Watergate Salad Cake

This decadent cake is based on my favorite pistachio pudding salad, Watergate cake! It's an amazing cake version!
Watergate Salad Cake Garnish with Cherries on a White Cake Holder
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Watergate Salad Cake Garnish with Cherries on a White Cake Holder

Confession time again, ladies and gentlemen.

I was just too darn tired to make a cake from scratch. This was when we were at home for a mere three weeks, I was booked up with countless events and commitments the entire 21 days and I wanted a C-A-K-E one afternoon and I wanted it N-O-W.

I don’t know why I am spelling out words in caps and dashes, to be honest. It just feels right.

And as per usual, I digress.

I looked in my pantry and to be honest, again, I almost always have a cake mix or two. I don’t mind playing around with cake mixes. I’m sure you know by now that a food purist is the very last thing I’ll ever claim to be. I’m you. You’re me. We like cake mixes once in a while. Why bother even pretending that I don’t? In fact, you can even go and read my confessions for my favorite bad foods that I love.

a box of butter pecan cake mix and jell-o

Admittedly, I looked at the box of butter pecan cake mix and thought “Oooh man. How long has THIS been in my pantry?” It’s not a cake mix that lends itself to playing around with cookies or fun cake mix recipes.

However, my eyes then wandered over to the other side of my pantry where I keep my chocolate chips and baking supplies and landed upon something that has a semi-regular spot in there…pistachio pudding.

And what have I recently made on this website that incorporated both pecans and pistachio pudding?

Yuppers, my Watergate Salad.

So why not a Watergate Cake?

Watergate Salad Cake with frosting and cherries

Oh ho ho, why not indeed. Wow. Ok you guys, I know that it uses a cake mix but in all seriousness W-O-W peeps, this was a seriously easy, delicious, fabulous cake!

Moist, pineapple-y, pecan-y and some cherry flavored buttercream icing topped it off to make this company worthy cake!

A slice of Watergate Salad Cake with frost and cherry on top in a white plate

I did, without a tinge of shame, feed this to company the next evening. In fact I was absolutely proud for them to try this, I kid you not. I don’t give two hoots that this used a cake mix AND a pudding mix!

I should hang my head in shame, yet instead I’m proudly sharing it with you guys.

Eh, just take away that Food Bloggers Card that never arrived.

Close up of Watergate Salad Cake with frosting and cherries

Make this now. This spring. This summer. Trust Magpie I rarely lie to you… fine maybe once in a while  I never lie to you about cakes. Cakes are some serious business, man.

IF this cake didn’t have a cake mix and a pudding mix, it would honestly be in my upcoming cookbook. I’m that enamoured with it. The taste, the texture, the icing which is literally and figuratively the icing on the cake….oh my. I LUFF IT!

Anyone can make this cake it’s so easy. Even icing it is a joy and adding those little cherries on top? Perfection.

Happy baking you guys! Love you more than chocolate!


Watergate Salad Cake

This decadent cake is based on my favorite pistachio pudding salad, Watergate cake! It’s an amazing cake version!
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
50 minutes
Karlynn Johnston


  • 1 box Butter Pecan Cake Mix
  • 1 ounce instant pistachio pudding 3.4
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 cup crushed pineapple with juice 8 oz
  • cherries with stems for topping drained on paper towels
  • Cherry Buttercream Icing option 1
  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 3-4 tablespoons whipping cream

Pistachio Pudding Icing (option 2)

  • 1 1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1 envelope dessert topping mix ie: Dream Whip
  • 1 envelope instant pistachio pudding


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees, Grease and flour a bundt cake pan and set aside
  • Combine cake mix, pudding mix, oil, eggs, milk and pineapple in a stand mixer bowl
  • Mix the batter on medium speed for approximately 2 minutes, then pour into the prepared cake pan.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes until a tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Combine all icing ingredients together and whip for 2-3 minutes with your stand mixer, until creamy and smooth. Add more whipping cream if you want a lighter icing.
  • Frost the cake and garnish with cherries.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Information

Calories: 579kcal, Carbohydrates: 86g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 12g, Cholesterol: 89mg, Sodium: 504mg, Potassium: 162mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 68g, Vitamin A: 685IU, Vitamin C: 4.5mg, Calcium: 163mg, Iron: 1.2mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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This decadent cake is based on my favorite pistachio pudding salad, Watergate cake! It's an amazing cake version! #cake #pistachio #watergate

Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Reader Interactions

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  1. Kortney says

    I made this, but used yellow cake mix because that’s what I had on-hand. I bet it’s even better with the butter pecan mix – but I think you could make this with a variety of mixes and it will turn out great.
    It baked perfectly and released no problem from the bundt pan (I use Pam baking spray and usually never have issues with release). It is moist and came together so quickly! So easy to make.
    Next time I might try a vanilla pudding- I could see that working with the pineapple or mandarin oranges. Yum. Both the pistachio and pineapple flavors are muted. I haven’t decided if I like pistachio in general (lol). Note that the recipe should say (1) One 3.4oz package of pudding, but the lines are off.
    I made the icing option #1 (cherry almond buttercream frosting) exactly as written, but then added a few tablespoons of maraschino cherry juice at the end, to actually make it cherry. This frosting is fantastic!! It’s going in my regular rotation. Sooo good! My hubby couldn’t stop eating it; he said I might need to make another batch! And, again, so easy and quick – I whipped it up in no time. Wonderful 🙂5 stars

  2. Dolores says

    I have looked for Butter Pecan Cake Mix I live in New Castle,PA and I have looked at my Giant Eagle Store but they don’t have it. I haven’t tried my WalMart Superstore yet do you know if they have the Butter Pecan Cake Mix or can I use another kind of Cake Mix and what flavor

    • Andrea Denise Blakely says

      Walmart has it or try ordering on line if not in stock

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