Blackberry Pistachio Chocolate Cake

I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again. To me, there’s no better dessert than a chocolate dessert. 

When it comes to cakes, I’d much rather bake one myself than buy one in the store because of the countless bad experiences I had. Most cakes I’ve bought were so sweet to the point where I couldn’t enjoy them anymore without thinking ‘what a waste of calories!’.

This Pistachio Chocolate Cake was the first cake I fully created myself while looking for a balancing flavour pairing for my favourite chocolate frosting. First, there’s something you need to know about me – I absolutely adore pistachios; they are my favourite nuts in the whole world. And since I really wanted this cake to still feel fresh despite the richness of both the pistachio cake and the chocolate frosting, the blackberries completed the recipe puzzle in the most harmonious way possible! 

This pistachio cake is so rich and moist at the same time – I almost wanted to eat it all on its own when I first baked it. But I told myself ‘No!! Let’s see how much better it can get’. Then I added the chocolate frosting and the flavours just complemented each other so well, but they both needed something to balance it all. This is where the blackberries came into play. And what an amazing trio they all formed! 

You will notice that this cake uses cream cheese chocolate frosting instead of buttercream frosting. This is a personal choice as I’m not a big fan of buttercream, in fact I never use it in my cakes because I simply prefer the cream cheese-based one. It is so much silkier and so much easier to make than the classic buttercream, but again – this is absolutely a personal preference!

Why should you make this recipe?

  • You want to eat a balanced chocolate cake that isn’t too sweet.
  • You want to surprise yourself and your friends with a dessert they haven’t tried before.
  • You love pistachios! Or blackberries. Or even better, a combination of both!

How do I get that intense pistachio flavour in my cake? 

The amazing pistachio flavour is a result of the combination of real pistachios and almond extract. I grind the pistachios using a food processor right before adding them to the batter – this way that beautiful flavour will be retained in the cake. However, since pistachios have a very delicate flavour, I like to enhance it with a bit of almond extract. This will intensify the pistachio flavour and will make your kitchen smell heavenly! 

How sweet is this cake?

Just like the rest of my recipes, this cake is not too sweet, having only 370g of sugar in total (including frosting too!). That comes down to about 21g of sugar per slice, while a regular slice of white cake without the frosting has on average 31g. In addition, the blackberries play a great part in balancing the taste and cutting off the sweetness, all while bringing out the amazing pistachio flavour.  



Flour – I used all-purpose flour for this recipe, but you can also use cake flour if you want. Just make sure not to use self-rising flour, as it has added salt and leavening mixed into it, which is not needed for this recipe. 

Pistachio – You can use both salted or unsalted pistachio for this recipe – it will turn out great either way! Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t add any extra salt in case you are going for the salty pistachio. 

Baking powder & Baking soda – The combination of these 2 leavening agents is essential to give your cake that elevated fluffy texture.

Salt – I cannot stress enough the importance of a pinch of salt in all of your desserts. Salt is added to allow the rest of the ingredients to shine by intensifying their flavours. If you are using salty pistachio, do not add any extra salt into your batter

Sugar – I don’t like cakes that are too sweet, therefore I only used 170g of sugar in the batter. If you like sweeter cakes, you can add more (up to double the quantity). 

Butter – The butter must be softened beforehand for the best results!

Egg whites – To get a light crumb as well as that beautiful green colour on the cake, I only used egg whites for this recipe. 

Sour cream – This will add the very much needed moisture to the cake, without thinning the batter. Full fat sour cream is highly recommended, but you can definitely sub for Greek yoghurt if desired.

Vanilla & almond extract – Though you might be tempted to, do not exclude the almond extract for this recipe! Since the pistachio flavour is quite delicate and subtle, it needs something to bring out that nutty flavour we all love so much – and the almond extract will do just that.

Milk – I would recommend using whole milk for the best taste and texture.

Blackberries – Blackberries pair up SO well with chocolate and pistachio, but you can substitute them for other berries if you want.

Cream cheese chocolate frosting

Cream cheese – The cream cheese will give that tanginess to this cake which is so lovely

Butter  – Butter gives body to the cream cheese frosting and will make it irresistible. 

Powdered sugar – Use exclusively powdered sugar for the frosting, because it dissolves in the cream cheese almost instantly. Caster sugar or any other type of sugar will ruin the frosting since they take a really long time and mixing to dissolve, which is not good for cream cheese.

Cocoa powder – I used regular cocoa powder, but you can use Dutch processed as well.

Vanilla extract – I like adding a little bit of vanilla extract to the frosting to give it extra flavour.

Milk – The frosting might be a bit hard at the beginning, so I like adding a little bit of milk to thin it out just slightly.

Tips for recipe success

  • Do not grind the pistachio for too long – this will result in pistachio butter.
  • All your ingredients should be brought to room temperature before you start baking. This will ensure that they will all mix together well and not separate. 
  • Do not mix the cream cheese batter for too long as you risk having your frosting separate.

Blackberry Pistachio Chocolate Cake

Recipe by Ana BondreaCourse: DessertCuisine: EuropeanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time







A gorgeous colourful cake that will wow everyone at the party with both its unique taste and look. Made with lots of fresh blackberries, an amazing pistachio cake, and a delicious chocolate frosting!


  • Batter
  • 275g Flour

  • 260g Unshelled pistachios (approx. 350g shelled)

  • 2 tsp Baking powder

  • 1/2 tsp Baking soda

  • 1/2 tsp Salt (do not add if you’re using salted pistachio)

  • 170g Sugar

  • 5 Egg whites

  • 120g Sour cream (room temp)

  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp Almond extract

  • 240 ml Whole milk (room temp)

  • 500g Blackberries

  • Frosting
  • 350g Cream cheese (room temp)

  • 200g Butter (room temp)

  • 200g Powdered sugar

  • 85g Cocoa powder

  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract

  • 1 tbsp Milk

  • a pinch of salt


  • Batter
  • Preheat oven to 180C/350F and line with parchment paper 3x 9 inch cake pans. Alternatively, you can use 2x 12 inch cake pans but this will result in a 2 tier cake instead of a 3 tier.
  • Pulse the pistachios in a food processor until ground up into very fine crumbs. Place 1 and 1/2 cups of crumbs in a separate bowl and keep the rest for garnish.
  • Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt (optional) to the pistachio crumbs. Whisk everything until well combined.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 min. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed.
  • Beat in the egg whites on high speed until combined, about 2 minutes.
  • Beat in the sour cream, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed.
  • With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients until just incorporated. With the mixer still running on low, pour in the milk and mix just until combined. You may need to whisk it all by hand to make sure there are no lumps at the bottom of the bowl. The batter will be slightly thick.
  • Pour the batter evenly into cake pans. Bake for around 25 minutes or until the cakes are baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Allow cakes to cool completely in the pans set on a wire rack. The cakes must be completely cool before frosting and assembling.
  • Frosting
  • In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese for about 2 min with a mixer.
  • Add in the butter and beat for 3 more min.
  • Add in the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and mix until well combined.
  • Mix in the vanilla extract and a pinch of salt.
  • Add in the milk and mix to combine.
  • To assemble
  • Using a large serrated knife, slice a thin layer off the tops of the cakes to create a flat surface.
  • Place 1 cake layer on your cake stand or on a plate. Evenly cover the top with frosting.
  • Set aside 10-12 blackberries to put on the top of the cake and divide the rest of the blackberries in 2 (one batch for each layer).
  • Cut in halves the first batch of blackberries and place them on top of the frosted cake.
  • Top with 2nd cake layer and evenly cover the top with more frosting. Cut in halves the rest of the blackberries and place them on top of the frosting.
  • Top with the third cake layer. Spread the frosting all over the top and sides and pour the remaining pistachio crumbs all over the cake (top and sides).
  • Place the remaining 10-12 blackberries on the top of the cake.

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