Gluten-Free Pistachio Rose Cake

Pistachio and rose are unlikely friends that complement each other beautifully. This combination has been a cherished for centuries in Middle Eastern baking. What better time of year than spring to bake such a fragrant gluten-free dessert. So I decided this Easter Weekend to make some for my family. The unique harmony of flavors is one that must be experienced. Do not wait to put this recipe on your bucket list!

Photo by: Sarah Chai

Pistachios are rich in protein, fiber, and minerals. They are a good source of magnesium, which the body needs a lot of and we typically don’t get enough of. Pistachios have been known to help monitor cholesterol levels, by reducing absorption of dietary cholesterol and the body’s production of its own cholesterol.(1) Pistachios also contain phytonutrients and antioxidants such as lutein, known to help protect eye health.

Unlike others nuts, pistachio do not cause weight gain, rather help in weight maintenance. The fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals give satiety and help improve blood sugar levels.

Rosewater has been prized in beauty and food products throughout parts of Europe, India and Middle Eastern countries. Rosewater is made by steam distillation of rose petals. Cleansing and soothing on the skin, rosewater also lower inflammation in the body. Rose petals even contain antioxidants and B-vitamins!

Rosewater has multiple uses, and comes in different forms. For cooking and baking, make sure to use a food-grade form. Check the label before consuming.

Where can I find rose water?

Rosewater can be found bottled at Middle Eastern or Asian markets or specialty cooking stores, though you may not know if they carry it or will have it in stock. This is why I typically order rose water online. You can make your own rosewater at home, but make sure to use distilled water and petals grown without pesticides.

I enjoy Cedar Garden Rose Water because it contains no sugar and is incredibly fragrant. So fragrant, that I could smell the rose scent from OUTSIDE the bottle!

Gluten-Free Pistachio Rose Cake

You Will Need:

Cake Base

  • 1 package of Gluten-Free Cake Mix (I tried Duncan Hines Keto Cake Mix for this batch)
  • 3 eggs (pastured-raised if available)
  • 1/3 cup of melted butter
  • 1/4 cup rose water
  • 1/4 cup regular water
  • 1 and 1/2 cup of finely chopped and ground pistachios

Follow the cake mix instructions, but with a few modifications. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use 1/3 cup of melted butter instead of melted coconut oil. The coconut oil will overpower the delicate rose and pistachio flavors. If you prefer not to use butter, try avocado or olive oil over the strong flavor of coconut oil. Combine dry ingredients with the melted butter and 3 eggs. Combine 1/4 cup rose water and 1/4 cup of regular water. Mixed thoroughly. Then fold in 1 cup of finely chopped pistachios. I suggest using an electric coffee grinder.

I used one teaspoon of matcha (green tea powder) to add a soft green effect. I also recommend Nature’s Flavors for natural plant-based food coloring.

Related Article: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Place gluten-free pistachio rose cake in center oven and bake for 18-20 mins. Use your nose, once you begin to smell them wafting out of the oven, they are ready. Sometimes waiting longer will overcook baked goods.

Let cool completely before icing.


  • 4 cups of sifted confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup of unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/3 cup of heavy whipping cream (very cold)
  • 1/4 cup of finely ground pistachio (coffee grinder is recommended)
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • a drop of red food coloring (for light pink effect)


In a large metal bowl, whip softened butter with a whisk or mixer. Slowly fold in confectioner’s sugar until thoroughly blended. Then we will add the cold heavy whipping cream and rapidly whisk until a soft peak has formed. Then fold in the finely ground pistachios, almond, and vanilla extracts, as well as a drop of red food coloring. Whisk into fully blended and fluffy.

Scoop icing into a pipette bag for cupcakes, or you can use the bowl directly for cake.

Related Article: Vegan Egg Alternatives in Baking


Let your imagination take over. I made this recipe recently for an Easter dinner and decided to go with little fondant roses as decoration. For these, I used silcone candy molds. I know fondant is simply sugar and food coloring, but at least it’s gluten-free. I dusted each rose with a bit of rose sugar.

Despite our name, I firmly believe that life is not meant to be entirely rabbit food. There is spiritual health and happiness to consider outside of only physical health. We are a social group, and cultures have developed traditions around food and the holidays. To seek balance in my life, I eat very healthy during the week and allow myself to relax a bit on the weekends and holidays. If you eat well most of the time, indulging over the holidays feels less guilty. We at the Carrot Campaign want you to enjoy life and not become overly obsessed with diet. This is why we firmly and undeniably celebrate “the love of food.

Related Article: How I Started Gluten-Free Living

For the Love of Food