Cake
Lemon Pistachio Bundt Cake

The Pistachio Lemon Donut is an incredibly tender donut made extra moist with pistachio pudding mix and topped with lemon icing and chopped pistachios!

Pistachio and lemon glazed donut garnished with chopped pistachios on a square plate with one slice served.

Because you will love this pistachio cake

  • Structure! This cake is ULTRA moist thanks to the package of dry pudding mix that you add directly to the batter! Along with the flavor, the pudding makes this cake so soft and tender.
  • Taste! Pistachio and lemon pair beautifully. It’s such a bright spring flavor combination that makes it perfect for Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, or Mother’s Day!
  • Relief! This is a made-from-scratch cake recipe, but it’s very easy to make, with only about 10-15 minutes of prep time!
  • It’s a stunner! This is such a cute cake. The cake’s pale green color, topped with white frosting and chopped pistachios, make it the perfect centerpiece for your brunch menu!
A slice of pistachio cake on a serving knife.A slice of pistachio cake on a serving knife.

Ingredients/What you need

The full recipe is in the recipe card at the bottom of this post with all the measurements and instructions, so be sure to scroll down for all the details.

  • Equipment to note: Beyond kitchen robot, measuring cups/spoons, I use a Nordic Ware donut that I got for Williams Sonoma, and I’ll tell you it’s the best $38 I’ve ever spent. In the past I have always had problems with donuts sticking, and this pan releases the cake perfectly every time! However, you still need to coat the pan with nonstick spray.
  • Butter and Oil: The combination of butter and oil in the cake batter gives the cake lightness by using the oil, but retaining the flavor of the butter. I always use salted butter in my cake recipes, but you can use unsalted butter if you prefer.
  • Sugars: You will need granulated sugar for the cake, and icing sugar for the icing.
  • Fresh lemon. You will use the lemon zest in the cake batter and the lemon juice in the icing.
  • Instant pistachio pudding. Make sure you use INSTANT pudding mix. You’ll simply add the dry mixture directly to the batter, which adds flavor and moisture to the cake.
  • Egg. You will use 4 large eggs in this cake recipe.
  • Dry ingredients: All-purpose flour, kosher salt and aluminum-free) baking powder. In this recipe you will use 4 teaspoons of baking powder, which is why I make sure to use aluminum-free products. If baking powder contains aluminum, it tends to give your baked goods an unwanted metallic flavor.
  • Milk. You can use 2% milk, whole milk, or even almond milk in this recipe.
  • Side: I love topping my cake with chopped pistachios and a few slices of lemon. I think it gives a very nice presentation. Edible flowers on the cake plate would also be great.
Pistachio cake dough in a pan before going into the oven.Pistachio cake dough in a pan before going into the oven.

Why add pudding mix to this pistachio cake?

Adding the pudding to the cake makes the texture so moist and tender. It also adds flavor and a pop of color. I’ve found that trying to reproduce the flavor of pistachio “naturally” is difficult, so the pudding adds a nice, subtle flavor without being too strong. You can amp up the pistachio flavor by adding 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract.

Pistachio donut covered with white icing and chopped pistachios on a white serving plate.Pistachio donut covered with white icing and chopped pistachios on a white serving plate.

Can you use other pudding flavors?

Since this is a pistachio cake, the use of pistachio pudding is a must. But of course the dough for this pistachio cake is fluffy and insanely delicious, but not that you don’t HAVE to use pistachio pudding. Here are some other options:

  • Lemon
  • Vanilla
  • Coconut cream
  • Cheesecake
  • White chocolate
Slice a slice of pistachio donut covered with icing and chopped pistachiosSlice a slice of pistachio donut covered with icing and chopped pistachios

How to prevent the donut from sticking to the pan

If you’re like me, every time I use mine bundle pan I say a little prayer when I flip the pan over to release the cake. Too many times I’ve had the cake stick, which is absolutely heartbreaking after all that work! Here are some of my tried and true tips to ensure donut success:

  • Grease the pan generously. Whether you use nonstick spray or a layer of butter/shortening and a sprinkling of flour, be sure to use a heavy hand. You will never get angry for preparing the pan TOO MUCH.
  • If you use non-stick spray, I found out waiting until right before adding the batter to coat the pan seems to help. I’m not sure of the science behind this, maybe it’s just a matter of prayer dripping to the bottom of the pan as it rests, but a fresh coat right before adding the batter has given me excellent results.
  • Use a non-stick baking tray. I’ve found that a nice, heavy nonstick pan, like the Nordic Ware pan I linked above, works best. Furthermore, like all non-stick pans, they do not have an infinite lifespan. If you have had your nonstick pan for many years and have noticed that it is sticking, it may be time to replace the pan. The non-stick coating wears out over time.
A slice of green pistachio cake on a white plateA slice of green pistachio cake on a white plate

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Description

Perfectly moist and with bright spring flavors, it makes this cake great for Easter, but also great to enjoy all year round.


  • 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • The zest of 1 lemon (approx 1 tablespoon)
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box Instant Pistachio Pudding
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 Teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder (aluminium-free)
  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups milk

Glazing:

  • 1/4 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 23 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Optional topping: 1/2 cup chopped pistachios

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Generously coat a 10-cup baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together the butter and sugar for 2 minutes until fluffy. Add the lemon zest and dry pudding mixture and continue mixing until incorporated.
  3. Add vegetable oil, eggs, salt and yeast. Mix for 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary.
  4. Turn the mixer to low and add the flour and milk in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Once incorporated, turn mixer to medium and mix for 30 seconds.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake for 60 to 65 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert the cake onto a wire rack or cake plate to cool completely.
  7. Glazing: Place all the icing ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix at medium speed for 2 minutes, or until the mixture is creamy and smooth.
  8. Spread the icing over the cooled cake and garnish with chopped pistachios.

Notes

Store airtight for up to 3 days at room temperature.

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