Chocolate and Pistachio Layer Cake

 Hey all! It's summer! Well, almost. I'm out of school which means more time to bake, and experiment in the kitchen. Today I tried making a layer cake for the first time. Yep, there are none on this blog yet. Hard to believe right? It's only been full of tarts, cupcakes, macarons and the other occasional sweet, but no layer cakes.
Well, I'm here to see to your demands. Introducing my first ever layer cake! It's a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream, ganache, and of course, pistachio whipped cream. Not too shabby. I still have to work on my piping technique; I had never done "shells" before today, so I might need to work on that quite a bit. Which probably means more cake in the future... *hint hint*

Chocolate and Pistachio Layer Cake

Makes one, 9" (four layer) cake


3/4 cup                     cocoa
3/4 cup                     hot water
3 cups                       a.p flour
1 tsp                          baking soda
1 tsp                          baking powder
1 tsp                          salt
1 1/2 cups                 butter
2 1/4 cups                 sugar
4 large eggs
1 tbsp                        vanilla
1 cup                         sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9" pans with butter. Trace the bottoms of the pans onto parchment paper and cut out two circles to line the bottom of the tins with. Grease the parchment paper as well, and flour both the pans. Combine the cocoa and hot water in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium sauce pan melt the sugar and the butter together. Once the butter has melted pour the mixture into a heatproof bowl. With beaters whip until the mixture has cooled slightly, about 4-6 minutes. Add the vanilla and eggs one at a time. Add the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. On a low setting beat the flour mixture into the butter and chocolate mixture, alternating with the sour cream in two halves. Divide the batter among the two pans. Bake the cakes for 30-40 minutes. Let the cake cool before turning out into wire racks (take the parchment off the bottoms!) Evenly cut the domed tops off the cakes and cut each of them in half to make four layers. Set aside.

Pistachio Whipped Cream

125g                         blanched, toasted pistachios
30g                           almond flour
60g                           sugar
20g                           water
1-2 tbsp                    sunflour oil
1 cup                        whipping cream

In a food processor, blend the pistachios until course. In a small sauce pan bring the water and sugar to a simmer. Cook until they reach 120 degrees. Pour the sugar into the food processor and blend. Add the almond flour as well as the oil. Blend until it turns into a thick paste. In a medium bowl, whip the whipped cream until it holds light peaks. Add the pistachio paste and beat until smooth. Set aside.

Chocolate Buttercream

2 cups                       butter, softened
5 cups                        icing sugar
3/4 cup                      cocoa
2 tsp                           vanilla
5 tbsp                         milk

In a large bowl beat the butter. Add the icing sugar one cup at a time beating until fully incorporated. Add the cocoa, milk and vanilla. Beat together.

Place your first layer of cake on your plate. Add two scoops of chocolate buttercream and spread out until even. Add the next layer, spread the pistachio whipped cream out until even. Add the next layer of cake to put a final layer of buttercream before placing the last piece of cake on top.
Put a very thin layer of buttercream around the whole cake. This is called the "crumb coat" this makes sure the crumbs don't pop up onto the final layer of icing.
Now, add more buttercream onto the cake (make sure you don't use it all), evening it out throughout the whole thing. Once you are happy with how the icing looks, place it in the fridge to chill for an hour.


8 ounces                     semi sweet chocolate
1 cup                           whipping cream

Chop the chocolate and place in a heatproof bowl. In a small saucepan let the whipping cream sit on medium heat, whisking it to make sure it doesn't burn. Bring it to a boil before pouring over your chopped chocolate. Let it sit for 5 minutes before whisking it all together to form a smooth, glossy ganache. Pour into a measuring cup so you can easily pour it.

Take your cake out of the fridge and pour the ganache over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Finish the cake off by piping a border around the top and bottom of the cake with your leftover icing and adding a few chopped pistachios on the top of the cake. Voila, enjoy!

This cake was a lot of work, but practice makes perfect! The more you do it the better you get, which in time will make this recipe seem easy.
I must admit that cakes are actually pretty fun, *gasp* I find them a lot more enjoyable now then I used to. I guess it just goes to show you that you never learn if you don't try. :)

Elanne Boake


  1. Hey Elanne,
    The cake looks great and I am sure it will taste great too. Chocolate and pistachio are 2 of my favourites. Keep it up.

  2. This is a wonderful recipe, pintrest brought me here. Keep it up!

  3. Can I substitute store bought pistachio paste for home-made. It would save me a step. If so, how much should I use? Thanks! - Jennifer

    1. Sorry to get back to you late! You can substitute store bought for homemade! I always just make my own because I don't have any.
      As i made this recipe a few years ago, I sadly do not remember how much to use. Try a couple tbsp, taste and and add more if necessary!

  4. Beautiful product. Clear instructions. Looking forward to more of your offerings. Enjoy your summer.


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