This Watergate Cake is a classic dessert that has been around for decades. Light, fluffy Pistachio Cake is layer with an airy frosting and chopped pecans.
Why You’ll Love Watergate Cake
- EASY CAKE MIX RECIPE – The base of this recipe is a boxed cake mix, which is the ultimate shortcut for any dessert. This Watergate Cake takes just a handful of ingredients and 10 minutes of prep time.
- PERFECT FOR ANY OCCASION – This cake works great for any pitch in, potluck, church function, holiday or any festive occasion!
- DELICIOUS – Made with Lemon Lime Soda, this cake has a light, airy textu7re and the whipped topping frosting is also light and creamy. Topped with crunchy pecans, it’s a great mixture of textures and flavors.
Why Is It Called Watergate Cake
It seems like no one really knows for use. There is a theory that this Pistachio Cake changed it’s name in the 70’s after the famous President Richard Nixon scandal at the Watergate Hotel. Some even say the frosting is called “impeachment frosting”. But I’m not sure that’s true.
Watergate Cake Recipe
Like any classic recipe that’s been handed down through the generations, there are some major and slight variations to this cake you may see. But, generally, they are all made with a combination of white cake mix, lemon lime soda and pistachio pudding. And the frosting is always a lighter, whipped frosting. Sometimes you may see it as a layer cake or a Bundt cake. But our version is a simple sheet cake.
For step-by-step instructions, check out the printable recipe card below. But here is what you’ll need to get started:
- WHITE CAKE MIX – You can substitute for French Vanilla Cake Mix or even Yellow Cake Mix, but the color of the cake may change a bit.
- EGGS – If possible, let your eggs come to room temperature before combing.
- VEGETABLE OIL – Baking with oil will help keep your cake extra moist!
- LEMON-LIME FLAVORED SODA – You can use any brand, both 7-Up and Sprite will work. You can also use Ginger Ale or even Club Soda.
- INSTANT PISTACHIO PUDDING MIX – You will need two packets, one for the cake and one for the whipped topping. If you have any packets left over, make sure to try them out on this Pistachio Muffin Recipe!
- MILK – To combine with the pudding mix for your whipped topping. We use 2% but you can use whatever you’d like. Just know that it may change the consistency.
- WHIPPED TOPPING – Traditionally, this dessert is made with Dream Whip. You can certainly use that if you’d like. But we used frozen Cool Whip that has been thawed. But you can make your homemade whipped cream.
- PECANS – Chopped for a topping. This is optional.
Storage, Freezing and Leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator. You don’t want to leave this cake out in room temperature for too long because of the dairy in the frosting. This cake freezes well. Wrap it in freezer wrap and it should be good in your freezer for a couple of months.
Notes, Tips and FAQs
- TOP WITH COCONUT – Some versions of this recipe have shredded coconut flakes in the cake, on both. You can also toast the coconut to put on top of the cake.
- NUTS – You can also toast the pecans. Or sub for any other nut like Walnuts, Almonds or even more Pistachios.
- COOL BEFORE FROSTING – Make sure to let the cake fully cool before adding the frosting or you’ll have a mess on your hands.
- TOP WITH MINI MARSHMALLOWS – This would be a fun nod to the classic Watergate Salad!
- ADD ALMOND EXTRACT – Add almond extract gives it a little more Pistachio Flavor.
- HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOUR CAKE IS DONE? – The best way to is stick a toothpick or a cake tester in the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, then it is done.
We hope you enjoy this Watergate Cake Recipe. We’d love to hear how it turns out in the comment section. Happy eating!
LOOKING FOR MORE OLD FASHIONED DESSERT RECIPES? CHECK OUT:
- 1 15.25 ounce package white cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup lemon-lime flavored soda
- 2 3 ounce packages instant pistachio pudding mix
- 1 cup cold milk
- 1 cup frozen whipped topping thawed
- Chopped pecans for topping
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk together the cake mix and one package of pistachio pudding until combined.
- Add the eggs, vegetable oil, and lemon lime soda and beat until blended.
- Pour the batter into a 9x13 baking dish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes.
- Allow the cake to cool completely, then prepare the frosting by whisking together the other box of pistachio pudding and milk. When the pudding is dissolved, fold in the whipped topping.
- Spread the frosting over the top of the cooled cake and chill for one hour.
- Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the cake before serving.