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5 from 2 votes
cream cheese frosted cupcakes with pistachios
Honey Pistachio Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
1 hr 5 mins
These Honey Pistachio Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting are made from scratch with ground pistachios. They are light and fluffy, and they have notes of honey, almond, and vanilla. The honey cream cheese frosting is both sweet and tangy, complementing the cupcakes perfectly.
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: honey pistachio cupcakes
Servings: 18 cupcakes
Author: Michelle
Pistachio Cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup shelled pistachios, unsalted
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • green food coloring, optional
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 3-4 cups powdered sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 cup chopped pistachios
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line your muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer (or in a medium/large bowl with a hand mixer), beat butter until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  2. Add in granulated sugar and honey, and beat the mixture until creamy.
  3. Add in the egg yolks, one at a time; beat well after each addition. Set aside.
Dry Ingredients:
  1. Using a food processor, grind 1 cup of shelled pistachios into fine pieces/crumbs. Set aside.
  2. Sift together cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add in pistachio crumbs. Set aside.
Wet Ingredients:
  1. Whisk half and half, vanilla extract, and almond extract* together.
  2. Beginning and ending with dry ingredients, alternately add dry ingredients and wet ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix until just combined.
  3. Add in sour cream, and mix until just combined.
  4. With a standing mixer (with the whisk attachment) or a hand mixer, whip egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  5. Gently fold egg whites into the batter, folding until the whites are fully combined.
  6. Lastly, if using food coloring, add in 1-2 drops liquid green food coloring, and gently stir until combined.
  7. Fill cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full (this recipe makes about 15-18 cupcakes).
  8. Lightly tap the cupcake pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  9. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Because of their color, it can be difficult to tell when they’re done. Around the 16 minute mark, I keep a very close eye on them so they don’t overcook.
  10. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter together until combined and very light and fluffy.
  2. Add in honey. Beat until combined.
  3. Add in powdered sugar, beginning with 3 cups. If the frosting isn’t sweet enough, add in the remaining cup. (Remember, cream cheese frosting is looser/thinner than a buttercream frosting.)
  4. Add a pinch of salt to taste—salt helps balance the sweetness.
  5. Frost each cupcake with cream cheese frosting. Add chopped pistachios on top, if desired.
  6. Serve immediately, or serve within 3-4 hours of frosting.
  7. Due to the cream cheese frosting, leftovers must be stored in the fridge. I suggest allowing cupcakes to come to room temperature before serving.
Recipe Notes
  • Eggs:
    For best results, separate egg yolks from egg whites while cold (the eggs separate better when cold).
    Allow both to reach room temperature before baking—egg yolks will mix into the cake batter better when at room temperature, and egg whites will whip into stiff peaks better when at room temperature.

Almond Extract: Almond extract is very strong. I love the flavor and used 1/2 tsp in this recipe. However, if you would prefer a subtle flavoring, use 1/4 tsp almond extract.