Friday, February 10, 2012

Pistachio Cake with Chocolate Ganache- AKA "MaMa's Green Cake"

A few years ago my mom randomly surfaced a cake recipe that my grandmother used to make…except my mom decided to top said cake with chocolate ganache [naturally]..  She served it for a family holiday dinner and our entire family fell in love with this cake. My brother & I wanted to know why it had not been served for holidays for the past 20 years.  This is now the “go to” standard for birthday cakes & holiday meals in our family and it might be the first dessert that we all agree on, request and enjoy.  Normally my brother & I will race each other to the pool of ganache that collects in the middle of the cake [he frequently wins].  This cake has lovingly been relabeled “MaMa’s Signature Green Cake” for our holiday feasts. MaMa is what my niece calls my mom.

The best things about this cake is that it is EASY to make, holds over well to serve the day after you make it, is pretty, & is delicious.  It has a very vibrant green color from the pistachio pudding that is used in the cake.


MaMa’s Green Cake (Moist Pistachio Pudding Cake with Chocolate Ganache)
Prep time- 6 min, Cook time- 50-60min, Cooling time- 1-2 hours, Serves 10+


Ingredient Lineup

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 box yellow cake mix (Betty Crocker preferred)
  • 3- 3.5 oz boxes of Jell-O brand instant Pistachio pudding
  • chocolate syrup (approx 3T)
  • [optional] Chocolate ganache, recipe below

1. Preheat oven to 325.

2. Grease & flour a Bundt shaped pan.
I always do this the old-fashioned way with butter & flour,
Never with those ready-made sprays.

3. In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat the oil, water & eggs until combined. Add the cake mix & pudding to the egg mixture. Beat slowly at first to gently mix ingredients & then mix for 2 minutes on medium speed (the slowly part is important—or you will get a green powder cloud that escapes the bowl & coats your counters). The batter will be thick.

I forgot to pre-beat my eggs this really
didn't make a difference.
Mix the eggs, water & oil well.
Add the cake mix & 3 boxes of pudding
Mix per directed
4. Pour half of batter into the Bundt pan. Drizzle chocolate syrup on top of batter. Layer in remaining batter & add an additional drizzle of syrup.

Add batter
Layer on a swirl of syrup
Put in the rest of the batter & then add another swirl of syrup

5. Bake for 50-60 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, & then invert onto a serving plate. Let the cake cool for 1-2 hours on the countertop, then top with chocolate ganache [optional]. When the cake is cool, store covered on the counter overnight.  Once the cake has been cut, or if you are planning on storing it longer, store it covered in the refrigerator.

What the cake looks like without the ganache topping

Topped with shiny, delicious ganache
Here is a picture to illustrate the "inside color"
of the cake...this was basically all that was left
after sending leftovers home with people...and
I was left without a "pretty slice" shot of the cake.
Use your imagination. :-)

Basic Chocolate Ganache

Ingredient Lineup

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 5-6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (milk chocolate or your “degree of chocolate” of choice can be substituted. I use Baker’s chocolate squares for this typically…but I have also used chocolate chips out of my pantry…)

1. In a small, non-stick saucepan or in a double boiler, slowly warm cream over low heat until the cream is warm to the touch. Stir/scrape frequently with a rubber spatula.

2. Add the chocolate pieces & continually stir/scrape frequently with a rubber spatula until chocolate melts.
I forgot to chop my chocolate :-/...but it still worked.

3. Continue stirring/scraping the mixture until sauce thickens & gets glossy appearance (do not allow the ganache to get boiling hot or let it burn to the pan- you will either get a ganache with a white coating or one with a funky taste if you let this happen).

See how this is grainy & runny-looking?...It's not ready

Slowly getting there (those aren't bubbles from boiling, those
are from not let it boil/simmer!)

Ah, yea...that's the stuff.   Remove it from heat & continually
stir until it cools down a bit.
4. Remove pan from heat & continue stirring/scraping the mixture for 3-4 minutes to lower the temperature of the ganache.

5. While ganache is still warm to the touch, drizzle over the top of the cake until desired chocolate glaze level is reached.  Let the ganache cool on the cake, then store as directed above. Store leftover ganache in the refrigerator.


Leftover ganache is delicious on graham crackers, in macaroons, on ice cream, or eaten directly from the bowl as a midnight snack. To soften it up after storing in the fridge, microwave in 5 second increments until desired thickness & temperature.

Warm ganache is a yummy ice cream topping

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