March 17, 2011

Pistachio Pound Cake with Vanilla Almond Icing for St. Patrick’s Day! {Naptime Everyday}

Pound Cake

What’s Going on Today: St. Patrick’s Day!

Naptime Goals: Make pistachio pound cake for Kerry, wrap up tax filing for 2010 (!)

Tonight’s Menu: Pizza picnic with friends at the beach.

We are not Irish but I got in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day yesterday and made a pistachio pound cake. Pistachios are not Irish in origin, obviously, but the loaf is green and pretty much anything that is green seems to fit the bill today, right? Right. After I baked this loaf I gave it straight to my friend Kerry. Her birthday was last week and I was late in baking her a birthday treat because I had a book deadline. With a name like Kerry you know she is Irish, and even if you didn’t know her name, her red hair and freckles are a dead giveaway! So, I figured, since Kerry was Irish and today is St. Patrick’s Day there was no better thing to make her than this!

I based this recipe on old one from Martha Stewart. I love the way the cake is dense and chewy with a delicious nutty flavor from the pistachios and the hint of almond extract. I’ve made it before and can attest that it is great to serve for dessert, have as a snack or even for breakfast. This time I even went so far as to add a thin vanilla almond icing and topping it with chopped salted pistachios. I loved the idea of the salty-sweet flavors for the topping.

Whipping up this pound cake during naptime was no problem at all. I had left the butter and cream cheese out all morning to come to room temperature and everything else was in the fridge. After it baked I let it cool a bit before wrapping it up to transport to Kerry. Wrapping it up for a car ride was a cinch, too, especially since I’d baked it in a paper star-shaped baking pan. Kerry was most appreciate when she received her Birthday/St. Patrick’s Day treat. She didn’t do any kind of Irish jig or anything, but I bet she did when she got home!


Pistachio Pound Cake with Vanilla Almond Icing

loosely adapted from Martha Stewart


 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup salted shelled pisatchios, ground to a fine powder in the food processor
3 cups granulated sugar
6 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Icing:

1 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ cup salted shelled pistachios, roughly chopped


Kitchen Item of the Week: Star-Shaped Paper Baking Pans! One pack of these and you can present anyone you want with your favorite cake baked in the shape of a star. Need a few? Buy them today at my Amazon Store!

1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Butter a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside.

2. With an electric mixer beat the butter, cream cheese and pistachio powder until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low, add in the sugar and beat until smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition, then add the almond extract. Finally, add in the flour and salt and beat the mixture just until the flour is combined. Fold in the chopped pistachios.

3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake it for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, the quickly flip it out and allow it to cool completely.

4. For the Icing: Whisk together the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract until there are no lumps. Add the milk 1 teaspoon at a time until you reach the desired consistency. Ice the cake after it has cooled completely and top it with the chopped pistachios.


Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

This is a fun St. Patty’s Day treat, but is really good to eat any time of year!

Naptime Stopwatch

20 minutes prep, x bake time

Naptime Reviews

We were sorry not to have a slice before we gave it away, it is so delicious.

3 Responses to “Pistachio Pound Cake with Vanilla Almond Icing for St. Patrick’s Day! {Naptime Everyday}”

  1. Kathy - Panini Happy says:

    Oh man, I need to get to the taxes too. Eek! What a fun cake to share with a friend. I want to start gifting cakes too, who wouldn’t love that?!

  2. Marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    Sounds like you & I have been enjoying pistachios lately. I have been using them in lots of recipes these days. This pound cake sounds wonderful!

  3. […] I am not Irish, but I never shy away from a good chocolate quick bread recipe and this seemed like a good day to share one made with a strong Irish beer. I assure you, this is also family-friendly. The alcohol from the Guinness burns off while baking so don’t worry, the kids can eat it too. We made this on Sunday while my son napped. It was a quick one-bowl affair that came together quickly and tasted amazing. It even has made an appearance in the lunchbox this week! I hope you enjoy eating it as much as we do. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! […]