Lemon & Pistachios Cupcakes

Yesterday was mother’s day, and I thought of this recipe all for my amazing mama. My mother loves cupcakes, pistachios, and cream cheese frosting. Thus, I made this lemon and pistachio cupcake with cream cheese frosting just for her. My mother is obsessed with pistachios, so I wanted to make them the stars of this dish.

Lemon & Pistachios Cupcakes // Serve With Rice

Disclaimer: The frosting recipe isn’t actually mine. The recipe belongs to Martha Stewart, and it is so brilliantly fantastic that I use it for all my cupcakes. The only change I made is making it green purely for decoration. It goes along with all the pistachio goodness for mama.

Months ago my sister invited me to go to Austin with her so that we could visit our brother. I was thrilled to go! Then, weeks later I realized we accidentally planned to be in Texas during mother’s day.  So, in my immense guilt that my mother spent her mother’s day without all of her kids, I made her this little treat before leaving home.

Lemon & Pistachios Cupcakes // Serve With Rice

I knew right away that I wanted to add real pistachios to the cake batter. I’ve used crushed nuts in place of flour before and it’s amazing. Not only do the nuts act as flour, but they add a great nutty taste to every bite. I didn’t crush the pistachios too much so that there would still be tiny chunks in the cake. I added a bit of lemon flavor in order to balance out the flavors. There was sweet, there was salty, but I needed something to tie it together. Thus, a bit of lemony tartness. I left some of the crushed pistachios to top the newly green cream cheese frosting. For my mama, there is no such thing as too many pistachios.

Lemon & Pistachios Cupcakes // Serve With Rice

The only rough part of making this recipe–other than regular baking labor–is shelling the pistachios. It would have been easier to buy pistachios that were already out of the shell but we were fresh out of those in the house. I suggest you put in some effort to find them. Save yourself 35 minutes or so. Also, be careful with the food coloring. It turned my thumb green!

Now, let’s talk about my mommy. She takes care of me always. She is my biggest support in all aspects of my life. The least that I could do is make her these cupcakes, especially since I’m not in town! It’s not nearly enough. So, let me say this: thank you, mama. For everything you do and everything you will undoubtedly do for me. I hope you loved these cupcakes as much as I love you. That’s a lot, by the way!

Lemon & Pistachios Cupcakes // Serve With Rice

Happy mother’s day to all mamas out there! How did you celebrate?

Lemon and Pistachios Cupcakes // Serve With Rice

Lemon & Pistachios Cupcakes

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes


  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup pistachios shelled
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups butter or oil 2 1/2 sticks at room temp
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp lemon extract


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake baking tray with cupcake liners. 

  2. In a food processor crush 1 cup of shelled pistachios until small and almost floury. Set aside.

  3. In a large bowl whisk together both flours, baking powder, salt and a 1/2 cup of crushed pistachios. Leave excess pistachios for topping. Set aside.

  4. In a stand mixer or with a hand mixer and a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing each time until fully incorporated. 

  5. Add flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with 2 batches of milk. Mix well each time, allowing time for the ingredients to incorporate. Add lemon extract and mix a little more. 

  6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the tray and let them cool completely on a wire rack before adding frosting. 

  7. Frost each cupcake with frosting. Top each cupcake with remaining crushed pistachios. Serve after dinner! 


Cream Cheese Frosting

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 24 cupcakes
Author Martha Stewart


  • 12 oz cream cheese at room temp
  • 8 oz butter at room temp
  • 2-3 cups confectioner's sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 drops green food coloring*
  • 1-2 tbsp pistachos* crushed


  1. In a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.

  2. Add the confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time, mixing it fully before adding more. Keep adding until you reach the desired texture and taste. Mix in the vanilla extract and green food coloring.

  3. Pipe frosting on each cupcake after they have cooled. Top with a little of the crushed pistachios. Serve! 

Recipe Notes

** This recipe was originally printed on marthastewart.com [Link in post]. The starred ingredients were added by me for the purposes of this post's recipe.