Pistachio Cake
Pistachio cake uses a cake mix and pudding mix, along with chopped pistachios to create a nutty, light dessert.

I normally like to start this column with a story about the week’s recipe, but I have to tell you about my most recent kitchen fail. It’s a doozy.

My parents-in-law gifted us with several packages of frozen tamales that are made by simply boiling the bag for 20 minutes and then serving. They’re great for quick meals. A few don’t have labels on them, so they’ve been a fun surprise when we open up the bag.

I made one of the surprise bags this week, added some Mexican rice and tomatillo salsa to the plate and served it up.

Joey took his first bite, and his face screwed up in an awful grimace.

“These are sweet,” he said, through a mouthful.

Guys. They were apple cinnamon tamales!

I felt awful for ruining our lunch, but Joey, being the trooper he is, scraped the salsa into the rice, ate that first and declared that his slightly spicy apple tamales would be for dessert.

I guess even “easy” meals can take a turn for the worse.

This week’s recipe is one of those easy recipes, but hopefully, you’ll have labels to read, and everything will turn out great.

The recipe I used doctors up a cake mix to make a delicious cake. It comes from the blog “Cake Whiz.” You can find the original post at https://cakewhiz.com/pistachio-cake-recipe/. I added chopped nuts, vanilla and salt to my recipe, as well as simplified the topping.

Pistachio Cake

Pistachio cake uses a cake mix and pudding mix, along with chopped pistachios to create a nutty, light dessert.
Course: Dessert
Keyword: cake, cake mix, pistachios, pudding mix


  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup oil I used canola
  • 1 cup milk I used skim
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 yellow cake mix
  • 3.4 ounces instant pistachio pudding mix
  • pinch of salt
  • green food coloring optional
  • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios divided
  • 8 ounces frozen whipped topping thawed


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a nine-by-13-inch baking pan by greasing and flouring it, and set it aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs, oil, milk and vanilla until it’s smooth. Beat in the cake mix, pudding mix and salt. If you want to make your cake a bit greener, add some green food coloring, too.
  • Add 1/4 cup of the chopped pistachios to the mixture, and pour it into your prepared cake pan, spreading it out evenly.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool, and then top it with the whipped topping and the rest of the chopped pistachios.
  • Refrigerate any leftovers.

This was fantastic. It was a great summer dessert, and it was really pretty, too. The cake was light and nutty, and we really enjoyed it.

And the good news is Joey knew exactly what he was getting into when he took the first bite, and I didn’t try to serve it to him with salsa on top.

I’m not sure if he’s going to trust a plate of tamales from me in the future, but at least my cake turned out fine.

This piece first appeared in print on July 22, 2021.

Spice Up Your Life is a weekly newspaper column written by Lindsey Young in south central Kansas. If you are interested in sponsoring this column, please contact us through the “Contact Lindsey” link at the top of the page.