Pistachio Cupcakes with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting

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These are some cheerful cupcakes for spring that highlight how honey can bump up the flavor of a typical cream cheese frosting. I used our new Knotweed Honey but any raw, medium-bodied honey will work well.



4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1/3 cup sour cream

1/3 cup whole milk

1 1/2 cups unsalted, shelled pistachios, divided

3/4 cup cake flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon almond extract



8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons Runamok Honey (High Plains Clover, Beekeepers’ Cut, Basswood, Orange Blossom, Knotweed would all work well)

Pinch of salt

1 tablespoon heavy cream


Heat the oven to 350°F and line 12-18 cupcake pans with paper liners

Place 1 cup of the unsalted pistachios in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Run the machine until the nuts have become a fine powder. Transfer to a large bowl. Add the remaining 1/2 cup pistachios to the food processor and pulse until medium coarse. 

Add the cake flour, all-purpose flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda to the finely ground pistachios and whisk to combine.

Place the butter, granulated sugar, and oil in the bowl of a stand mixer or regular bowl. Beat with the paddle attachment if using stand mixer or regular beater if using a bowl. Add the egg and egg white and beat on high until smooth and creamy. Add the sour cream, vanilla, and almond extract, and beat on high speed until combined, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl.

With the mixer on low speed, add half of the flour mixture and beat until just combined. Add the milk and incorporate. Add the remaining flour mixture and beat until just combined. Spoon into cupcake liners, filling ⅔ full.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean, 15 – 20 minutes. Let them cool completely. 


To make the frosting, place the remaining 1 stick unsalted butter in the stand mixer bowl or large bowl if using an electric hand mixer. Beat with the paddle attachment until smooth and a little fluffy. Add the cream cheese and continue beating until fully incorporated. Add the first cup of powdered sugar and mix on low to avoid a sugar cloud. Repeat with the second cup. 

Add the honey and a pinch of salt. Increase the speed to high and beat until smooth. Add heavy cream and continue beating until fluffy and smooth, about 2 minutes. If the frosting is too loose, add a little more powdered sugar. If it is too stiff, add another spoonful of cream. Chill in the refrigerator if not using immediately.

Frost each cooled cupcake with a generous portion of frosting. 

Top with extra chopped pistachios. 

Adapted from the recipe, Fluffy Pistachio Layer Cake by Stephanie Loo, The Kitchn