This moist and fluffy Vegan Pistachio Cake has delicate nutty flavors from real pistachios! Decorated with a silky smooth vegan pistachio buttercream, it’s a show-stopping dessert that’s perfect for spring.

Looking for more vegan cakes to make this spring? Try my Vegan Lemon Poppyseed Cake, Vegan Strawberry Cake, Vegan Lemon Blueberry Lavender Cake, and Vegan Lemon Cake.

close up on a slice of vegan pistachio cake on a white plate with a bite missing.

This elegant yet easy Vegan Pistachio Cake is a must for Saint Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, or any get-together during spring!

Made with everyday vegan baking staples and real pistachios, this cake boasts sophisticated nutty flavors and an almost impossibly moist yet light and fluffy crumb in all three layers. But the best part is the silky vegan pistachio buttercream you’d never guess is dairy-free! With its light green hue and irresistible nutty fragrance, this cake was made to impress.

Why you’ll love this vegan pistachio cake

  • Real pistachio flavors – Ground pistachios + almond extract are responsible for the delicate nutty flavors in the cake layers, while pistachio butter adds flavor and richness to the vegan buttercream.
  • A sophisticated dessert – All three layers of this cake showcase subtle yet elegant nutty flavors that will impress anyone who takes a bite!
  • Perfect for spring – Add a few fresh flowers or berries on top of the cake and serve everyone a slice at Easter, Mother’s Day, backyard get-togethers, or birthday parties. 
a slice of vegan pistachio cake on a white plate with a bite missing.

How to make a vegan pistachio cake

Find the complete recipe with measurements in the recipe card below.

Stir the soy milk and apple cider vinegar together in a large bowl. Set it aside to curdle for 1 minute, then whisk in the sugar, yogurt, melted vegan butter, vanilla, and almond extract.

Process the pistachios in a food processor until fine and crumbly.

ground pistachios in a food processor.

Add the pistachio crumbs, cake flour, baking powder, and salt to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined. If desired, mix in a few drops of green food coloring.

Instead of green food coloring, experiment with 1 to 2 teaspoons of matcha powder in the cake!

wet and dry ingredients for vegan pistachio cake in a large white bowl.

Divide the batter into the cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Afterward, set the cakes aside to cool while you make the frosting.

Beat the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer until it’s smooth. Add the pistachio butter and gradually mix in the powdered sugar on low speed. Add the cream or milk and vanilla extract and mix until everything is well combined and smooth.

If the frosting seems too thick, stir in a little more cream. If it’s too thin, add more powdered sugar.

Place one cake layer on a cake stand and frost the top. Place the second layer on top, frost it, and place the third cake layer on top of the second. Frost the tops and sides of the cake. 

Decorate it with chopped pistachios if desired, then slice and enjoy!

vegan pistachio cake decorated with pistachio frosting and crushed pistachios.

Frequently asked questions

Can I use all-purpose flour instead of cake flour?

Cake flour is best for the light and fluffy crumb but you can use all-purpose flour as a substitute if that’s what you have on hand. You can also make homemade cake flour by mixing all-purpose flour and cornstarch together. Check out this Cake Flour Substitute Guide from Sally’s Baking Addiction to learn how it’s done.

Do I have to use almond extract?

Yes! Almond extract is the secret to enhancing the pistachio flavor. Pistachios have a very subtle flavor and without the extract, the cake wouldn’t taste nearly as nutty.

What frosting is best for pistachio cake?

I personally love the vegan pistachio buttercream frosting in this recipe because it’s nutty, creamy, and smooth. My Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting or Vegan Buttercream Frosting are good options, too. When you want to go all out, try my Swiss Meringue Buttercream.

How do I store this cake? Is it freezer-friendly?

Wrap each baked, cooled, and unfrosted cake layer in a layer of plastic wrap and store them in the fridge for 4 to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The frosted cake should be kept covered, either in an airtight container or in a cake carrier, and stored on the kitchen counter or in the fridge. At room temperature, it will last for about 5 days.

a slice of vegan pistachio cake on a white plate.
close up on a slice of vegan pistachio cake on a white plate with a bite missing.
5 stars (10 ratings)

Vegan Pistachio Cake

This moist and fluffy Vegan Pistachio Cake has delicate nutty flavors from real pistachios! Decorated with a silky smooth vegan pistachio buttercream, it’s a show-stopping dessert that’s perfect for spring.
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Chilling time: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings: 16 servings


Pistachio Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened soy milk
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup vegan yogurt plain or vanilla
  • 1 cup melted vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup roasted salted pistachios shelled
  • 3 cups cake flour*
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • optional few drops green food coloring

Pistachio Buttercream

  • 1 cup vegan butter softened to room temperature
  • 1/4 cup pistachio butter*
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegan cream or plant milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • chopped pistachios for decorating cake



  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F place the rack in the middle of the oven.
  • Grease 3 8-inch round cake pans with oil or vegan butter. Place a round of parchment paper on the bottom for easy removal later.

Make the cakes

  • In a large bowl, combine the soy milk and apple cider vinegar. Give it a little stir, then let sit for 1 minute to curdle. Now add the sugar, yogurt, melted vegan butter, vanilla and almond extracts and whisk well to combine.
  • In a food processor, add the pistachios and process until fine and crumbly, but don't let it get pasty like pistachio butter!
  • To the wet ingredients, add the pistachio crumbs, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Stir with a large spoon until combined, but don't over mix the batter. If desired, mix in a few drops of green food coloring.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the pans and bake in the center rack of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pans, then carefully transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before frosting.

Make the frosting and decorate

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment or a large bowl with a handheld mixer, beat the butter until smooth, about 2 minutes.
  • Add the pistachio butter and 1 cup of the powdered sugar and mix on low speed. Continue adding a cup of powdered sugar at a time until it's all mixed in.
  • Add the cream (or milk) and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, until everything is well combined and smooth.
  • If the frosting seems too thick, add a little more cream. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar.
  • Place one cake layer on a cake stand and frost, followed by the next two layers. Finally, frost the top and sides of the cake and decorate, as desired with chopped pistachios.


  1. You can use all purpose flour instead of cake flour, but the cake will be more dense. You can also make your own cake flour if you can’t find any. Gluten free flour may work, but results will vary.
  2. To make pistachio butter, simply place 1 1/2 cups of pistachios in a food processor and process until a butter is formed. You can also leave it out, or use my Vegan Cream Cheese Frosting instead.


Serving: 1of 16 servings | Calories: 502kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 275mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 46g | Vitamin A: 1166IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 1mg
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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  1. Hi Nora,
    I am making this cake for a birthday celebration. Should I emit the baking powder and salt written in the recipe because it is already in the cake flour that you am using?

    1. Hmm I’m not sure, I’ve never tried that. I’m not sure there will be enough baking powder in the cake flour, but maybe. You could always try it, but I tested it with the precise measurements and I can’t guarantee it will work the same with that kind of flour. Hopefully!

    1. You are welcome, Nancy! I’m glad you loved the cake. Thanks for your wonderful review!

  2. Flavor is delicious. My problem was I baked in a bundt pan and it turned out quite dense, compact, not fluffy like your pictures. I’m thinking I over mixed trying to mix in Watkins natural green food color and getting lumps out. Do you think that’s what might’ve happened? Thank you 🙂

    1. Ah yes, over mixing will result in a dense, compact cake, not fluffy. I also haven’t tested it in a bundt pan myself, but that can sometimes make a cake less fluffy as well.

  3. Genuinely the most delicious cake ever!! I used King Arthur’s gluten free measure for measure and did the method of replacing 2 tbsp/16 g of cornstarch per cup of flour for cake flour, and it turned out perfectly.

  4. Made this today! It was delicious. Baked in a Bundt pan. Tried 325 for 40 minutes. It wasn’t fully baked so raised it to 350 for 15 minutes and it baked well. Next time, I will try 350 for 40 minutes! Added the green food colouring which made it a beautiful green tint. Added chopped pistachios on top with a drizzle of icing on top. I added 1/4 tsp of almond extract in the icing as well. Thank you for the recipe, Nora!

    1. You are welcome! Thank you, Trish, for sharing your baking experience and wonderful review!

  5. So good! I used Bob’s 1:1 and got 2 8-inch cakes vs 3, which I’m totally okay with. The frosting is top notch.

  6. This cake was delicious!!!! Had family members fighting over it when I brought it for a birthday. I made it as a bundle and baked it for 55min- turned out perfectly. Also adjusted the icing ingredient ratios to make more of a glaze for the bundle style. Will definitely be making this again, and will do the three layers with buttercream when I have more time! 100/10 rating 🙂

    1. I’m thrilled the cake was a hit! Thanks for taking time to share your fun feedback and awesome review! Wishing you happy cooking!

  7. This cake looks delicious! I would love to make it for St. Patrick’s Day! ☘️ But, I only have three, 9 inch cake pans. Can I just shorten the baking time, or should I lower the temperature a little too? I wouldn’t want it to burn. Also, if the pistachios are, “lightly salted” should I cut the salt a little? I would love to know your thoughts!

    1. It will work, but yes shorten the baking time, maybe by 10 minutes but check to make sure you don’t over bake them. The layers will be thinner but that’s fine. I used salted pistachios, so I would not cut the salt but you can if you want. I would not lower the temperature. Hope you enjoy the cake!

      1. Thank you so much for the tips! The baking time was perfect! This cake was absolutely delicious and so fun for St. Patrick’s Day! 🍀 I also made the green pasta and the kids just loved it! The frosting on this is unbelievable.

    1. I haven’t tested it myself, but you should be able to with a quality gluten free flour mix meant for baking.

    1. I use all kinds. Miyoko’s is probably my favorite, but I also use Earth Balance, Melt and Country Crock. Or Trader Joe’s brand.

      1. Thank you! One more question, regular cupcakes… how long? I saw your answer for mini, but I have a normal cupcake sized pan. Thank you, Nora 🙂

        1. Around 20 minutes, but check with a toothpick (when it comes out mostly clean with no wet batter, they’re done). Thank you!

    1. As a sheet cake, pour the batter into a 11×17 inch sheet pan and bake for around 25 minutes or so, checking with a toothpick. I think it will work as a bundt cake, but I haven’t tried it personally. It will need much longer to bake, around an hour but I can’t say exactly on that one without testing it.

  8. Hi Nora,

    I can’t wait to try this for St. Patrick’s Day for my office! I’m going to do mini cupcakes. I’m guessing bake 10-12 minutes?


      1. I made these for my coworkers this week and oh my! They LOVED them. 10/10! Thanks again for another winning recipe! Up next, carrot cake. 🥕

  9. Since you’re combining a vinegar with soy milk to make a substitute buttermilk,why is there no baking soda?

    1. Well, there is baking soda in baking powder, so that’s not entirely true. I also use milk + vinegar (buttermilk) for the flavor it adds to the cake.

  10. This recipe looks amazing and I would like to try it. However can I double check I need salted pistachios in the cake? Would unsalted work? Also to make the pistachio butter do I use salted or unsalted pistachios? Thanks in advance your help.

    1. I used salted and that’s what I’d recommend, but you can use unsalted if you want. For the pistachio butter, I used the exact same pistachios, salted and roasted. Hope you enjoy the cake!

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