Easy Cook: Green Pistachio Swirl Cake for St. Patrick’s Day

If you want good home-style cooking, you will probably find it at covered dish buffet. Everybody brings their best cookin’. This is where I sampled a Pistachio Cake which was absolutely delicious. It was green — yes, a green cake. The pistachio pudding gives a hint of green color and  a nice nutty flavor to the cake along with a bit of almond extract. So I’m making the dessert with St. Patrick’s Day mind and plan to bring it for an supper event where everybody is asked to bring desserts.

Easy Cook and Elegant, too

The cake is easy to make but looks very elegant and impressive. You wouldn’t guess how simple it is to bake this cake. The key is to use one of those old-fashioned Bundt cake pans. With Bundt cakes, there is no need to spend hours trying to ice the cake layers. Just sprinkle on powdered sugar or pour on a glaze.

I found an old, old recipe in my file box which included chocolate sauce swirled into the cake mix. This variation make an interesting flavor and color combination when the cake is cut.


This recipe is made using a box of cake yellow mix and a box of instant Pistachio pudding.

Since I wanted the cake to be really green, I added several drops of green food coloring. And I found that a small amount of almond extract helps intensify the nutty flavor.

Mix up the cake mix using an electric mixer, adding an extra egg (4 eggs total) to the cake mix.

 Take out one cup of the cake batter and mix in 1/2 cup chocolate syrup. Then pour the green cake batter into a very well-oiled Bundt cake pan. Spoon dollops of the chocolate cake batter on top and use a knife to gently swirl. Don’t overdo things with the swirling. Just pass of the knife is enough.

This cake pan has a non-stick finish, but I find that it must still be well-oiled so the cake doesn’t stick. Bake in a 350 degree oven and let it cool entirely before trying to remove from the cake pan. This cake has a slightly thicker crust due to the longer baking time, but that’s okay.

Sprinkle on powdered sugar to decorate. Cut and serve.

And let’s celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a green cake.

My cake quickly disappeared at the covered dish supper. Making an elegant cake really isn’t that hard!

An alternative to this recipe is to omit the almond extract and chocolate syrup. Mix up a lemon glaze and pour on the cake. (Hum, wonder how margarine got into this photo, it’s not in the glaze!) Yum. This variation is good, too and I like the lemon flavor.

Enjoy!  And in these few weeks of “social distancing” due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, we won’t be going to many more covered dish suppers or St. Patrick’s Day events. We are charting new territory. Instead, think about those folks, especially elderly ones, who are trying to keep out of harms way and the crowds. Bake a cake for one of them!

Green Pistachio Swirl Cake

  • Servings: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 (15.25 oz) box Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake mix or similar cake mix.
  • 1 (3.4 oz) box Jell-O Instant Pistachio Pudding and Pie Mix
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup chocolate sauce
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 6 drops green food coloring
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Method and Steps:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously oil a 10″ Bundt cake pan.
  2. In large bowl of electric mixer, combine cake mix, pistachio pudding mix, water, oil and eggs.
  3. Beat on medium speed just until well combined, scraping down sides.
  4. Take out 1 cup cake batter and place in small bowl. Add chocolate sauce and stir to blend chocolate sauce into the cake batter. Set aside.
  5. Add almond extract and green food coloring to remaining cake batter and mix on medium speed of electric mixer until combined.
  6. Pour green cake batter into Bundt cake pan.
  7. Spoon dollops of the chocolate batter on top of the green layer and use a knife to gently swirl. Don’t over do the swirling, just make one pass with the knife.
  8. Bake in 350 degree oven for 35 – 40 minutes until the edges pull away from the pan, the top of the cake does not make an indentation or a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
  9. Let the cake cool on a wire rack to room temperature.
  10. Loosen cake from edges of cake pan and carefully invert onto cake platter and sprinkle on powdered sugar.

And here is an alternate “Lemon Glaze” for the cake. In this variation, omit the chocolate swirl and almond extract. Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled cake.

Lemon Glaze

  • Servings: glaze for one cake
  • Difficulty: easy
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  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp milk or more

Method and Steps:

  1. Whisk confectioner’s sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juiceand milk together until blended, smooth and silky.
  2. Add additional milk, a small spoon at a time, if glaze is too thick to drizzle.  Be careful not to add too much milk. When a cook’s spoon is lifted up, the glaze should stay on the spoon and come off in a slow stream. The glaze hardens quickly – do don’t delay in spreading it on the cake.
  3. Drizzle over cake.

3 thoughts on “Easy Cook: Green Pistachio Swirl Cake for St. Patrick’s Day

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