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Pistachio Pudding Poke Cake

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This Pistachio Pudding Poke Cake starts with a cake mix so it’s super easy and always a crowd pleaser. I’ve never made this cake without being asked for the recipe! Topped with pecans and filled with delicious pistachio pudding, this pistachio cake is simple yet irresistible!

slice of pistachio pudding poke cake on a white plate.

Pistachio Pudding Cake

I’ve been blogging for about seven years now and I don’t know what has taken me so long to share this pistachio cake recipe.

My mom is not much of a baker. She is amazing at many, many things, but baking is not one of them. However, she’s been making this cake for as long as I can remember and it turns out great every single time.

Every time she makes it, she is asked for the recipe. And now I’m always asked for the recipe.

I sent one with my husband to a gathering he attended and he came home with marriage proposals for me.

It’s that good.

I’m fairly new to poke cakes but they’re so easy! I want to poke holes in more things.

Why you’ll love this Pistachio Poke Cake

Easy recipe – I’ve made this cake so many times, often at the last minute, because it’s so easy to whip up.

Crowd pleaser – Honestly, it is my most requested cake. Everyone loves it.

Super moist – I get it, we hate that word, but it is a moist cake! There are a couple different ways to make Jello poke cakes but in this particular one, adding instant pistachio pudding right to the white cake mix batter makes for a super tender crumb (is that better than moist?).

Great for all occasions – I’ve made it for happy events (birthdays, celebrations, etc.) and sad events (funerals, recovering, etc.). It is appropriate for whatever is going on.

Equipment you’ll need

Ingredients you’ll need

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • White Cake Mix – A 15.25 ounce box of white cake mix. Use your favorite brand, I’m partial to Duncan Hines.
  • Egg Whites – You’ll only use the egg whites to not change the color of the cake.
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Water
  • Pistachio Pudding Mix – A 3.4 ounce box of instant pistachio pudding. Jello brand or store brand work fine.
  • Pecans – Why pecans and not pistachios? I don’t know. Just go with it. I like to use pecan chips.
  • Powdered Sugar – Sometimes called confectioners’ sugar or icing sugar. Same thing.
  • Vanilla Extract – Try to use a good quality vanilla extract (not imitation). It makes a difference, especially in something simple like this cake.
  • Melted Butter
overhead shot of labeled ingredients laid out to make a pistachio pudding cake.

How to make a Pistachio Pudding Poke Cake

  1. STEP ONE: First, add the cake mix, egg whites, oil, water, and pudding mix to a large bowl and mix until fully combined. It will be fluffy. Pour the cake batter into a greased 9×13 baking dish and sprinkle the pecans evenly over the top.
  2. STEP TWO: Then, bake the cake for 30-40 minutes at 350° or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  3. STEP THREE: While the cake is baking, make the frosting by melting the butter in a microwave-safe bowl and then adding the powdered sugar, vanilla, and water. Whisk it together until smooth.
  4. STEP FOUR: Once the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. Once it has cooled down, use a wooden skewer or the end of a skinny spoon to poke holes all over the cake (I personally use the end of a drink stirrer). Pour the frosting evenly over the cake and let it sink in.

Slice & enjoy!

collage of 3 photos showing the process of making a pistachio cake in a 9x13 pan.

When to serve it

The green tinge from the pistachio pudding would make it great for St. Patrick’s Day but really, we make it all year round.

Because it makes a 9 x 13 cake, it’s great to slice up for parties.

How to store leftovers

Leftovers should be covered at room temperature. If you prefer, you can cover it and store it in the fridge. It will keep 3-4 days but it has never lasted that long for me!

overhead shot of a poke cake topped with chopped pecans in a baking dish.

FAQs

What is a poke cake?

A poke cake is a cake that is prepared and then you literally poke holes into it and pour something over it to soak into the holes – often sweetened condensed milk, chocolate, or in this case, a simple vanilla frosting.

You can also try it in cupcake form like my strawberry poke cupcakes!

In this pistachio cake recipe, letting the frosting drizzle down into the cake, on top of having pistachio pudding in the batter, leaves you with a super moist cake.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Sure can. Making it the day before you need it allows the flavors to really come together.

What can I use to poke holes in cake?

It depends on the size of the hole you’re after. Some people use a wooden skewer or the end of a wooden spoon. My spoon handles are pretty beefy so I prefer to use the end of a drink stirrer for smaller holes. You can even use a fork if that’s all you have.

Can I use less frosting?

Yes, the frosting makes quite a bit. Let your sweet tooth guide you – I know my mom often halves it.

a bite of pistachio cake on a fork.

Need more cake recipes? Try these:

Butterscotch Bundt Cake
Caramel Apple Poke Cake
Caramel Apple Pecan Bundt Cake

Click here to view my entire collection of cake recipes.

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slice of pistachio pudding poke cake on a white plate.

Pistachio Pudding Poke Cake

Melissa Williams
This Pistachio Pudding Poke Cake starts with a cake mix so it’s super easy and always a crowd pleaser. I’ve never made this cake without being asked for the recipe! Topped with pecans and filled with delicious pistachio pudding, this pistachio cake is simple yet irresistible!
4.04 from 26 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 15 servings
Calories 241 kcal

Ingredients
  

For the cake

  • 15.25 ounce white cake mix
  • 4 large egg whites
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water + 2 Tablespoons
  • 3.4 ounce instant pistachio pudding mix
  • 2.25 ounce pecans chopped or chips

For the frosting

  • 2 Tablespoons butter melted
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • cup water

Instructions
 

For the cake

  • Preheat your oven to 350° F and spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add the cake mix, egg whites, oil, water, and pistachio pudding mix. Use an electric mixer to beat on medium until fully combined.
  • Pour into the prepared pan and sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly on top.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, make the frosting.

For the frosting

  • In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt the butter and then add the powdered sugar, vanilla, and water. Whisk together until smooth.
  • Once cake is cooled, poke holes into the top and pour frosting over the top letting it run through and sink in.
  • Slice and serve.

Video

Notes

Store leftovers covered at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 241kcalCarbohydrates: 46gProtein: 3gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 320mgPotassium: 51mgFiber: 1gSugar: 34gVitamin A: 49IUVitamin C: 0.05mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying/pasting and/or screenshots of full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected.

Originally published May 23, 2016 and I first shared this pistachio cake recipe on Amanda’s Cookin’.

Pistachio Cake starts with a cake mix so it’s super easy and always a crowd pleaser. I’ve never made this cake without being asked for the recipe! Topped with pecans and filled with delicious pistachio pudding, this pistachio pudding cake is simple yet irresistible! | www.persnicketyplates.com
Pistachio Cake starts with a cake mix so it’s super easy and always a crowd pleaser. I’ve never made this cake without being asked for the recipe! Topped with pecans and filled with delicious pistachio pudding, this pistachio pudding cake is simple yet irresistible! | www.persnicketyplates.com

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  1. Pat Connors says

    Is it possible to make cupcakes from this recipe?

  2. Sharon says

    Have you ever substituted pistachios for the pecans? Did it turn out? I guess I’m a bit hung up on why pistachios aren’t used when it’s a pistachio cake. I do know almond extract is used a lot to enhance the pistachio flavor. Is this along the same vein?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Lol I haven’t (I actually briefly mention it above). That’s the way the recipe came to me & I just went with it. I think pistachios are softer than pecan chips so that might be a factor but I’m sure it would work with chopped pistachios.

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