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Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

Would you lose all respect for me if I confessed that I had been working on this recipe for a pretty green, Irish looking, great-tasting and ready-just-in-time for St. Patrick’s Day gluten free pistachio pudding cake … for the better part of 2 years? Because, if you would, then forget I said anything. But in case you wouldn’t, I’d tell you that, when you’re using a cake mix as a base for a recipe, like I did many times in Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy, it’s much harder than you’d think to get it juuuuuuust right. You have control over so little! One false move, and it’s all over.

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

Many, many of my at-bats were dismal failures. In the trash. Don’t wanna talk about it. I’m busy sulking and feeling like a big fat gluten free fraud. And then, finally, just as St. Patrick’s Day is calling for alllllll green desserts to line up and be counted, eureka!

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

This cake strikes just the right balance between a nice, moist crumb, and being light-enough that it doesn’t taste like it was really meant to be, well, actual pudding. I did try, at least 3 times in 3 different ways, to make it without the pudding mix and instead with combinations of pistachio paste and fresh homemade pistachio butter (plus a bunch of chopped pistachios). It was more, well, high-brow, but it just wasn’t very tasty.

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

I didn’t add any more food coloring. The pistachio pudding took care of the artificial coloring – and it even has some lovely little pistachio pieces to boast. I also tested the cake with 2 varieties of store-bought gluten free vanilla cake mix, and my own Make Your Own Vanilla Cake Mix from page 193 of Quick & Easy. I liked version best that used my make-your-own mix, but I do leave it all up to you. It’s important to add some more flour to the mix, though. It’s still super quick & easy!

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding Cake

I used my favorite “Best” Vanilla Frosting (link below in the recipe itself), as it’s just light enough not to compete unfairly with this gorgeous, pistachio cake. And I really, really like it. So I went for it! I bet this would also be fabulous with my White Chocolate Frosting, though. Remember when we made our own Dairy-Free Soy-Free White Chocolate? Memories…

Gluten Free Pistachio Pudding CakeSo … strike up the band, Danny Boy! We’re making a green dessert in your honor that neither you nor a single one of your ancestors would have considered a true celebration of St. Patrick’s Day—but we in America have taken matters into our own hands. If it’s green, it’s a St. Pat’s celebration!

Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 1 9-inch square cake


1 16-ounce box gluten-free yellow cake mix (or my Make Your Own Yellow Cake Mix from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy)

5 tablespoons (44 g) high-quality all-purpose gluten-free flour (any of my favorite all purpose gluten free flour blends will work)

1 box (3.4 ounces) pistachio pudding mix

8 tablespoons (112 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup (8 fl. oz.) milk (lowfat is fine, nonfat is not)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 eggs (180 g, out of shell) at room temperature, beaten

1 recipe of the Best Vanilla Frosting


  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan and set it aside.

  • In a large bowl, place the cake mix, flour and pudding mix, and whisk to combine well. Add the butter, milk, vanilla and eggs, mixing to combine well after each addition. The mixture will be thick but relatively soft. Scrape the cake batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a wet spatula. Place in the center of the preheated oven and bake, rotating once, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 25 minutes). Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

  • While the cake is cooling, prepare the frosting according to the recipe directions. Spread the frosting generously on top of the cooled cake. Serve at room temperature.*

  • *I like to serve this cake slightly chilled, because there is just something about the taste of a thick layer of that frosting straight out of the refrigerator.



P.S. Don’t forget to get your copy of Gluten-Free on a Shoestring Quick & Easy! You are the wind beneath my blog wings!

If you liked this recipe, you'll love my new book!

Gluten-Free on a Shoestring [Second Edition]:

125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap

Amazon.com Barnes & Noble IndieBound.com

Comments are closed.

  • Ms. Turkey
    March 22, 2013 at 8:02 AM

    Can you use instant pistachio pudding mix? That is the only kind I can find in the stores and I was assuming, since it does not say instant, that I should use the regular type pudding mix that one would cook to make pudding.

    • gfshoestring
      March 22, 2013 at 8:29 AM

      Yes, yes. Instant pudding mix! I don’t think I’ve ever seen pistachio pudding mix that is the cook-&-serve kind. Sorry for the confusion!
      xoxo Nicole

  • March 18, 2013 at 9:55 PM

    Oh my, this cake was excellent! I made it for St patricks yesterday & I also used your Vanilla frosting recipe. My fiance & I both love it. Thanks for sharing!

    • gfshoestring
      March 19, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      I’m so glad, Jessica! Thanks for letting me know how it went. :)
      xoxo Nicole

  • March 15, 2013 at 7:44 AM

    Hi, I just want to say first of all that I do not know how I would live GF without you and this blog, I’m only recently diagnosed and lucky enough to be diagnosed early on (I’m 22) but I live in the UK so I am wondering whether the recipes in your first book are in grams or cups? I get a bit confused with cup measurements, but thank you for your delicious recipes and for how ‘home-y’ your blog is, your post ‘get your hands off my gluten free kid’ helped me have the confidence to take my own gf alternative to dinner with my partners family, who have turned out to be really supportive. So I’m just rambking but I just want to say thanks :) xxx

  • March 14, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    I love pistachio cake – I saw them making them in Sicily with the best looking green pistachios and they always look and taste amazing. Thank you for this one, going to try it at the weekend, wish me luck :-)

  • Annie
    March 13, 2013 at 4:07 PM

    Where do you find GF pistachio pudding? thanks for all that you do for us!

  • Charity
    March 13, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    I totally identified with you when you said ” I’m busy sulking and feeling like a big fat gluten free fraud. ” I’m so glad you keep trying and share your stories with us.  Every time I read your posts, I feel like I’m sitting down with one of my very best friends, catching up.  Thank you for all you do.  

  • Linda Stoddard
    March 13, 2013 at 10:17 AM

    Nicole—You’re the best! Hands down. xoLinda

  • March 13, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    My mother in law made this every year and this is my first year making it gluten free. my test run was awesome, pretty much the same as you did here (isn’t it nice when great minds think alike?) I di have to say that one thing I did that she did that you didn’t, is when I made the frosting, I dumped another box of pudding mix in the frosting.  It made for pretty green frosting with little pieces of pistachio and it was so yummy. I also made the GF version into cupcakes so we can tell apart from the GF version and the full of gluten version (a have a couple of non-conformists in my group) I’ll not tell anyone but my little GF guy which are GF just to see if the non-conformists notice. Happy St Paddy’s Day and enjoy all that is green :)

  • Laura
    March 13, 2013 at 9:17 AM

    Yowza!  Thanks for putting in the 2yrs so we don’t have to.  My MIL makes pistachio cake for my husband every year. Last year, she made it GF… Not so good..  I’ll be bringing the green cake this year!  

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