Isn’t this chocolate pistachio cake simply STUNNING?! I love everything about this gorgeous cake! It’s made with a heavenly combination of my moist chocolate cake recipe, paired with a rich pistachio buttercream made with pistachios, butter, Irish cream and cream cheese. This unique and delicious chocolate cake was inspired by one of my favorite chocolate truffles. And the pistachio frosting is one of my all-time favorite – I can eat it by the spoonful!
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Watch my YouTube video recipe for step-by-step instructions for making this chocolate pistachio cake! Want new recipe updates? Subscribe to my website emailing list and my YouTube channel to get a notification each time a new recipe goes live!
Ingredients for Chocolate Pistachio Cake
Here are the main ingredients you’ll need for making this delicious cake:
- Butter, Eggs, Sugar, Milk, Flour: for making the chocolate cake batter:
- Cocoa Powder: try using Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder to make a dark chocolate cake.
- Pistachios: use salted or unsalted shelled pistachios for making the pistachio buttercream.
- Irish Cream: this sweet and creamy liquor adds great flavor to the frosting! If you don’t have Irish cream, use regular cream and add an additional 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.
- Unsalted Butter: soften the butter at room temperature for about 30 minutes prior to making the buttercream.
- Cream Cheese: for making the frosting.
- Chocolate Chips: for making the chocolate ganache.
- Chocolate Pistachio Truffles: the candy I used to garnish the cake is sold in Russian or Eastern European stores. It’s so delicious and the inspiration behind this recipe.
The Chocolate Cake Recipe!
This unique pistachio cake recipe has been a huge hit on my blog and for good reason – it’s soo good! You’ll love every bite of this chocolate and nut cake. The chocolate cake layers I use for this cake are moist and rich in flavor. I’ve used the same versatile recipe for many recipes. For more about the chocolate cake, check out my ‘Back to Cake Basics’ episode – ‘The Perfect Chocolate Cake’. It’s a recipe that you’ll use over and over again. The chocolate cake layers are also soaked with sweet and creamy Irish cream to give the cake even more flavor!
The Pistachio Buttercream Frosting
As I mentioned above, this pistachio buttercream with Irish cream is amazing! It’s creamy, nutty and packed with incredible flavor. I even use a similar recipe as a filling for my ‘Pistachio Profiterols’. I got the inspiration for this cake from one of my favorite chocolate truffles – a delicious chocolate candy that’s filled with a pistachio creme filling that tastes almost identical to this recipe! Try this pistachio buttercream with other cake recipes, like my ‘Easy Vanilla Cake’!
How to Make Chocolate Pistachio Cake
Here’s how to assemble this delicious chocolate cake!
- Prepare the chocolate cake layers first and let them cool completely. If needed, place the cake layers into the refrigerator to cool them down faster. Once they’re cooled, use a serrated knife to split the cake layers in half.
- Meanwhile, prepare the pistachio buttercream frosting. If you’re not ready to use it right away, place it into the refrigerator to chill.
- To assemble the cake, lightly soak each cake layer with Irish cream. Spread a generous amount of buttercream between each cake layer, then frost the outside and smooth out top and sides. Place the cake into the refrigerator and let it set for about 20 to 40 minutes.
- Once the cake is set, pour over the chocolate ganache, add dollops of buttercream on top and garnish with chocolate pistachio truffles.
- Allow the cake to set in the refrigerator for a few hours, then enjoy. You can also make this cake ahead of time. It will keep well for up to 3 days.
The Chocolate Ganache
And to make this cake even more special, I coated it with chocolate ganache and garnished it with my favorite pistachio truffles! You can never go wrong with garnishing a cake with chocolate. Plus, it’s super easy to make! Check out my ‘Chocolate Ganache’ video tutorial for a more in-depth tutorial.
- Whisk together 3/4 cup chocolate chips with hot heavy cream until smooth. Pour into a ziplock bag and let the ganache stand for about 5 minutes to allow the air bubbles to dissipate.
- Pour ganache over the top of the cake and use spatula to smooth out the top. Let the chocolate ganache set in the refrigerator
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Enjoyed this pistachio cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!
- Chocolate Pistachio Profiteroles – these chocolate dipped cream puffs are filled with an Irish cream and pistachio filling!
- Almond Roca Cake– another candy inspired cake made with loads of Almond Roca and caramel!
- Ferrero Rocher Cake – rich, chocolate and hazelnut cake inspired by Ferrero Rocher candy!
- Pomegranate Pistachio Cake – delicate pistachio cake layers with pomegranate syrup and fruity cream!
Need some supplies to make this recipe? You can get them here (Amazon affiliate links):
- I love these aluminum round cake pans for baking. And use these pre-cut parchment paper rounds to save time.
- The classic KitchenAid stand mixer is a must in every kitchen.
- Use this set of jumbo cake decorating tips with these disposable pastry bags for decorating the cake.
- And these off-set spatulas and this bench scrapper are a must for cake decorating.
Enjoyed this recipe? Please share and save it to Pinterest!
Chocolate Pistachio Cake Recipe (video)
For Chocolate Cake Layers:
- 1/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
- 1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
For Pistachio Cream Buttercream:
- 1 cup unsalted pistachios
- 1/2 cup Irish cream, I used Bailey’s
- 2 cups butter, softened at room temperature
- 8 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- green food coloring, optional
For Chocolate Ganache:
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, heated until hot
- 1/2 cup Irish cream , for soaking the cake
For the Chocolate Cake:
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two, 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray; set aside.
- Place butter, eggs, vanilla, and sugar into a mixer bowl. Mix on high speed until smooth and uniform. In separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Use sifter or fine mesh strainer and sift in the flour mixture into the batter gradually, alternating with the milk; use spatula and mix by hand as to not over mix!
- Divide cake batter evenly between the two pans and bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes, until tops are completely set and toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cakes from pans once baked and let cool completely on wire rack. Once cooled, slice layers in half, to have four layers total.
For Pistachio Buttercream:
- Prepare the buttercream. Place pistachios into a food processor and pulse until nuts resemble fine crumbs. Add Irish cream and a few drops of green food coloring. Continue mixing in food processor for a few minutes until mixture resembles thick paste.
- Into a mixer bowl, add the butter and cream cheese. Mix until well-combined and fluffy. Add the prepared pistachio cream; gradually add the powdered sugar. Add less or more to your liking; more for a thicker buttercream. Reserve about 1 1/2 cups of buttercream in a pastry bag tipped with a star tip.
Assembling the Cake:
- To assemble the cake: lightly drizzle each layer with Irish cream and fill generously with buttercream. Frost the outside and smooth out top and sides. Place cake into the refrigerator and let it set for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate ganache. Whisk together 3/4 cup chocolate chips with hot heavy cream until smooth. Pour into a ziplock bag and let the ganache stand for about 5 minutes to allow the air bubbles to dissipate.
- Pour ganache over the top of the cake and use spatula to smooth out the top. Let the chocolate ganache set in the refrigerator, then garnish top with reserved buttercream. Can top cake with whole pistachios and chopped chocolate truffles.
- Let cake stand in refrigerator for a few hours to set. Remove about 30 minutes before serving; perfect with coffee and tea.