Pistachio Cake with Greek Yogurt & Coconut Icing
I am so glad I have this cake to help me through my Monday. I ended-up picking up hours Saturday night to help a coworker out and didn’t get to sleep until 2am. That is late for this old gal! Plus losing an hour on Sunday didn’t help my situation either. No worries though. Pistachio cake can solve all problems.
I knew after making the chocolate covered pistachio cake balls that I had to try making a pistachio cake on its own. I loved the flavor of the cake balls, but I thought the chocolate covering made them a bit too sweet for my taste. In addition, the cake balls were a lot of work so I wanted to make something a little more friendly to the clock.
So on Saturday morning, I started baking up a green storm in the kitchen!
My goal when making this cake was to imitate the popular recipe for pistachio cake made with Jell-O pudding mix but to offer a more natural and healthy version. And, of course, to have a festive, green dessert for St. Patrick’s Day!
Pistachio Cake with Greek Yogurt & Coconut Icing
- 1 box vanilla cake mix*
- 3 ounces baby spinach
- 3 eggs
- 2/3 cup almond milk + 3 tablespoons
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- 1/2 cup peeled pistachios
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
*The cake mix I bought called for 3 eggs, 2/3 cup milk, and 1/2 cup oil but any cake mix could be used in this recipe by replacing those ingredients for whatever brand you choose requires.
Greek Yogurt & Coconut Icing
- 10 ounces Plain Non-fat Greek Yogurt
- 10 ounces Vanilla Non-fat Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut, sweetened
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Start by preheating the oven to 350°F (180°C) and greasing two 9 inch round cake pans. I recently replaced my traditional non-stick cake pans with the brand, USA Pans which claims to be PTFE or PFOA free. So far, they have worked great!
Next, pour the boxed cake mix into a large bowl, then set aside. Place the eggs in a separate medium-sized bowl and set aside.
In a food processor, purée the spinach 1/4 cup coconut oil and then add to the bowl with the eggs.
Rinse and dry the processor then add 1/2 cup pistachios and grind to a fine texture, almost like a powder. Add 1/4 cup canola oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract and 3 tablespoons almond milk and pulse to combine. It should resemble the texture of a nut butter when it is done.
Add the pistachio mixture to the bowl with eggs and spinach then pour in 2/3 cup almond milk.
Beat on high with a mixer for 1 minute or until well combined. Add cake mix and beat for another minute on high until a batter has formed.
Pour cake mix into two greased cake pans and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.
Allow cakes to cool then transfer to a surface for icing.
I sliced each cake into two so that there were four layers. If you choose not to divide the cake into four layers and leave it as two, you could probably get away with using two or three, 5.3 ounce containers of Greek yogurt instead of four.
For the icing, pour Greek yogurt into a large bowl along with 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract. Beat on high for 1 minute then add 1/2 cup shredded coconut and continue to beat for another minute. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to help thicken the icing.
While icing the cake, toast 1/4 cup coconut in oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown. Top iced cake with toasted coconut and try to appreciate its beauty before devouring.
The icing can also easily be interchanged with a cream cheese or cool whip icing if you are averse to Greek yogurt or coconut.
I know spinach in a cake sounds nutty, but trust me, you cannot taste it, at all. If you have ever tried a green monster smoothie, you know how subtle the flavor of spinach can be and it works the same way in this cake. The flavor is so good and truly does taste like pistachios!
I am so excited to see a regular cake version of these balls you posted the other day. I have never had an success with cake balls but loved the sound of pistachio flavored cake. Coconut icing, this just sounds to perfect!
Thanks, Nicole! The cake turned out to be so good. I wish I could share some with you! :)
My aunt always makes the pistachio pudding cake, so I’m pretty pumped to see this recipe! Love that you snuck some spinach in there
I hope you’ll give this recipe a try. It tastes so much like the pudding cake recipe but doesn’t have the junk from the pudding mix!
YUM! This cake could definitely solve all world problems. I love all things pistachio and this cake looks like it would be perfect for a pistachio craving!
I am doing what I can to help world problems, one cake at a time! :)
Greek yogurt never ceases to amaze me! Who knew it was SO versatile?? I love it! :)
It is so good as an icing! A coconut cake recipe I’ve made before uses sour cream but Greek yogurt can easily takes its place.
Ohhhh gosh! That looks delicious! I hope I have a reason to make a cake for St Patty’s Day because I reallllllly want to try this out!!
Girl, you are after my heart. Pistachios AND coconut?? Yes, please. The layers look lovely and I really like the sprinkle of toasted coconut on top. Does the Greek yogurt frosting have the greek yogurt tang? I would love to use that, but there are a few in my family that don’t like the Greek Yogurt. And all healthy ingredients too… ;)
Quick Question. Just made this with my kids for my husband/their dad and I got up to the point where we were mixing with beater but was then unsure becasue we then had not added the cake mix. Oh no! Can I not read? So we added it at that point. Is this right?
Thanks! Thrilled to try our good-for-you green cake!
Yes, that is exactly when you should add it! Sorry I forgot to specify that in the recipe. I will definitely update it! I hope you love the cake! :)
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Hi, lovely cake. With what can I substitute the ready cake mix? Is there any sweet in the cake, like sugar?
Hi Ani! The cake mix did contain sugar. If you know of a vanilla cake recipe, you could use that in place of the boxed mix. I’m sorry I can’t be of more help but I will definitely consider recreating this recipe from scratch in the near future!
Dear Sarah, thank you for your reply. I want to make a pistachio cake. Do you think I can substitute the cake mix with simple, homemade sponge cake to which I can add spinach for beautiful green colour and pistachio paste?
Yes, I think that would work. I added vanilla extract and almond extract to bring out the pistachio flavor so you might consider those as well. I hope it turns out well for you!
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