Trust us when we say that it’s not a bad thing that this pistachio pound cake results in cake of generous proportions. And so while the ample amount of rich and nutty cake made by this recipe reminds that ’tis better to give than to receive (or maybe just as good to give as to receive), we’re also reminded by how quickly the slices disappear that it’s smart to set aside a slice or two for yourself first.-Renee Schettler Rossi

A pistachio lover's pound cake on a wooden cutting board with a mesh bag of pistachios beside it.

Pistachio Pound Cake

4.82 / 16 votes
This pistachio pound cake with a confectioners sugar glaze is a dense, moist, nutty pound cake with a tight crumb that will satisfy any and all pistachio lovers. And it makes an ample amount so you’ll have plenty to share. Although beware, it disappears quickly.
David Leite
Servings10 to 12 servings
Calories499 kcal
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 40 minutes
Total Time2 hours


For the pistachio pound cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2/3 cup ground pistachios

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios


Make the pistachio pound cake

  • Preheat the oven to 325°F (163°C). Line a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a 1-inch overhang on the 2 long sides of the pan. Butter the pan and parchment.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and honey on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, stopping and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • Add the flour and the milk to the creamed egg mixture, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat on medium-high for about 20 seconds between additions, stopping and scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and the pistachios and beat on low just until combined.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the cake is cracked on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Take a peek at the cake after around 45 minutes and if it’s beginning to brown quite a lot, cover the cake with aluminum foil to prevent the top from becoming too brown.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then either grab the parchment overhang and carefully unmold the loaf or invert the loaf onto a wire rack. Remove the parchment and slide it under the wire rack. Let the loaf cool completely.

Make the glaze

  • While the cake cools, combine the confectioners’ sugar, butter, honey, and cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
    If you prefer a simple, runny glaze, heat just until the mixture is combined.
    If you prefer a sticky, candylike glaze, cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to bubble. Continue to cook, still stirring, for 1 minute. Remove the glaze from the heat.
  • Slowly spoon the warm glaze over the cake, allowing it to soak in between spoonfuls. Some of the glaze will inevitably run down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the crushed pistachios over the cake and let it cool for 1 hour before slicing and serving.
Sweet Home

Adapted From

Sweet Home

Buy On Amazon


Serving: 1 portionCalories: 499 kcalCarbohydrates: 59 gProtein: 7 gFat: 27 gSaturated Fat: 14 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 110 mgSodium: 30 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 38 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2012 Rebecca Miller Ffrench. Photo © 2012 Philip Ficks. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

I’m nuts about this pound cake. The texture was perfect for a pound cake and it looks really beautiful when it’s topped with the green nuts. I love the sticky glaze and the crunch of crushed pistachios. I will say, however, that this recipe takes quite a bit of time. The preparation is simple enough, but waiting for the cake to cool, then glazing it, and then waiting for it to cool again requires a few hours. As such, this isn’t a last-minute dessert and takes a bit of planning ahead. It’s also worth noting that it only took an hour for my cake to brown and fully cook. But if you have the time and love pistachios, this is definitely the cake for you!

I’ll admit up front that I didn’t glaze the pound cake. Forgive me, but some of us try to save any extra calories for an end-of-day glass of wine. The cake itself was delicious. I love how much flavor the honey brings to this recipe—I’m pretty astounded by it, actually. This pound cake would be a great dinner party dessert served with a cheese plate and paired with figs and honey. Can you see it? I totally can!

This is a nice, not-too-sweet pound cake. It’s dense and the pistachios and honey marry well together. I especially like the honey in the glaze. Don’t be fooled, though—even though this isn’t an overly sweet cake, it’s very rich.

This was a wonderfully moist, extremely easy pound cake to make. I thought the batter was a little too much for my loaf pan and that it’d spill over, but it turned out perfectly. I think that the almond extract helped create the perfect hint of honeyed almond. We only ended up with 10 slices (I can’t really say 10 servings because some of us ate more than 1 slice).

Looking for a pound cake that’s as pretty as it is tasty? Then look no further; you’ve found it here. As someone who always has a container of raw pistachio meats in my pantry (great on yogurt, granola, and oatmeal), I was excited to try this twist on a traditional plain vanilla pound cake. I found that the almond extract really enhanced the nuttiness of the bread. The batter is thick, so after spooning it into the pan, make sure to level the top and press it into the corners. My cake was fully cooked at 1 hour and 15 minutes. So take heed. A word about the glaze: When boiled for a minute, the glaze was a bit sticky and chewy, not unlike the caramel coating on a sticky bun. I actually liked the texture, but if you’re looking for more of a simple glaze, you might want to just heat it enough to incorporate the ingredients and not bring it to a full boil. In the end, the cake was beautiful with its glaze coating and sprinkling of chopped nuts. It boasts a deep, nutty flavor and a tight crumb, and it’s delightfully moist. Enjoy it straight up with a cup of coffee or tea, or as we did, accompanied with a few spoonfuls of homemade cherry compote. Yum.

This pound cake was an all-morning project that kept me watching the clock until that first bite, but it was more than worth the wait. It’s a really dense batter. I beat the butter, sugar, and honey and then added the eggs until it was all really fluffy. By the time I added the flour and milk I was wondering if it was going to fit in the loaf pan with the parchment and not overflow. I had bought already-peeled pistachios, so I just had to grind them. They were lightly salted and this didn’t seem to interfere with the taste, and actually may have brought out the sweetness. The only thing I’d change is that I thought that the glaze was a bit sticky. It could’ve been my fault, because I grabbed the half-and-half instead of the heavy cream. I’ll make this again. It’s just the best dessert—although I’m very doubtful if I’ll get 12 servings.

I think that this cake is great—moist and tasty. It started to brown before 1 hour so I covered it with aluminum foil to make sure that it didn’t get too dark. The glaze, though, requires some care. I wouldn’t cook it more than 1 minute and I wouldn’t let it come to a boil. If it goes too long, it’ll become stringy and rubbery on top of the cake. I guess I think a glaze needs to be more liquid and not like candy.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said about this recipe? Pistachios, butter, pound cake—it’s a magical combination. My cake took 1 1/2 hours and was a rich golden brown; however, as I discovered upon cutting the cake, it really should have baked for the full 1 hour, 40 minutes as it had not completely set in the middle. The lovely salty sweet taste of the cake compensated for the fact that it was slightly underdone. The glaze came out like toffee—creamy, buttery, and again with that wonderful salty sweetness. I used both the vanilla and almond extracts in the cake and the almond did come through a little, I wonder if perhaps changing it to 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla butter & nut extract might work better. I think that tossing the ground pistachios you put into the cake with some of the flour would also help to keep them from sinking to the bottom. All in all, though, this recipe makes a wonderful cake. Everyone I work with who had a slice loved it. It is definitely a keeper in my book.

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

Hungry For More?

Hershey’s Chocolate Frosting

Sometimes simpler is better. Proof? This classic chocolate frosting from the back of the tin of Hershey’s cocoa. We dare you to not just eat it straight from the spoon.

10 mins

Pumpkin Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

An impressive dessert, created by David himself, gets an autumnal lilt from pumpkin purée in the batter and maple syrup in the frosting. One of our most popular cakes.

1 hr 15 mins

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. So… how many cakes were made for food stylist’s picture? I’ve made this recipe maybe 10 times and NONE of mine look like that. They sure taste good, though.

    1. I don’t know, danefff, but I agree that it would be tricky to get it to turn out that perfectly. At least it tastes great!

  2. 3 stars
    Taste was ok, definitely did need some type of rising agent as it was definitely a little too dense for my liking. I had a hard time deciphering between the pistachio and almond taste from the extract. I think I’m going to purchase some pure pistachio extract and use that along with the nuts in the future.

    1. Jen, sorry you didn’t love the cake. It’s a favorite around here. Pound cakes don’t call for rising agents; they rely on the air beaten into them. Were all your ingredients at room temperature? Room temp butter whips in far more air than cool butter. Also, be careful when buying pistachio extract. Many are nothing more than almond extract with a fancy name.

  3. Hi
    Please notice that the recipe didn’t include baking powder or baking soda! Can you please check