Pistachios are really having a moment on the global food scene and carrot cake is a classic all-time favorite. I had the idea of marrying the two to create a pistachio twist on my favorite carrot cake recipe. The result is truly AMAZING. My husband went back for seconds on this one and he doesn’t even like carrot cake!
A bundt pan is a great option for this recipe because it doesn’t use up as much time as creating a multilayered carrot cake. It creates easy-to-cut slices and holds its shape very well. The little bits of orange carrots and green pistachios peeking through the cake also just scream SPRING which I am so excited about!
How to make carrot bundt cake
The base of this cake comes from my favorite carrot cupcake recipe with the addition of nuts and buttermilk to give the cake a dense structure without feeling too heavy. This incredibly moist cake is made with oil instead of butter, making the cake itself still feel light.
- Sift all the dry ingredients together.
- In a mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment or using a hand-held mixer, cream together the eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed until well combined and caramel-like in color, about 3 minutes.
- On low speed and with the mixer running, add oil slowly and beat until combined. Beat in buttermilk and vanilla extract until combined, then turn off mixer.
- Add the flour mixture in thirds until combined, then fold in the carrots and 1/2 cup of pistachios by hand.
- Pour batter into a buttered bundt pan. Bake in the center rack of your oven at 350F/175C for 45-50 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack while in the pan for 20 minutes, then flip the cake over, tap on the bundt pan, and allow it to fall out of the pan and onto the cooling rack. Cool at least 2 hours before frosting the cake.
Note: If you want to add a 1/2 cup of dried fruit to the batter, do so when folding in the carrots and nuts.
Top the cake with cream cheese frosting and pistachios
This carrot pistachio bundt cake is made extra delicious by a generous coating of spiced cream cheese frosting. Decorate the top with “sprinkles” by chopping pistachios and sprinkling them over the top of the cream cheese. To frost the bundt cake, I piped cream cheese into the crevices created by the bundt pan. I then took my rubber spatula and did a rough spread vertically around the cake. Frosting the cake this way gives it a rustic look that helps catch the bits of pistachio and hold them in place.
Tips for making carrot pistachio bundt cake
- Butter your pan before placing the cake batter in the pan. This will ensure the cake pops out of the pan easily.
- Use block style full-fat cream cheese for the frosting to retain a good consistency and structure. Set this out right away before baking your cake to allow it to come to room temperature. This will make for a smooth and easy-to-use frosting.
- For added flavor, fold in a half cup of dried fruit when folding in the pistachios. Think pineapple, currants, raisins, or golden raisins!
- Rinse your pistachios before adding to the cake mix. They are often coated in salt and quite crunchy and dry. Leaving them unwashed will result in too much salt and can potentially dry out your cake.
More of my favorite bundt cake recipes
- Lemon Bundt Cake: Moist and tender lemon bundt cake with sticky lemon glaze.
- Orange Almond Cake: Airy & fluffy orange cake with a delicate almond flavor that stays moist for days. *Gluten-free
- Rum Bundt Cake: Moist and buttery cake with a bold rum flavor.
- Chocolate Bundt Cake: Simple, moist, rich, and decadent chocolate cake made with sour cream, topped with ganache glaze.
Dense and moist carrot cake with pistachios and spiced cream cheese frosting!
- 2 cups (280g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cup (400g) light or dark brown sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) canola oil (or vegetable, safflower)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup buttermilk (optional, adds moisture)
- 4 cups (about 5 large or 6 medium carrots, or 420g) grated carrots
- 1 cup chopped pistachios
- Cream Cheese Frosting
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, add to frosting)
Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Coat bundt pan with butter.
In a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Set aside.
In a mixer bowl fitted with paddle attachment, or using a hand-held mixer, beat together eggs and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and creamy, about 3 minutes. On low speed and with the mixer running, add oil slowly and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla extract and buttermilk until combined. Add flour mixture in thirds until just combined and turn off mixer. Fold in carrots and 1/2 cup of pistachios by hand until combined.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes on center rack until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. Allow bundt cake to cool 30 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then flip over the pan, tap gently in the top and sides to release the cake. Remove pan and let the cake cool completely on the wire rack.
Frost the top and sides of the cake once it has cooled, about 2 hours. Decorate with the remaining 1/2 cup of pistachios.
Frosted bundt cake can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Haylee BrownApril 2, 2023 at 8:50 pm
I’m not typically a huge fan of carrot cake either and this absolutely blew me away! Holy smokes!! 😍 Yum!
Stephanie @ Pretty.Simple.Sweet.April 5, 2023 at 5:25 pm
Thank you, Haylee!
DiannaApril 18, 2023 at 1:13 pm
Hi, Stephanie, can this recipe be converted to gluten free – subbing out flour for GF flour, perhaps a bit of almond flour used, too? Looks like a delish recipe also using the pistachios! Thanks, Dianna
Stephanie @ Pretty.Simple.Sweet.April 27, 2023 at 3:03 pm
Hi Dianna! For an easy gluten-free version, I would recommend using a 1-to-1 gluten-free flour for this recipe: either Bob’s Red Mill or King Arthur Flour brands. I’ve had pretty good luck with those as swaps for regular flour in my recipes. Sometimes the gluten-free flour can absorb a little more moisture than regular, so add gradually and then stop when you feel the batter has the perfect consistency.