Raspberry, Orange, and Pistachio. Have you ever tried these 3 flavors together? If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat! One of my all-time favorite cake flavors that I’ve made is a raspberry and pistachio combination. I knew the pretty, pink, delicate frosting would be perfect for Mother’s Day but I wanted to add another layer of flavor as well. I thought citrus would pair well so decided on adding a hint of orange. Each of these flavors perfectly complements each other. One doesn’t overpower another and they each shine through in every bite. Nutty, crunchy pistachios, zesty, tart orange, and sweet raspberries.
This cake is also very simple to make. The raspberry whipped cream is only 3 ingredients and comes together in the food processor. Plus, this is a naked cake so there’s no need to pull out piping bags or stress about frosting the sides just right. It’s easy to pull off but looks incredible!
What is a Raspberry Orange Pistachio Cake?
This cake is light, airy, and just sweet enough. The perfect cake for spring or summer gatherings. The recipe is made up of pistachio cake layers, which are brushed with an orange simple syrup and layered with raspberry whipped cream. Let’s talk about each of these.
For the cake, I started with a white cake base. This cake recipe is more of a European-style cake so it is light, not overly sweet, and tends to be drier than a traditional American cake. I add finely chopped pistachios and a little bit of orange zest to the batter. You want to make sure the pistachios are shelled, raw, and unsalted. You can chop the pistachios by hand or use a food processor.
Orange Simple Syrup
I love brushing a simple syrup on cakes to help keep them moist and this white cake recipe soaks it up nicely. Since this is a naked-style cake and isn’t coated in frosting, I especially wanted to add some simple syrup. I decided to go with an orange simple syrup, to accentuate the orange zest in the cake layers. I didn’t want the orange to be too overpowering though so I went with a 50/50 ratio of water and orange juice. You could also add a little raspberry jam to this, to bring out more of that flavor!
Raspberry Whipped Cream
This was my first time making whipped cream in a food processor and it turned out wonderful! I first saw this technique from Cake By Courtney and immediately wanted to give it a try. I’ve always loved flavoring my fruity buttercreams with freeze-dried fruit for an authentic, non-artificial flavor. This is also a better alternative to adding jam or fresh fruit to icings, which can take a significant amount and as a result, make the icing too loose or even break down. Whipped cream is much more delicate though so you have to be careful when adding mix-ins and additional flavors. The food processor incorporates less air than the traditional method of whipping, producing a thick creamy yogurt-like consistency. I loved how this icing turned out and can’t wait to make it again with another fruit!
How do I Decorate the Cake?
The possibilities are endless with how you can decorate your cake, from simple to elaborate. I chose to go with fresh raspberries, chopped pistachios, and a few ribbons of orange zest to showcase the flavors inside. I love the look of the bright green pistachios against the soft pink raspberry whipped cream and the orange zest adds another bright pop of color. Here are a few other ideas for decorating:
- Fresh orange slices
- Crushed freeze-dried raspberries
- Fresh flowers
- Pipe swirls of raspberry whipped cream
- Buttercream flowers
Tips for the Best Raspberry Orange Pistachio Cake
- Make the whipped cream fresh. Since the raspberry whipped cream is pretty delicate, I’ve found that it’s best to whip this up right before assembling the cake. If you make the whipped cream ahead of time, you will most likely need to re-whip it before spreading it on the cake, otherwise, it will be too soft and will seep out the sides.
- Soak your cake layers well. If you don’t plan to eat the cake the same day that you’re assembling it, I recommend soaking both sides of the cake layers with the simple syrup. Since this cake doesn’t have any frosting on the sides it will dry out quickly and the simple syrup will help keep it moist.
- Don’t overmix the cake batter. This cake batter doesn’t have much fat (no butter or oil), so it’s a little more delicate and can get overmixed easily. Once you add the dry ingredients, mix only until they are incorporated to ensure the cake doesn’t get overmixed which will prevent it from getting tough.
More Cake Recipes You’ll Love
This flavor combination is one of my favorites and I’m so excited to share it with you. Happy Baking!
Raspberry Orange Pistachio Cake
- 2 large eggs + 1 large egg white
- 1¼ cup (252g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1¾ cup (225g) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup (170g) heavy cream
- ⅓ cup (55g) raw and unsalted pistachios, finely chopped
Orange Simple Syrup
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup orange juice
- ¼ cup water
Raspberry Whipped Cream
- ½ cup (15g) freeze-dried raspberries
- ½ cup (100g) granulated sugar
- 2 cups (455g) heavy cream
- ⅓ cup (55g) raw and unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped (for filling and topping)
- Fresh raspberries, for topping (optional)
- Orange zest, for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease three 6” round cake pans with cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper circles.
- Pistachio Cake: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and orange zest until fluffy and light in color, about 2 minutes. Add in the flour, baking powder, and salt and mix just until combined.
- With the mixer on low speed, slowly stream in the heavy cream. Increase to high speed and whip until the batter slightly thickens, about 30 seconds. Fold in the chopped pistachios.
- Divide the batter evenly between the three cake pans and spread it to the edges. Bake for 20-22 minutes, until the center of the cake springs back to the touch (or a toothpick comes out clean). The cakes should be lightly golden brown on top.
- Cool for about 10 minutes then remove from the pans. Cool completely then cover well with plastic wrap until ready to use.
- Orange Simple Syrup: Combine the sugar, orange juice, and water in a small saucepan. Cook on low until the mixture simmers and the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before brushing on the cake.
- Raspberry Whipped Cream: Add freeze-dried raspberries to a food processor and blend until it becomes a fine powder. Add in the sugar and heavy cream and blend until it becomes a thick, creamy consistency resembling greek yogurt, about 2 minutes. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Assembly: Slice off the tops of each cake layer to make them level. Using a pastry brush, soak the cut side of each layer with the orange simple syrup.
- Place the first cake layer, cut-side up on a cake board or cake stand. Add about ½ cup of raspberry whipped cream and spread out, leaving a small space from the edge of the cake. Sprinkle about 2 Tablespoons of the coarsely chopped pistachios.
- Place your next cake layer on top, gently press down, and repeat another layer of the raspberry whipped cream and pistachios.
- Place your third layer of cake on, this time cut side down, and press gently onto the other layers. Add another layer of raspberry whipped cream. This one can be a little thicker since it will be the top of the cake.
- Finish with chopped pistachios, fresh raspberries, and fresh orange slices, if desired. Slice up and enjoy!