The Mad Cake Batter

sweet treats and savory deets

Pistachio Layer Cake

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My parents were coming in for a St. Patty’s celebration where my Aunt wanted to turn it into a St.Patty’s/Dad’s birthday. My dad is a huge fanatic when its comes to all things pistachio so this cake immediately popped into my mind, and I wanted to do it right… aka the Milkbar way.

I’m not going to lie, this was one of the more expensive cakes I have ever created.  You need buy both pistachio paste and oil, and if you want good quality paste, you have to put in some dough, pun intended. I also had to buy gelatin and acetate which wasn’t bad. Each came to about $9 and change on Amazon.

I did one recipe for three 6-inch cake tins. As I have said before, what’s great about Milkbar, is that you can make their cakes in parts. I was able to make the milk crumb and lemon curd earlier in the week and have it sit in the refrigerator until I was ready to put the cake together.

The cake came out beautifully and my dad really appreciated the cake. It is definitely one I would make again but maybe not too soon since I would have to buy some more paste…



  • 1/2 cup milk powder
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBS arrowroot
  • 2 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 TBS butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup milk powder
  • 3 oz white chocolate, melted

Preheat the oven to 250F. In a bowl, toss the 1/2 cup milk powder, flour, arrowroot, sugar and salt. Add the melted butter and toss with your hands. The mixture will start become together in small clusters.

On a silpat baking sheet, evenly spread out the clusters and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool completely. Break down and crumb clusters that are over a 1/2 inch and put in a medium bowl. Add the remaining milk powder and melted white chocolate and toss until the white chocolate hardens and the clusters are no longer sticky. Keep the crumb in an airtight container.


  • 3 lemons
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 gelatin sheet
  • 8 TBS cold butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Zest the lemons with the box-grater.  Milkbar makes a note to grate down as far down as the yellow part of the skin, and then squeeze 1/3 of lemon juice. In a blender, combine the sugar, lemon zest and lemon juice until the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low. Transfer the mixture to a medium saucepan and clean the blender.

In a medium bowl, soak a sheet of gelatin in cold water. The gelatin has “bloomed” when it has become soft, after about two minutes. Make sure you keep an eye on it. If there is still hard bits, it needs to soak longer. If it is falling apart, it is too soft. You will have to discard the gelatin and start again. Remove excess water by gently squeezing it.

On low heat, whisk the lemon mixture. It will begin to thicken and once it boils, remove it from heat and transfer to the blender. Add the gelatin, butter, and salt. Blend until the mixture is thick and super smooth. Pour mixture into a fine-mesh sieve into a heat-proof container. Place in the fridge until completely cooled, at least 30 minutes.



  • 8 TBS butter, room temperature
  • 3 – 4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 3/4 cup pistachio paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Milkbar uses 1/4 cup sugar, but I normally have to add more for consistency and I don’t normally feel like I have enough to make layers. Either way, combine the butter and confectionary sugar in a standard mixer with a paddle attachment. Cream on medium-high speed for 2-3 minutes.

Add the pistachio paste and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds and then pick it up to medium-high speed for 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. If the mixture is not cohesive, mix on high for another minute. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for a week.


  • 2/3 cup pistachio paste
  • 3 TBS glucose
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1 3/4 cup confectionary sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup pistachio oil
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven 350F and have 3 prepared cake tins. I used coconut oil and parchment paper for the bottom. In a standard mixer, with a paddle attachment, combine the pistachio paste and glucose on medium-low for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Reduce the speed to low, add the egg whites, one at a time. Make sure the egg whites are fully incorporated before adding the next. Add the confectionary sugar and almond flour. Mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add in the pistachio oil and heavy cream. Mix on low for about a minute.

Scrape down the sides of bowl with a spatula and add the flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low for 2-3 minutes or until the batter is smooth. Evenly divide the batter into the three cake tins and bake for 20-22 minutes. I had to bake mine a bit more because the cake did not come out clean on a knife. The cake will rise in the middle and the edges should be spongey to the touch. When the knife does come out clean, remove the cakes from the oven and have them cool on wire racks.



I do not have a 6 inch cake ring, as suggested, so I did this all using acetate. On a cardboard cake platter, place the first cake layer in the middle. Using a serrated knife, even out the top and fit a clear piece of acetate around the cake. Using a pastry brush, give a healthy layer of pistachio oil on the cake. Spread half of the lemon curd evenly over the cake and sprinkle a third of the milk crumb on the curd. Use the back of your hand to firmly set the crumbs. Spread a third of the frosting on top of the curd/crumb mixture.

For the second cake layer, I flattened out the top before putting in onto the first layer of cake. Then added the second layer of acetate to build the stack. Go back and follow the complete instructions for the first layer of cake.

For the final layer, cut the top of the cake so it is flat. Firmly set it in the frosting of the second layer of cake, and cover the top with the remaining  amount of frosting and garnish with the remaining milk crumb. Cover the top of the cake with plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake. At least 3 hours before serving, remove the cake from the freezer and gently remove the acetate and then place it in the refrigerator for defrosting. Serve and enjoy!

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