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Easy Homemade Easter Pistachio Carrot Cake

What do you think of when you think of dessert for Easter? I think carrot cake. I know there are many recipes for carrot cake out there, but I think this one is really good. It has a little something extra with the addition of pistachios. So it’s really a Pistachio Carrot Cake.

I love pistachios ~ I can eat them out of hand for a snack.

They are good for you, too.

When I found this rich, moist cake Pistachio Carrot Cake in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook (sorry, forget which one), I thought, why not use pistachios in a cake or cupcakes?

This easy cake recipe is perfect for Easter or spring.

Pistachio Carrot Cake


This post contains links to products used in this recipe. If you should order any product from this site, I may receive compensation, but you don’t pay a penny more.

Since I love to take a recipe and make it my own, I started adapting it.

I switched out walnuts for the pistachios – much prettier and crunchier.  

I also used golden raisins instead of regular; golden raisins are moister, juicier, and sweeter.  

The original frosting included crystallized ginger which I omitted.

As you can see by the picture, the original recipe only makes enough frosting to cover between the 2 layers and on top; if you want to cover the sides, increase the cream cheese to 8 ounces, the mascarpone to 16 ounces, and the cream to 3 tablespoons. Also, be sure to sift the confectioners’ sugar for the frosting BEFORE you measure.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take still photos of the process.  

One procedure I learned in culinary school was grease, paper, grease; that means to grease your pans with oil, then place a parchment paper round in the cake pan, and grease again. This method makes it so easy to remove your cakes from the pan. And it’s easier than lining the pans with flour.


You can buy round parchment paper for cake pans or you can use a standard 11 X 16-inch sheet of parchment paper. Personally, I buy my parchment paper at the restaurant supply store. fortunately, it is also available online.

Fold it in fourths.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Then fold the open side to the folded side.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Keep folding over the paper until you can’t fold anymore ~ think of making a paper airplane.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Using your cake pan as a guide, place the pointed end in the center of the cake pan and bend where the paper meets the outer edge of the cake pan.

I used 9-inch cake pans for the Pistachio Carrot Cake.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Use scissors to cut across at the bend.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Unfold the parchment and place it in the cake pan. If the parchment round is too big, re~fold and trim off the excess.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Then spray the cake pan with cooking spray, return the parchment round and spray again.

TIP: I love butter flavor for cooking spray, but I prefer to use ghee, which has had the milk solids removed.

If you would rather just buy parchment cake paper rounds, here is my suggestion.

Pistachio Carrot Cake

If you are hosting an Easter lunch and want to make this cake ahead of time, go right ahead.  It’s so moist and delicious, it will keep covered and in the fridge for a couple of days before you serve it.  But be careful. You might have to sneak a slice right now!  Blame it on the Easter Bunny. 

Don’t forget that you’ll need a good electric stand mixer for this cake recipe.

Easter Pistachio Carrot Cake

Pistachio Carrot Cake

Delicious and moist carrot cake enhanced with the flavor of pistachios.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: carrot cake, easter cake, pistachop carrot carrot
Servings: 10 slices


  • 2 round 9~inch cake pans
  • 2 round parchment paper cake pan liners
  • electric mixer with paddle attachment
  • mixing bowls
  • box grater
  • measuring spoons and cups
  • cake/frosting spatula
  • small skillet



  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ⅓ cups vegetable oil
  • 3 extra~large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all~purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound carrots grated
  • 1 cup golden raisins coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped pistachios

Mascarpone Frosting

  • 12 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese room temperature
  • 2 cups sifted confectioner's sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped pistachios toasted in a dry skillet



  • Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
  • Grease 2 (9~by~2~inch) cake pans, line the bottoms with oil and add paper. Grease paper.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar, oil, and eggs on medium~high speed for 2 minutes, until light yellow and thickened. Stir in the vanilla.
  • In another bowl, sfit together the 2 cups of flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the carrots, raisins, pistachios, and the 1 tablespoon of flour. Stir into the batter with a rubber spatula.
  • Divide the batter into the 2 cake pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 10 minutes, lower the temperature to 350˚F. and bake for 30~35 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, then turn out onto a baking rack and cool completely.
  • Place one cake layer on a flat serving plate, rounded ide down. Spread half the frosting on the top (but not the sides). Place the second cake layer on top of the first cake layer, rounded side up. Frost just the top of the cake.
  • Sprinkle the finely chopped pistachios on the top of the cake. for garnish.

Mascarpone Frosting

  • In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, cream and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy.
  • Add 1/2 the finely chopped pistachios and salt and beat for 30 seconds more.
  • Use the remaining finely chopped pistachios to sprinkle on the top of the cake.


Pistachio Carrot Cake
Pistachio Carrot Cake
Pistachio Carrot Cake
Pistachio Carrot Cake
Pistachio Carrot Cake

I hope you enjoy this cake. Please save me a piece. PIN so you can keep all the instructions for the cake.

Pistachio Carrot Cake
Pistachio Carrot Cake
Pistachio Carrot Cake

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  1. Carol, Loved your instruction on making a circular parchment round for cake pan. Why hadn’t I thought of that? That’s why you are the blogger with all the ideas and I am not! Ha!