachios. I suppose that at this point you could add a drop or two of green food coloring if a pistachio cake just isn't pistachio without the bright green color of jell-o pudding.

4. Line 24 muffin tins with paper liners and divide batter evenly among the 24 cups.

5. Bake at 350 for 18 - 22 minutes, just until the center of the cupcake bounces back when lightly touched. Cool in pan for a few minutes then remove from the pan and cool on a wire rack completely before frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
I usually double this recipe for a generous heaping of frosting on each cupcake

1/2 c. unsalted butter (1 stick)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate (4 squares), melted and cooled
16 oz. confectioner's sugar

2 t. vanilla
up to 1/3 c. milk

In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter until it's soft and fluffy. Add chocolate, sugar and half of the milk and mix until combined. Continue adding milk, slowly, until desired consistency. Beat very well until fluffy. If the frosting is too thick, add 1t. of milk at a time, beating well after each addition.

I like to divide the frosting evenly among the 24 cupcakes before spreading so I can make sure to frost each evenly.
Cupcakes can be baked ahead of time and frozen. To do so, freeze the frosted cupcakes on a cookie sheet until hard, then transfer to a freezer bag. Do not leave them open in the freezer for too long before transferring to an air-tight bag. Defrost the day of your party on a plate, uncovered.

Stumble This


  1. Anonymous7/19/2011

    Did the mom to be love them? I am looking for a pistachio cupcake recipe to fix for my husband during Ramadan, but do not want to waste pistachios if you didn't love the recipe!

  2. I made this as a layer cake this weekend -- superb! It's very hard to find a pistachio cake recipe that doesn't require pistachio paste (hard to find) or {gasp} pistachio pudding mix. Thanks so much for this!

  3. I cant wait to make recipe tonite! I will let u know the results!

  4. I must thank you for this recipe! The first bite has that pistachio taste. I used this recipe to make my cake pops.

    1. I'm so glad you liked it! I think I'll have to make them again sometime soon, it's been way too long!


Thanks for stopping by, your comments make our day!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...