Pistachio Strawberry Elopement Cake

Cakes, Desserts, DIY

A month ago or so I got a friend from my old friend Chris who was like, “Hey I’m getting married, will you make a cake for us.”

Of course, I responded with OMG YES!

Not only was I excited because making stuff for friends is fun–especially for such a super cute and special occasion–but because it liked the challenge of doing something I’d never done before: making an important cake and then driving up and down the hills of Echo Park with it in tow. SO STRESSFUL!

Josh’s mom was a pastry chef and early in her career she made a lot of wedding cakes. He told me that one time she delivered the cake, decorated on the wedding site and then it fell over when they wanted it moved to another table! LIKE STRAIGHT UP ON THE FLOOR.

I would cry. I’m sure she did. Josh told me she eventually had to stop because the stress of transporting the cakes just didn’t end up being worth it and I completely understand now—it’s a lot. Luckily this was a small lil’ cake so transporting it wasn’t that hard.

I’ve known Chris for a long time and as of last year, he’s kind of become Amelia’s babysitter when we go out of town. He is so very patient when she wakes him up at 6am for breakfast and he takes her on long walks and last year, when we went to Seattle, they packed her up and took her to Malibu to eat oysters.

She loves them so much and they’re both so sweet that I wanted to make something cute. Camille, his wife, said she wanted something ombre but spring-y. I turned to one of my favorite cakes, this pistachio cake and decided to pair it with sweet strawberries.

The frosting is strawberry frosting that I tinted in an ombre effect. I divided it into three bowls and no food coloring to the first bowl (it had strawberry puree in it tho!), like 3 drops to the second and 4 to the last one.

I decorated it in that dollop, swoop way. It’s actually kind of simple to do but it just takes a bit of patience.

I ended up putting on The Great British Bake-Off and decorating away. It took me about an hour but was actually super relaxing.

I put a little heart (that I glued to a skewer) right on top and it was ready to go!

And then came the car ride.

Luckily, LUCKILY it wasn’t too far away. I live in Echo Park and the party was happening in Silver Lake but if you’ve ever been to my neighborhood, you know that it has incredibly steep hills.

I live on a super steep hill so I parked my car at the bottom of the hill and carefully walked the cake down the hill. I brought a cutting board to put in my front seat so it had something stable to be one. AND, I took it off the cake stand (it was just on a cake board). I blasted the AC so the buttercream wouldn’t melt off.

And then, I drove…slowly. Like, 5 to 10 mph the entire way. The poor people behind me.

But it ended up being so worth it because they are the cutest couple!

Pistachio Strawberry Elopement Cake

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Serving Size: 1 (4-inch) cake


Pistachio Paste:

  • 1/2 cup pistachios + more as garnish, for the cake
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon +1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal

Strawberry Swiss Buttercream:

  • 1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

Pistachio Cake Layers:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup homemade pistachio paste


To make the pistachio paste:

  • To a high-powered blender or food processor, add the pistachios. Pulse until roughly ground. Transfer to a small bowl. In a small saucepan, combine the water and sugar. Cook over high heat until it reaches 220 degrees and is bubbling. Pour over the pistachios and mix immediately. Transfer to the blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground. While the machine is running, pour in the oil. Blend until it resembles a soft peanut butter, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, mix in the almond meal. At this point it should go from soupy to firm. Measure out 1/4 cup of the paste and store the rest in the fridge. Set aside.

To make the frosting:

  • In a small saucepan, set over medium heat, add the strawberries, sugar, water and vanilla extract. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until softened. Smash with the back of a spoon. Transfer to a food processor or blender and puree. Pour through a sieve, into a bowl and set aside. You should end up with about 2 to 3 tablespoons of puree.
  • In the bowl of a stand-up mixer with the whisk attachment, add the egg whites and sugar; beat just until combined. Add a few inches of water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place the stand-up mixer bowl atop the saucepan, creating a double-boiler.
  • Heat until the mixture reads 160 degrees on a thermometer and/or until it's very hot to the touch. Transfer the bowl back to the stand-up mixer and beat, on high, for 8 to 10 minutes until medium to stiff peaks form. The sides of the bowl should be cool to the touch. Remove the whisk attachment and in place of it, add the paddle attachment.
  • While the mixer is on low, add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, until it's light and smooth and fluffy. Lastly, add the 2 tablespoons of strawberry puree and mix until combined. If the frosting is soupy (mine was because it was really hot), add the bowl to the fridge to chill for 5 to 10 minutes. This will work like a charm. Divide the frosting into 3 (adding a tablespoon or two more to the first bowl). Keep the first bowl (with the most frosting) free of coloring. To the second bowl, add 2 drops of red food coloring and mix until thoroughly combined. To the third bowl, add 4 drops of food coloring and mix until thoroughly combined. You should end up with three bowls that have an ombre effect. Set aside.

To make the cakes:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour two 4x2-inch cake pans. Line the bottoms with a round of parchment (this isn't totally necessary but I always do this because my biggest fear is cake sticking to the bottom of pans). Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a stand-up mixer add the butter and sugar; cream together until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the zest and then crack in one egg at a time, adding the next egg only when the one before it has combined. Almost lastly, add in the vanilla extract. Turn the mixer down to low speed and add the yogurt and flour mixture in a few batches, alternating between the two. Lastly, add the reserved pistachio paste and mix until properly combined.
  • We're going to bake three layers (but I only own two 4-inch cake pans) so add some cake batter to two of the cake pans (the batter will be a little thick so it'll need some help smoothing out). Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pan for 10 minutes before removing them to cool completely on a wire rack. Wash one cake pan, dry thoroughly and then re-grease and flour. Bake the last cake layer and allow to cool completely.

To assemble:

  • Place the first layer of cake on a cake board or a cake stand. Add about 2 tablespoons of frosting the top of the cake layer and smooth it out, pushing it out to the sides. Repeat with the last two layers. Smooth the sides of the cake and then decorate how you wish!
Nutrition Facts
Pistachio Strawberry Elopement Cake
Amount Per Serving (2 g)
Calories 0
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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Leave a Reply

  • Reply heather (delicious not gorgeous) April 27, 2017 at 12:12 am

    this sounds like such a tasty cake! luckily haven’t had to deliver a cake after winding through crazy hills and turns (scary enough on a freeway for 20 minutes, lol) but glad it survived!! (though i’m pretty sure everyone would have been willing to grab forkfuls from the box in a no survivors scenario).

  • Reply Pistachio Strawberry Elopement Cake - social foods April 27, 2017 at 12:27 am

    […] Adarme April 27, 2017 Cakes, Desserts, DIY This post was originally published on this […]

  • Reply Kristina April 27, 2017 at 5:37 am

    Looks beautiful! I’m a pistachio fiend, and between this cake recipe and the one that Smitten Kitchen posted recently I can tell I’m going to be on a pistachio cake kick soon. The ingredients list for the strawberry buttercream is missing for me though?

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 28, 2017 at 12:08 am

      her pistachio loaf looks bomb! and it’s added now–sorry about that it was a lil’ glitch

  • Reply vastskyphoto April 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

    what a sweet cake! huge congrats to your friends 😀 glad the cake made it!

  • Reply Mary April 27, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Beautiful cake, beautiful story, beautiful couple, and beautiful you!

  • Reply Ty April 27, 2017 at 11:14 am

    Hi Adrianna…Most beautiful! I, too, am also missing the ingredients for the icing!
    And would love to make this cake for a special occasion!

  • Reply Linda April 27, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Did you add the ingredients for the icing? If so, they are not showing up. I will come back later to see if they have been added. Can’t wait to make this cake.

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme April 28, 2017 at 12:08 am

      yes, it’s there now! i added it but for some reason it didn’t save and then i went to dinner and, well, it’s there now. thanks for your patience!

  • Reply Sharon M April 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Um. . . There are no ingredients listed for the buttercream frosting!

  • Reply Leo Sigh April 28, 2017 at 9:25 am

    That is absolutely gorgeous. And funny, it looks really big in the main photo but it’s actually quite small.

    A perfect size for them, though, I warrant. And really lovely.

  • Reply Allie Beau April 28, 2017 at 11:05 am

    As soon as I heard Stewie say you were making their cake on the Stew podcast I was hoping you would share it here. Have followed you forever and love those guys and that podcast, love when worlds collide! You did an amazing job, what a beautiful cake!

  • Reply fatimah April 28, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    this cake is adorable! love the pistachio and also i can’t imagine delivering a cake so kudos to you lady

  • Reply Sharon M April 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm

    Wow! That was fast– and I appreciate it so much! I wish I could take a picture of the cake I’m making tomorrow, but unfortunately, my camera gave up the ghost a few weeks ago and I have not replaced it yet. But I know this cake will be fantastic and just the right size for my brother, his wife and me!

  • Reply Currently Crushing On. | How Sweet It Is April 29, 2017 at 3:45 am

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  • Reply Currently Crushing On. - social foods April 29, 2017 at 5:26 am

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  • Reply Ashley April 29, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I would be the happiest gal ever if this was my wedding cake!

  • Reply mimi May 1, 2017 at 8:40 am

    wow. you’re just so talented. and there’s no one better than someone you can trust with your dog(s)!

  • Reply Viktor May 13, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Im in love with your cakes actually! This. is. freaking. yummmy 🙂

  • Reply Francisco October 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    HI. This cakes looks and sounds yummy! I am a big pistachio fan and just recently coming back from Rome, where I found pistachios in meatballs (delish by the way), I have been inspired to try this cake. However, if I would like to make a larger cake . . . say three 8″ or 9″ rounds how can I increase the ingredients? Your help and response with this would be greatly appreciated!!!!

    • Reply Adrianna Adarme October 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

      You could double it and use 9″inch cake rounds!