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Pistachio Pudding Cake Recipe

Pistachio Pudding Cake Recipe

This recipe has been under lock and key for years in our family. Everyone who's ever tried this moist, one-of-a-kind cake can't believe it's a mix. The dessert is perfect for St. Patrick's Day…and you won't need the luck of the Irish to whip it up! —Suzanne Winkhart, Bolivar, Ohio
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 40 min. + cooling YIELD:12 servings


  • 1 package yellow cake mix (regular size)
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup club soda
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • ICING:
  • 1 cup cold heavy whipping cream
  • 3/4 cup cold 2% milk
  • 1 package (3.4 ounces) instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2 teaspoons confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts


  • 1. In a large bowl, combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, soda and oil; beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in walnuts.
  • 2. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
  • 3. In a large bowl, beat the cream, milk, pudding mix and confectioners' sugar on high until stiff peaks form. Frost cake. Sprinkle with walnuts. Refrigerate until serving. Yield: 12 servings.

Recipe Note

Test Kitchen Tips

  • For perfect creamy icing, make sure that the heavy whipping cream is cold and that the thickest cream isn't left clinging to the carton. You need that fat to whip the cream properly.
  • This cake can also be made in a 13x9-in. baking dish. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Nutritional Facts

    1 slice: 482 calories, 28g fat (8g saturated fat), 99mg cholesterol, 555mg sodium, 53g carbohydrate (33g sugars, 1g fiber), 7g protein.

    Reviews for Pistachio Pudding Cake

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    Judi User ID: 8960327 271537
    Reviewed Aug. 9, 2017

    "I have made this many times, but instead of frosting it - I just made the pudding according to the package, let it set a bit then spooned it into the center hole of the cake - so when someone cut a piece they would have pistachio pudding as well. yummy"

    Luckyducky User ID: 9148932 264964
    Reviewed Apr. 21, 2017

    "Ready for a marriage proposal? Make this same cake the night before in an 11x15 pan, and bake for 20 minutes. As an alternative to the frosting, mix two instant pistachio puddings, and pour over cooled cake. Top with 16 oz cool whip or cream as called out in this recipe. Chill overnight-it gets better the longer it sets. This cake has replaced our need for sheet cakes. Coworkers LOVE this cake."

    Oat123 User ID: 6768008 263924
    Reviewed Mar. 26, 2017

    "I made this cake for the first time today. Let me just say this, so glad I only kept two pieces for my DH and I and brought the rest over to our daughter and her family. It is beyond delicious and I would eat much more than I should if we kept the whole cake home."

    halliebob User ID: 5532675 263685
    Reviewed Mar. 20, 2017


    Bev User ID: 9111108 263533
    Reviewed Mar. 16, 2017 Edited Mar. 17, 2017


    moonbabie720 User ID: 2055750 263527
    Reviewed Mar. 16, 2017

    "I have made this cake for years both as a bundt and as a layer cake! for the frosting i just use a large tub of cool whip mixed with a box of pudding mix and it is spectacular!! This is a favorite of mine!"

    Michelle User ID: 9056893 263480
    Reviewed Mar. 14, 2017

    "This turned out really good. I too had problems with the icing. I added two egg whites to it and then let the mixer rip. I especially like the cake and think this would taste just as good without the icing. Could easily be put into two half loaf pans & freeze one."

    Kristina User ID: 8974376 257182
    Reviewed Nov. 23, 2016

    "cake is done and cooling, can I frost and refrigerate over night?

    Sometimes cakes usually don't go in the fridge. I'm not an experienced baker. It smells awesome though so far!"

    moon07 User ID: 1289133 249046
    Reviewed Jun. 4, 2016

    "This has become a staple in my home and office! I actually skip the frosting all together! It doesn't need it! (I figure it saves me time and calories!) The girls in the office treat this like a "breakfast cake!" LOL! The WHOLE cake disappears in a half a day with 10-15 employees! I've made it for Christmas even! (Added a touch of green food coloring and topped with a strawberry glaze! :D) It's SO moist! It has a great "sturdy" body to it, so it does stand up like a bread. I'm about to make 2 this week so I can send some home with the people who love it! THANK U SO MUCH FOR THIS RECIPE!!!"

    Sarah6534 User ID: 8312338 246598
    Reviewed Apr. 4, 2016

    "Just made this for work and everyone loved it! People say they had a hard time with the frosting, but I followed the exact recipe and it turned out perfect. You really need to whisk it. I used my kitchen aid mixer and put it on a high speed for several minutes until it peaked."

    Phall2013 User ID: 5046424 245563
    Reviewed Mar. 17, 2016

    "Made this for the first time, it was easy and delicious. I followed the cake directions to the T. The frosting directions I omitted the walnuts and added chopped pistachios on top of the frosting. In making the frosting I followed the directions however, I started with a quarter cup milk and added as I went . A 1/3 To a 1/2cup of milk is what I believed is used. 3/4 is way too much. Hope that helps with the frosting issues. Thank you for the recipe."

    brewster86 User ID: 7516664 245455
    Reviewed Mar. 14, 2016

    "Made this cake today for a ladies' luncheon; it was delicious, so delicious that everyone had a second piece. I had no trouble with the frosting but instead of 2% milk I used Almond milk. Has anyone tried using a different flavor pudding?"

    Sharon mcfarland User ID: 8801879 245409
    Reviewed Mar. 13, 2016

    "cake was good. I too had problems with the icing getting it to form stiff peaks after beating it for an extended time. I added more powdered sugar. I will definitely make it again but I think I might reduce the 2% milk adding more whipping cream."

    dhbarber2010 User ID: 7476841 245347
    Reviewed Mar. 13, 2016

    "cake was great but i did have trouble with the icing. I agree with another comment I saw someone should spend time to tweak the icing recipe. I could not get mine to full stiff peak. I stuck it in the fridge hoping that would help. It was good but still soft sliding down my cake. I think i should haved used more powdered sugar."

    cmdp User ID: 1840023 245288
    Reviewed Mar. 11, 2016

    "I've had this cake for a number of years known as Watergate cake and was always good. The recipe was on the pistachio pudding box."

    happy homesteader User ID: 1661851 243744
    Reviewed Feb. 13, 2016

    "So good. I use for coffee hour at church."

    erinn624 User ID: 1057272 240486
    Reviewed Dec. 28, 2015

    "I LOVE this recipe - I've made it several times using a white cake mix because that's my favorite! The frosting is delicious - not too sweet. I get rave reviews every time!"

    TheDix User ID: 607421 223462
    Reviewed Mar. 24, 2015

    "Good cake, nice mild flavor, moist. I made the frosting w/Dream Whip. Very Good!"

    domenica_holman User ID: 8228590 222350
    Reviewed Mar. 8, 2015

    "This cake was so easy to make and delicious! The only difference was that I used vegetable oil instead of canola oil only because that's what I had. This cake was light, moist, and simply flavorful. I can't wait to make it again."

    pattimurphy User ID: 8240861 220480
    Reviewed Feb. 14, 2015

    "Good. Wonderful moisture!"

    JaayCe User ID: 7195132 220270
    Reviewed Feb. 11, 2015

    "cake is good but the recipe Is one that was widely published in the 1970's. LOL. Hardly one kept under lock and key!! It was in magazines and on the back of cake mix boxes."

    gracefullikeagazelle User ID: 7384426 120644
    Reviewed Aug. 18, 2014

    "Made this yesterday using "flat" Sprite instead of club soda and pistachios in place of walnuts. Omitted the sugar in the icing and again, substituted pistachios for the walnuts.

    While the icing was lovely: buttery and to-die-for, I found the cake dry and pretty much tasteless. Perhpas that's because I used a mini-bundt cake pan (6 individual cakes) instead of a tube pan? I doubt I will attempt the cake again but the icing recipe is 100% a keeper!"

    adamsme47 User ID: 4289102 117388
    Reviewed Apr. 15, 2014

    "I have been making this recipe for a number of years from a Parade magazine but only use powdered sugar sprinkled on cake for icing. Yummmm"

    myrakk User ID: 6683340 106305
    Reviewed Mar. 25, 2014

    "Very good"

    sortiz53 User ID: 7161550 211495
    Reviewed Mar. 16, 2014

    "I made this for my St. Paddy's Bunco and it was a hit!!! even people that don't like pistachios liked it...the only thing I did different was put pistachio instead of the walnuts and chocolate pistachio toffee pieces on top from Trader Joe's. I will make this again and again thanks, Sassy"

    Eckfan4343 User ID: 2869442 211494
    Reviewed Mar. 11, 2014

    "I would have given five stars but since the recipe calls for walnuts on a pistachio cake, I only gave it four. It is a really good cake, I used ginger ale because that is all I had and of course pistachios, since it's supposed to be a pistachio cake."

    marriedtraveler User ID: 5476049 186927
    Reviewed Mar. 11, 2014

    "Question! Are you using a box cake that already has pudding added?"

    cidiu User ID: 7198722 120643
    Reviewed Mar. 26, 2013

    "Haven't tried it yet, but was wondering why one would use walnuts and not pistachios?"

    Helena Dunn User ID: 6923372 117387
    Reviewed Mar. 12, 2013 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "mom made this cake all the time for church functions it was called "watergate cake" but used a white cake mix and seven up instead of club soda. It is a big hit at my church's fellowship dinners people fight over it!!!! very good no matter the version you use"

    pinksuitcases User ID: 630663 117386
    Reviewed Mar. 8, 2013

    "I made this for my niece's fourteenth birthday party. I made the cake as directed and took the advice of others and did the frosting with Dream Whip, the pudding mix and 1 1/4 c. milk. It was a HUGE hit! The frosting got special was so light and delicious.. I highly recommend this one. Super easy to boot!"

    belangmt User ID: 7162743 128329
    Reviewed Mar. 6, 2013

    "I have this recipe in one of my cookbooks from years ago. I've always made it in March for St Patricks Day and during the year changed it around to put the icing in the middle and on a devil's food bundt cake."

    1brownie User ID: 609688 170070
    Reviewed Mar. 5, 2013

    "Why do you have to use the club soda? Why can't you use milk or water?"

    cmdp1 User ID: 2839647 117385
    Reviewed Mar. 4, 2013 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "We've had this recipe for years from the Jello cookbook and was on the side of the pistachio pudding box known as the "Watergate cake". My Mom made it all the time. It is really delicious and not a new recipe!!!"

    huntingwidoe User ID: 1714590 171112
    Reviewed Mar. 3, 2013

    "This is one of my favorite cakes. So happy to have found this recipe."

    MY REVIEW User ID: 918144 189490
    Reviewed Jun. 3, 2012

    "This cake is now my new favorite. It is so moist. I love that the frosting is not especially sweet. I've shared the recipe with many friends."

    reddox2 User ID: 5260037 120642
    Reviewed May. 3, 2012

    "This cake can be found in the Jell-O Pudding cookbook,"easy Homemade Desserts with Jell-O Pudding," published in 1979 and, yes, it is very good. They use the Dream Whip and pudding for the icing, which is very good. I have also been making this for years."

    va2007 User ID: 5989449 190037
    Reviewed Apr. 11, 2012

    "This is the best pistachio cake I've ever made. I think the secret is in the icing!"

    vieux User ID: 4712790 211493
    Reviewed Mar. 20, 2012

    "I am not a huge fan of desserts but this is one that I will eat in a New York minute. The only thing I do differently is to use pistachios since this IS a pistachio cake"

    yummymummy919 User ID: 5362181 211492
    Reviewed Mar. 20, 2012

    "Lacked flavor. Boring"

    Janecooks67 User ID: 3461916 186925
    Reviewed Mar. 16, 2012 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "We love this cake and use whipped cream just like it says in the recipe. have any of you ever checked the ingredients in cool whip? better to use the real stuff."

    MichelleDegeus User ID: 6063487 175160
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012

    "I have almost this exact recipe that has been in my family for years. Mine is made with a white cake mix and no oil or nuts in the cake and no nuts or extra sugar in the icing. People rave about it and beg me for the recipe."

    ABRFosterMom User ID: 2321265 186444
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012

    "Had this for years, but in a 13x9 pan. Could work in a Bundt, too. Everyone loves this moist cake! I hate to share it. Yum!!!"

    wjb2 User ID: 3200021 106278
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012

    "i have made this cake for many years and i also use the dream whip it is a very moist cake."

    Kirkendall1 User ID: 4274653 171105
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012

    "Another variation I frequently have used involves reserving I/3 of the batter to which I add 1/3 cup of chocolate sauce. Gently pour this brown batter on top of the other 2/3 in the Bundt pan. As it bakes, the green batter being less dense, will bake up around the chocolate. This makes a "chocolate tunnel" Always wins compliments,,,"

    perfic1 User ID: 3914185 175153
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "I have made this many times excellent. Also used pistachio nuts instead of walnuts. For the frosting used pudding and cool whip. great combo."

    Cheryl526 User ID: 1402740 128328
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "I have been making this cake for 40 years. I received it from my sister-in-law and this is the cake my daughter wants for her birthday. The only difference is in the frosting. I use "Dream Whip" topping and add the pistachio pudding to this. It is wonderful."

    MY REVIEW User ID: 212835 103464
    Reviewed Mar. 15, 2012 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "Made this cake before, it is very good. My family really likes it. I have a better suggestion for the frosting. I use this any time I make a cake. Use the pistachio pudding mix, 1 1/4 cups 1 % milk and a package of Dream Whip. Whip for a few minutes with the electric Mixmaster until soft peaks form. Use this to frost the cake. It is delicious and much lower in fat and calories than the version make with whipping cream."

    agustaw User ID: 5920828 109729
    Reviewed Nov. 19, 2011

    "this is a favorite of everyone..."

    Rockamama User ID: 1263362 171104
    Reviewed Sep. 15, 2011

    "Too sweet."

    hipmomof5 User ID: 4465683 188308
    Reviewed May. 28, 2011

    "I whip my heavy whipping cream until it starts to set up before I add the other ingredients. Always works to perfection! Very good cake and a fast favorite!"

    raynettes User ID: 3692567 188304
    Reviewed Apr. 28, 2011

    "I have made this cake in a 9x13 inch pan and cut cooking time to 35-40 minutes. I have gotten rave reviews from co-workers and family and friends. Made for St. Patricks day and Easter."

    Skagitman1 User ID: 5439586 103463
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2011

    "This cake is wonderful. Stiff peaks in the frosting were difficult to get until I remembered that the pudding mix needed some time to set. After a few minutes, stiff peaks with no problem. This is a "universal" frosting. All you need do is change the pudding mix then you can have strawberry, banana, etc."

    Skagitman1 User ID: 5439586 146035
    Reviewed Apr. 8, 2011

    "Just made for my wife's ladies Bible study group. They loved it! I'll make this one many more times. Frosting is so light and lucious!"

    MY REVIEW User ID: 1597527 128327
    Reviewed Mar. 21, 2011

    "The simple and not so sweet whipped icing is the bomb. Thanks for sharing."

    diggerwoz8 User ID: 762891 103454
    Reviewed Mar. 20, 2011

    "WOW!!! My family and I LOVE this cake! I had no problem with the frosting. Everything came out great. I did use pistachio nuts on top. Thanx Suzanne for sharing the family secret."

    Brendainny User ID: 1554694 117384
    Reviewed Mar. 18, 2011

    "This cake was very moist and raised up very hight. Everyone I served it to loved it. It's a keeper"

    jbug827 User ID: 1013132 128326
    Reviewed Mar. 17, 2011

    "The cake was delicious. I had the same problem as another reviewer with the frosting. I tried everything, but couldn't get the right consistency. My father-in-law is a baker and recommended whipping the cream and powdered sugar together to get the stiff peaks and then to make the pudding and fold it into the cream. Will try that next time and hopefully have better results!"

    Ender2006 User ID: 5864585 175152
    Reviewed Mar. 8, 2011

    "Made this for work. It was very well received. Substituted chopped pistachios on the outside (left walnuts inside mix). Had to add quite a bit of powdered sugar to the icing to get it to stiffen up enough to use despite lots of mixing and refrigeration. Somebody should review the icing and maybe modify recipe so its possible to match the picture's depth.

    quick tip for cake pan greasing: take you hand and place into a ziploc. Run fingers through bag into Crisco and spread on pan evenly. Discard bag and lightly flour pan then turn upside down and tamp to remove excess flour over sink."

    Aubrie C User ID: 5835198 186917
    Reviewed Feb. 20, 2011

    "The cake was so moist, and the "frosting" was just the perfect amount of light and sweet. My whole family loved it."

    BakinGymnast User ID: 5767825 175151
    Reviewed Feb. 18, 2011

    "This cake really isn't a secret. I've seen the exact recipe for the cake on the Kraft website."

    pmsf66 User ID: 3796984 146034
    Reviewed Feb. 10, 2011 Edited Mar. 17, 2017

    "This was a wonderful and easy cake to make. It was a real treat to my loved ones. I will definitely make it again!"

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