Pistachio Raspberry Poke Cake is a rustic cake from scratch. The ground pistachio nuts give the cake a beautiful color and marvelous pistachio flavor. The cake has a hidden raspberry gelatin layer made from fresh raspberries. A cream cheese, pistachio-butter frosting makes this cake irresistible. If you like cake with a cream cheese layer or frosting, try my Butter Gooey Cake.
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Back in the 1970s when boxed cake, jello, and cool whip were in their heyday. Jello foods created this cake to boost its sales of Jello gelatin. The white sheet cake was poked full of holes, and the gelatin was poured in, creating colorful streamers within the cake. The cake was slathered in cool whip and was a popular dessert at potlucks and parties. My Pistachio Raspberry Poke Cake is less colorful but still fun to make and eat.
Simple is Smart (SIS) Tip:
Make the raspberry juice from fresh raspberries. Add four cups of fresh raspberries to a saucepan with 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil and cook briefly. Smash the cooked berries with a potato masher to extract the juice. Strain out the seeds with a sieve or use a nut milk bag. The juice is ready to use.
Make the Pistachio Raspberry Poke Cake.
Grind the pistachios for the cake into fine crumbs. I use a hand mixer for this cake. Mix the dry ingredients, all but the sugar. Mix the flour, pistachios, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Cream the butter and sugar together, and add the egg whites. Beat until soft peaks form. Mix in the dry ingredients. Add the milk and flavoring. If you want a little more green color in your cake, add a tiny bit of green food coloring.
Pour the cake into a greased 9 X 13-inch pan and bake at 350-degrees for 21 – 25 minutes. A cake tester in the center of the cake should come out clean. Let the cake cool.
While the cake is cooling, make the Raspberry Gelatin. I make raspberry juice from my raspberry bushes. I cold press the berries to extract the juice. I then can or freeze the juice for later use. You can make the juice from fresh raspberries or purchase the juice on Amazon.
To make raspberry juice from fresh raspberries, see my SIS tip above.
Make the Raspberry Gelatin for the Pistachio Raspberry Poke Cake.
- Add 1/2 of a cup of raspberry juice to a small bowl. Sprinkle the two packages of gelatin on top of the juice. Let the juice-gelatin sit for 5-10 minutes. The gelatin absorbs the juice and softens. This process is called blooming. Blooming helps the gelatin dissolve evenly when it’s heated.
- Add the other 1 1/2 cups of raspberry juice and the sugar to a small saucepan.
- Poke holes in the cake with a large fork, small dowel, or chopstick.
- Pour the gelatin over the cake, letting the gelatin soak into the poked holed.
- Refrigerate for several hours until the gelatin is firm. Do not Freeze to chill. Freezing liquifies the gelatin.
Make the Frosting for the Pistachio Raspberry Poke Cake:
The frosting for the Pistachio Raspberry Poke cake is a cream cheese frosting with pistachio butter added to the cream cheese.
Make the pistachio butter by blending 1/2 of a cup of the pistachio crumbs with 4 tbsp of butter. Blend until smooth.
Add 1/4 cup pistachio butter to the cream cheese and butter. Mix until smooth, and then add the powdered sugar. The frosting should be thin enough to spread but thick enough to hold its shape when you pipe the rosettes. I use a medium closed star piping tip.
Frost the cake with about 2/3 of the frosting and use the final 1/3 for piping the rosettes. Top each rosette with a fresh raspberry. Refrigerate the poke cake for several hours before serving.
Keep leftover cake in an airtight container in the fridge. Do not freeze leftovers.
The cake can be made ahead and frozen before the gelatin and frosting are added. Defrost in the fridge overnight, poke the holes in the cake, and pour in the raspberry gelatin. Then frost before serving.
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- Food processor or powerful blender to make the pistachio flour
- This page contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click a link, I may earn a small commission from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you
- 9 X 13 inch cake pan or baking dish.
- 2¼ cups roasted pistachio nuts ground into very fine crumbs (280g)
- 2⅓ cups cake flour (275g)
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- ¾ cup butter (1½ sticks) (170g)
- 1⅓ cups granulated sugar (350g)
- 5 large egg whites (room temperature)
- ½ cup sour cream
- 2 tsp.. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 cup whole milk (236ml)
- 1 drop green food coloring (optional)
- 2 cups pure raspberry juice (472ml)
- 1 cup sugar (200g)
- 2 envelopes unflavored geletin
Cream Cheese Pistachio-Butter Frosting
- ¼ cup pistachio butter (35g)
- 12 ounces cream cheese (340g) room temp
- 8 tbsp butter at room temp. (113g)
- 5 cups powdered sugar (575g)
- 24 Fresh Raspberries for decoration
Make the Pistachio Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C)
- In a food processor, grind the 2 1/4 cups of Pistachios into very fine crumbs. Measure out 1 ½ cups of the crumbs and add to a medium-size mixing bowl. You should have 1/2 cup of crumbs leftover that you will use to make the pistachio butter.
- Add the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to the bowl with the pistachios. Mix and set aside.
- In a separate mixing bowl add the butter and sugar. With a hand mixer or in a stand mixer beat the sugar and butter until light and creamy. About 3 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl.
- Add the egg whites and beat until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.
- Add the sour cream, vanilla and almond extract. Add 1-2 drops of optional green food coloring. Beat for another 2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl down.
- Add half of the flour mixture and beat in on low. Scrape the bowl and add the rest of the flour mixture, beat in until just combined. The batter will be think, scrape the bottom of the bowl to make sure there are no dry ingredients or lumps.
- Add the milk and beat in.
- Pour the cake into a greased 9 X 13-inch cake pan.
- Bake for 21 - 25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool completely.
Make the Raspberry gelatin
- Add ½ cup of raspberry juice (see notes) to a shallow bowl. Sprinkle the 2 packages of gelatin over the juice and let it sit for 5 minutes. This helps the gelatin dissolve evenly.
- Bring the other 1 1/2 cups of raspberry juice and the sugar to a boil in a small saucepan.
- Add the hot juice with the sugar to the gelatin-juice mixture. Stir until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
Poke the Pistachio Cake
- Poke the cooled pistachio cake full of holes with a large fork, a chopstick, or a small wooden dowel. The chopsticks or dowel make larger holes in the cake and will add more raspberry color and flavor to the interior of the cake.
- Pour the gelatin mixture over the cake and let the juice soak into the cake and fill the holes. If you used a fork to poke the cake you will have extra juice/gelatin. The extra gelatin is delicious as a snack.
- Refrigerate the cake for several hours, until the gelatin is firm. Do not Freeze to cool. Freezing gelatin causes it to liquefy.
Make the Cream Cheese Pistachio-Butter Frosting.
- Make the pistachio butter: Add 4 tbsp of room temperature butter to 1/2 cup of the reserved pistachio crumbs. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth butter.
- In a mixing bowl add the softened cream cheese, 1 stick of butter, and 1/4 cup of pistachio butter. Beat until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar and beat in. The frosting should hold its shape when piped, but still be spreadable.
Decorate the Cake
- Add about 1/2 of the frosting to the top of the cake. Pipe 24 large rosettes on the top of the cake. Add a fresh raspberry to the center of each rosette.