Skip to Content

Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream

This yogurt-olive oil cake with a thin layer of lemony buttercream begs to be made even on a random Wednesday morning for an afternoon treat.


Yogurt and olive oil pistachio cake with lemon buttercream on a pink cake stand

There’s No Resisting This Rich Yet Delicate Olive Oil Cake.

How is it possible to make a cake that’s rich and dense and light and fluffy all at the same time? Two magical ingredients: yogurt and olive oil. Both give fat—i.e. moisture galore— and lots of flavor to the this tender, lovely pistachio cake. Making cake with olive oil instead of butter is common in places like Italy where olive oil is traditionally made. And as for yogurt? We love to bake with yogurt! Baking with yogurt (like in these Oat Scones) is a pretty terrific way of adding not just moisture but also fluffiness to your baked goods, because the acidity of the yogurt reacts with the chemical leaveners (in this case, baking powder) to add a little extra lift to your finished cake.

yogurt, flour, eggs, lemons, pistachios, salt, cardamon, olive oil in bowls on the table.
Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream on a pink cake stand

Pistachio Cake With Lemon Frosting: Tastes Even Better Than It Sounds

Despite its elegant demeanor, this pistachio-flecked olive oil cake slathered with lemon buttercream is as easy as can be to make. In fact, if you’ve ever made a quick bread (like zucchini, banana or pumpkin) before, you can count yourself an olive oil cake expert. Here’s what you’ll need to make this pistachio cake recipe.

  • Cake flour (a slightly finer flour than AP flour. Look for it in a box in the baking aisle.)
  • Baking powder
  • Ground cardamom
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Vanilla extract
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Eggs (a lot of them)
  • Lemon zest
Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream on a cake stand with flowers

How To Make Greek Yogurt Cake

This simple pistachio cake recipe is easy to make and stunning enough to serve as the centerpiece for a baby shower, bridal shower or even Mother’s Day. After you’ve gathered your ingredients, you’ll need to prep your equipment. Here are the simple steps to make the best pistachio-olive oil cake recipe ever:

  1. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Take the time to do this thoroughly up front, so you don’t have any stuck-cake debacles right at the end.
  2. Pulse pistachios, flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt a few times in food processor.
  3. Mix that pistachio goodnesswith sugar, olive oil, vanilla, eggs, yogurt, lemon zest.
  4. Pour the batter into the cake pans, and bake!
  5. Whip up the lemon buttercream frosting recipe!
  6. Cool—all the way!—the cakes, then frost, and assemble! And ta da! You made a cake.
Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream
Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream with a plate and 2 forks

Tools You’ll Need:

More Irresistible Desserts

Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream with a slice taken out
a slice of a 3 layer Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream

Are you a Yogurt Cake Lover Now?

If you made this pistachio cake from scratch, we want to see your handiwork! Be sure to snap a photo of it and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper or #themodernproper.

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream

  • Serves: 12
  • Prep Time:  40 min
  • Cook Time:  40 min
  • Calories: 452


  • 1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 tablespoons lemon zest

Lemon Buttercream Frosting

  • 1 cup salted butter, plus more for greasing
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups powdered sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the center position. Butter the bottom and sides of three (8-inch) round cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper. Butter the parchment, then dust the pans with flour, knocking out excess.

  2. Using a food processor, pulse the pistachios until finely ground, about 20 times. Add the flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt, pulse 3-4 times to combine.

  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar, olive oil, vanilla, eggs, yogurt, and lemon zest. Stir in the flour mixture.

  4. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared pans. Tap each pan on the counter a few times to level the batter. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a baking rack for 10 minutes.

  5. Meanwhile make the frosting. Add the butter, lemon juice, vanilla and powdered sugar to a large bowl. Using a hand or stand mixer, beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

  6. Run a knife around the cake’s edge to loosen from the pan and invert it onto the baking rack. Remove the parchment paper. Flip the cake over. Using a long, preferably serrated knife, level out the tops of each cake.

  7. Place the bottom cake layer on a cake stand or plate. Lift bottom edges slightly and place a few pieces of paper towel, wax or parchment paper underneath it.

  8. Spread ⅓ of the frosting on the bottom layer of the cake. Top with the 2nd layer of cake. Spread with ½ of the remaining frosting. Top the cake with the remaining frosting and spread into a thin layer. Remove parchment paper. Serve.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories452
  • Protein8 g
  • Carbohydrates54 g
  • Total Fat24 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol96 mg
  • sodium304 mg
  • Total Sugars34 g

Yogurt and Olive Oil Pistachio Cake With Lemon Buttercream

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Madison

    Hi! Making this for the holiday and trying to figure out if I can make it ahead. Any recommendations for prep or could I make this the day before?

    Definitely ok to make the day before. Hope you enjoy Madison!

  • Christine

    How much fat did your greek yogurt have?

    We used regular greek yogurt, not the low fat/non fat type. Hope you enjoy Christine!

  • Tara

    do you have to maybe serve it with some ice cream on the side because my brother and mom and Me are making this and I am just not sure because this is my first time making this with them. We bake all the time but I do not know about this. I did ask one of my crushes on instagram to see if they made it so I guess I will find out.

    Hi Tara, there is no need to have to serve it with ice cream but you are welcome to if you like ice cream with your cake.

  • Julia

    Hi. Would this cake work baked in a Bundt pan? Thanks. Made it before and it’s dreamy!

    Thanks, glad you like it! We haven't tried it in a bundt pan but we imagine it would work fine. It will take longer to bake than if doing 3 8-inch rounds. Probably closer to 50 minutes. Just make sure a wooden skewer comes out clean before removing it from the oven.

  • Jenn

    This was incredible! The flavor combination was amazing!

    Thank you Jenn, we are so happy you loved it!