This three-layer vanilla sponge, white chocolate and pistachio cake is smothered in buttercream icing and decorated with white chocolate shavings, white chocolate buttons and pistachio nuts. It looks divine, tastes divine and isn't difficult if you prep properly. Like with all baking, precision is key, so stand by for my number one cake baking tip that always makes my sponge come out perfectly balanced.
I baked this for my own birthday, and I was not disappointed. I made it purely because it was what I wanted to eat, and you'll be pleased to know I ate it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and washed it down with a lovely glass of champagne each time. Because YOLO.
This white chocolate and pistachio cake will work for any occasion, and the thing I love most about it is that it isn't too sweet. Often buttercream icing can have a tendency to make things a tad on the sickly side but the nuts really dial it down and also adds a lovely crunch. Who doesn't love a bit of texture!
Before I head into the recipe I thought I'd first go through a few tips to get the best out of this cake.
How to make perfect sponge cake - 6 tips
- The thing with baking is that it needs precision. And most recipes will give you a measurement like '3 large eggs' but what does large mean? There can be variations in weight and different countries might have different criteria and there might also be a mixture of weights within a carton of eggs. So what do you do to make the perfect sponge cake? My top tip is this: weigh your eggs with the shells on, and use that exact same weight of flour, sugar and butter to make your sponge.
- Once the baking powder hits the butter/eggs it will activate. Don't waste any time between making your batter and getting it in the oven or you will sacrifice lift in your sponge.
- Don't keep opening the oven whilst baking, and don't move the cakes around in the oven as this will cause them to deflate.
- When the cooking time is nearly done and you can smell the cake in all its wonder, open up the oven and check on the colour of the cake in the middle. If it is golden brown all over, it is done. If it is white and pale in the middle, it needs a bit longer.
- When the cake is done it will be golden brown all over, and the edges will have started to draw back from the edges of the tin.
- When it comes to turning the sponge cake out onto cooling racks, lay a clean tea towel over the rack first to avoid criss-cross indentation marks in your sponge.
There are three components to this easy cake recipe; the sponge, the filling and the icing.
I use large eggs for this recipe which generally weigh 60-65 grams each.
I find it easier to use spreadable butter for this recipe in both the cake batter and the white chocolate buttercream icing. It creams together with sugar easier, but if you prefer you can use sticks of butter, just soften them out of the fridge before using.
- Self-raising flour
- Baking powder
- Granulated white sugar
- Vanilla essence
- Double cream/heavy cream
- Pistachio nuts
- Icing sugar
- White chocolate
- White chocolate buttons
See the recipe card for quantities.
First, weigh your cake batter ingredients. Weigh the eggs with the shells on, then weigh out the same amount of butter, self-raising flour and granulated sugar.
In one mixing bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder. In another, whisk the eggs together.
In your Kitchen Aid or a third large mixing bowl, whisk your butter, vanilla essence and sugar together.
Once a smooth and creamy mixture forms, slowly add the eggs bit by bit. Once it is all incorporated, stop the whisk.
Fold in the flour and baking powder, and transfer into greased baking tins.
Bake in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius/360 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then remove the sponge to cooling racks.
On a chopping board, grate a quarter of the white chocolate and roughly chop the pistachio nuts.
Make the white chocolate cream filling by whisking double cream until it thickens, then fold in the pistachio nuts and grated white chocolate.
Make the buttercream icing by whisking the icing sugar, vanilla essence and butter until smooth and creamy. Sieve the icing sugar into the butter to ensure no lumps.
Assemble the cake layer by layer, adding the cream filling in between.
Cover in the buttercream icing and spread all over the top and sides of the cake.
Shave the remaining white chocolate with a vegetable peeler.
Add the chocolate buttons to the sides of the cake and sprinkle and chocolate and pistachio nuts on top. Using your hands, press more pistachio nuts into the side of the cake to stick to the buttercream surrounding the buttons.
Slice up and serve!
Love cake? Try this banana bread with pecans and a maple glaze
You will need several mixing bowls and an electric whisk or Kitchen Aid for this white chocolate and pistachio cake recipe. Cooling racks are also helpful but not essential, it will just take longer to get the sponge cake cool enough to assemble and decorate.
Store this cake in the fridge as the white chocolate and pistachio cream filling and buttercream icing contain cream and butter which is not shelf stable. Consume within 3-4 days.
If you want to make the cake sponge ahead of time and freeze, it will keep for up to a month. Defrost thoroughly before decorating.
White Chocolate And Pistachio Cake With Buttercream Icing
- 1 Kitchen Aid or electric whisk
- 3 Mixing bowls
- 3 Cake tins measuring 18.5cm or 7 inches
- 4 large eggs
- 260 grams self-raising flour
- 260 grams granulated sugar
- 260 grams unsalted butter
- 1.5 teaspoon baking powder
- 1.5 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 500 ml double cream
- 35 grams pistachio nuts
- 30 grams white chocolate
Icing and decorations
- 300 grams icing sugar
- 200 grams butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 180 grams white chocolate buttons
- 80 grams white chocolate
- 75 grams pistachio nuts
- First, weigh the cake ingredients. Weigh your eggs with the shells on. Then weigh out the same amount of butter, self-raising flour and granulated sugar.
- In one bowl, mix the flour with the baking powder. Whisk the eggs together in another separate bowl.
- In your Kitchen Aid or third large mixing bowl, whisk your butter, vanilla essence and sugar together.
- Once a smooth and creamy mixture forms, slowly add the eggs bit by bit. Once it is all incorporated, stop the whisk.
- Fold in the flour and baking powder, and transfer into the 3 greased baking tins.
- Bake the cakes in the oven at 170 degrees Celsius /340 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, then remove to cooling racks.
- On a chopping board, grate a quarter of the white chocolate and chop the pistachio nuts.
- Make the filling by whisking double cream until it is thick and stiff, then fold in the pistachio nuts and grated white chocolate.
- Make the buttercream icing by weighing out the ingredients and whisking the icing sugar, vanilla essence and butter together until smooth and creamy. Sieve the icing sugar in to ensure no lumps.
- Assemble the cake layer by layer, adding the cream filling in between.
- Cover in the buttercream icing and spread all over the top and sides of the cake.
- Shave the remaining white chocolate with a vegetable peeler.
- Add the chocolate buttons to the sides of the cake and sprinkle and chocolate and pistachio nuts on top. Using your hands, press more pistachio nuts into the side of the cake to stick to the buttercream surrounding the buttons.
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