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.
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!
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.
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!
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…
So … 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!