Pistachio Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (video)

a slice of pistachio carrot cake on a plate, with a cake on a cake stand

My new and improved recipe for the best pistachio carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. On the inside, you’ll find moist, rich, and delicious cake layers dotted with grated carrots and diced pistachios. The layers are frosted with a thick and creamy frosting, then garnished with more pistachios and fun carrots made of frosting. This carrot cake is perfect for Easter and other spring-time occasions, or anytime of the year!

Watch My Carrot Cake Video!

Watch my YouTube carrot cake video tutorial for step-by-step instructions and see how I assemble and decorate the cake. Want to stay up to date on the latest recipes? Make sure to subscribe to my website email list and my YouTube channel and turn on notifications.

Ingredients for Pistachio Carrot Cake

Here are my tips for the main ingredients you’ll need to make this cake. Find the full list of ingredients with measurements in the printable recipe card below.

  • Carrots – regular, orange carrots will work best for this recipe.
  • Pistachios – I love to use salted, roasted pistachios. The combination of sweet and salty is perfection!
  • Greek Yogurt – go with a 2 to 5% fat content for best results and a richer cake.
  • Eggs – have the eggs at room temperature for best results.
  • All-Purpose Flour, Baking Soda, & Baking Powder
  • Unsalted Butter – for making the frosting. Make sure the butter isn’t too soft!
  • Cream Cheese – for the frosting.

Supplies & Tools for the Recipe

Need some supplies or tools to make this pistachio carrot cake at home? Shop my Amazon Affiliate links for the items I use in my kitchen. Using these links won’t cost you extra and I’ll earn a small commission.

a carrot cake on a cake stand, on a table with tulips

Preparing the Carrot Cake Layers

You’ll love these rich, moist and delicious carrot cake layers from the first bite! Plus, the cake is super easy to prepare.

  1. Start by preheating the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line two, 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray. This recipe will also work with 9-inch pans, or even as cupcakes.
  2. Place the eggs, Greek yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and oil into a large mixing bowl. Mix for a few minutes until the eggs are well-beaten.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then mix just until well combined and smooth.
  4. Add in the diced pistachios and grated carrots last. I like to use a food processor for dicing the nuts. Fold them into the cake batter gently but thoroughly, creating a uniform batter.

Baking Instructions for Cake

Divide the carrot cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula or spoon to spread the batter evenly to the edges.

Bake the cake layers at 350°F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You can check with a digital thermometer, too. Insert it into the center of the cake. The cake should be between 200°F and 210°F.

Once baked, carefully transfer the cake layers onto a wire rack to cool completely.

a closeup image of a carrot cake slice on a plate

Easy Cream Cheese Frosting

While the pistachio carrot cake layers are cooling, you can prepare the cream cheese frosting. It’s the perfect complement to the cake!

  1. Place the softened butter into a mixer bowl and whisk for 5 to 6 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Switch to a flat beater attachment and add the softened cream cheese. Beat together the cheese and butter for about 5 to 6 minutes, until creamy and clump free.
  2. Next, add in the confectioner’s sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Start the mixer on slow speed until the sugar is incorporated, then beat on medium-high speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until the frosting is thick and creamy.
  3. If your frosting is too soft, that means the butter and/or cheese where too warm. Place the entire bowl of frosting into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then mix again before using.

How to Make Pistachio Carrot Cake

Once the cake layers have cooled and the frosting ready, it’s time to assemble this incredible pistachio carrot cake!

  1. Make sure the cake layers have cooled completely. You can place them into the refrigerator to cool. Use a long, serrated knife to level the top of each cake layer.
  2. Spread a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the first layer, then invert the second layer onto the top, with the bottom facing up. This will give you a level surface to work with.
  3. Spread a thin crumb coat layer of frosting on the outside and smooth it well with an off-set spatula and bench scraper. Refrigerator the cake for 20 minutes.
  4. Apply a final, thicker layer of frosting over the top, smoothing it around the sides and top.
a pistachio carrot cake on a cake stand, on a table

Garnishing Tips & Ideas!

Garnish the sides and top of the cake with additional finely diced pistachios, if desired.

You can create frosting carrots with any leftover frosting. Simply add orange food coloring until the frosting is a rich orange color, then transfer it into a pastry bag tipped with a simple, round tip. I used Wilton tip #12.

Pipe little frosting carrots onto the top of the cake. Watch my video tutorial to see how it’s done.

Serving Suggestions & More Tips

This pistachio carrot cake is ready to be enjoyed right away! If you need to serve it the next day, refrigerate the cake overnight, then let it soften at room temperature for about 2 hours.

If you like to have lots of frosting with your carrot cake, try splitting each cake layer in half, resulting in 4 cake layers total. Spread the frosting between each cake layer when assembling.

a woman standing in a kitchen, holding a plate with cake
a close up image of cake with pistachios on a plate

More Recipes!

Enjoyed this delicious springtime cake recipe? Check out some of my other recipes you’re sure to enjoy!

  • Pineapple Carrot Cake – a delicious, fruity twist on the classic, with crushed pineapple, carrots, and pecans. The cake layers are extra delicious and moist!
  • Maple Carrot Cake Cupcakes – this recipe for cupcakes is sweetened entirely with maple syrup! You can also use to make a regular cake.
  • Hummingbird Cake – another favorite of mine for spring! A pineapple, pecan, and banana cake with rich cream cheese frosting and edible flowers. It’s stunning!
  • Pistachio Baklava Cake – a decadent treat! Pistachio and honey cake layers filled with honey and frosted with pistachio buttercream!

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Pistachio Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 hour prep + 35 minutes cook
16 servings
The best pistachio carrot cake recipe with creamy cream cheese frosting! Perfect for spring and Easter!

Ingredients 

For Carrot Cake:

  • 4 large eggs, at room temp
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup cooking oil, such as canola; or melted unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots, about 5 large carrots
  • 1 cup finely diced pistachios

For Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temp
  • 16 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted

For Garnishing:

  • 1/2 cup finely diced pistachios
  • orange food coloring, powder or concentrated gel

Instructions

Preparing the Cake Batter:

  • Start by preheating the oven to 350°F/177°C. Line two, 8-inch (20-cm) cake pans with parchment paper and spray the sides with a baking spray. This recipe will also work with 9-inch pans, or even as cupcakes.
  • Place the eggs, Greek yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and oil into a large mixing bowl. Mix for a few minutes until the eggs are well-beaten.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and ground cinnamon. Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then mix just until well combined and smooth.
  • Add in the diced pistachios and grated carrots last. I like to use a food processor for dicing the nuts. Fold them into the cake batter gently but thoroughly, creating a uniform batter.

Baking Instructions:

  • Divide the carrot cake batter evenly between the prepared pans. Use an offset spatula or spoon to spread the batter evenly to the edges.
  • Bake the cake layers at 350°F for 32 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. You can check with a digital thermometer, too. Insert it into the center of the cake. The cake should be between 200°F and 210°F.
  • Once baked, carefully transfer the cake layers onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Making the Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • Place the softened butter into a mixer bowl and whisk for 5 to 6 minutes, until it’s light and fluffy. Switch to a flat beater attachment and add the softened cream cheese. Beat together the cheese and butter for about 5 to 6 minutes, until creamy and clump free.
  • Next, add in the confectioner’s sugar, salt, and vanilla extract. Start the mixer on slow speed until the sugar is incorporated, then beat on medium-high speed for 5 to 7 minutes, until the frosting is thick and creamy.
  • If your frosting is too soft, that means the butter and/or cheese where too warm. Place the entire bowl of frosting into the refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour, then mix again before using.

Assembling the Cake:

  • Make sure the cake layers have cooled completely. You can place them into the refrigerator to cool. Use a long, serrated knife to level the top of each cake layer.
  • Spread a generous amount of cream cheese frosting onto the first layer, then invert the second layer onto the top, with the bottom facing up. This will give you a level surface to work with.
  • Spread a thin crumb coat layer of frosting on the outside and smooth it well with an off-set spatula and bench scraper. Refrigerator the cake for 20 minutes.
  • Apply a final, thicker layer of frosting over the top, smoothing it around the sides and top.

Garnishing the Cake:

  • Garnish the sides and top of the cake with additional finely diced pistachios, if desired. Gently press them into place.
  • You can create frosting carrots with any leftover frosting. Simply add orange food coloring until the frosting is a rich orange color, then transfer it into a pastry bag tipped with a simple, round tip. I used Wilton tip #12.
  • Pipe little frosting carrots onto the top of the cake. Watch my video tutorial to see how it’s done.

Serving & More Tips:

  • This pistachio carrot cake is ready to be enjoyed right away! If you need to serve it the next day, refrigerate the cake overnight, then let it soften at room temperature for about 2 hours.
  • If you like to have lots of frosting with your carrot cake, try splitting each cake layer in half, resulting in 4 cake layers total. Spread the frosting between each cake layer when assembling.

Nutrition

Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 15g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 106mg | Sodium: 429mg | Potassium: 290mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 4861IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 107mg | Iron: 2mg