Here’s a flashback to the 70s! I always loved when my mom made pistachio bundt cake. Even though I had no idea what a pistachio was until I was about 20, I thought the flavor of that cake was awesome. Technically “awesome” wasn’t invented yet, that’s a more recent term. I probably called the cake delicious. Wait, in the 70s we called it “cool”.
Just because I like to research, I discovered pistachio pudding was invented in 1975 by Kraft. Great year, the year I graduated! I don’t have my mom’s recipe for the cake but when looking around the internet everyone seems to use the same one: a basic yellow cake mix, a box of instant pistachio pudding mix, eggs, oil, water. I chose the recipe that also had sour cream, knowing it would make the cake nice and moist.
The directions were simple and I didn’t tweak much. I put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat it with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Actually the directions said “mix well” and after doing some whisking I was still frustrated with all of the lumps and pulled out the mixer. Directions on cake mixes all tell you to beat for 2 minutes on medium and that worked well for me. So beat it. Just beat it.
This cake batter is denser than the usual cake mix after adding the pudding and sour cream. That’s ok because the finished cake is more like a pound cake than a regular cake. It’s a lot of heavy goodness.
I’d painstakingly greased my bundt pan with shortening and a basting brush, getting into the deep cracks. Ok I really hate that part. I like to spray everything to grease it but I’m still not sure if that works with a bundt pan. I didn’t flour the pan as the directions hadn’t suggested flouring. I was uncomfortable with that since I’d had that mess with my bourbon apple bundt cake not releasing in one piece. Oh well, we shall see, I decided.
I poured the cake batter into the pan carefully, putting blobs of batter around then using a small offset icing spatula to smooth it out and make sure it reached all of those carefully greased edges.
The recipe called for cinnamon and sugar to be sprinkled over the cake but I wanted to make it look like the cakes I’d seen in pictures. The green cake with some cherry pink frosting drizzled over it called to my inner child. Pink and green are so pretty.
Into the preheated 350°F oven the bundt pan went, with the timer set for 30 minutes. Directions said 45-50 minutes but I am a cake fanatic and always go low. Then I test every 5 minutes with a toothpick and pull the cake out the second it tests dry. I have rarely had a dry cake. My fanatic ways aren’t wasted!
My cake did test dry at 40 minutes. I let the cake cool for a couple of hours on a rack before removing it from the pan. My pan is heavy cast iron and when it heats up the cake does continue to cook for a few minutes even after it’s taken out of the oven. That’s another reason I was being super cautious about the baking time.
When I had the cake tipped out onto a serving plate I made a simple powder sugar glaze, adding maraschino cherry juice in small amounts until it was a good runny consistency. I drizzled it over the cake and let it set to firm up. Dessert would be heavenly!
And so it was. It was a “cool and groovy” slice of 70s perfection. Yes I do say that even today. I like the way it rolls off my tongue and I really dislike everything being “awesome”. That’s too extreme for me. If we exaggerate praise for everything, when is something really special? Ok, off my soap box. Cool. Happy 40th birthday, pistachio pudding!
Pistachio Bundt Cake
1 box yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
1 small box instant pistachio pudding mix (I used Royal)
4 eggs, beaten (if you use a mixer to beat the cake, this isn’t necessary)
½ cup oil (I used canola oil)
¼ cup water
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional if frosting cake)
Icing: 1 cup powdered sugar and a few teaspoons maraschino cherry juice
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease bundt pan well.
Combine all but sugar and cinnamon and mix or beat until well blended and no lumps remain, about 2 minutes.
Pour into pan and smooth top with a spatula or knife.
Bake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick tests dry. Remove from oven and set on rack to cool for several hours.
Gently loosen sides of cake with a butter knife. Place cake plate on top of pan and tip upside down to remove cake.