St. Patrick's Day is just over 1 month from today. What's on your green radar this year?

When you think St. Pat's, you might think corned beef and cabbage. Or maybe Irish soda bread – American style, or traditional.

If you're lucky enough to know about Chocolate Stout Cake – the biggest, densest, most brazenly decadent dark chocolate layer cake ever – you definitely think about that, raising a glass of Guinness in its honor.

There's just one problem with all of these treats: they're not green. And there are those among you (you know who you are) who can't let St. Pat's Day pass without baking something green: shortbread, muffins, cookies, maybe a bright-green lime cake.

Unless you're going the food color route (in which case green baking can assume any flavor), lime and pistachio are the flavors of the day. And even those "green" flavors won't yield the bright-green treats you're determined to bring to the office. For that, you need (dare I say it?) pudding mix, or Jell-O.

Which is what you'll find, in both cake and icing, in these green pistachio cupcakes.

If you're opposed to using boxed mixes of any kind, including pudding, then get off the train right here – it's not destined for any station at which you'd care to disembark.

But if you're a relaxed kind of baker – like me – read on. Here's another recipe to add to your green St. Pat's collection.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of a standard muffin pan; or line the pan with muffin  papers, and grease the papers (for best release).

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the following until thoroughly combined:

3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon pistachio flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the following:

1 2/3 cups (7 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
3 1/8-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix or 1-ounce package sugar-free pudding mix*
2 tablespoons cake enhancer, optional; for increased moistness

*Use a national brand, for deepest green color.

In another bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (or sour cream); and 1/2 cup milk.

Starting and ending with the flour mixture, alternately beat in the flour and yogurt/milk, as follows: 1/3 of the flour, half the yogurt/milk, 1/3 of the flour, the remaining yogurt/milk, and the remaining flour. Beat gently to combine after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, and beat briefly.

Stir in 3/4 cup shelled, chopped pistachios, if desired. This is for those of you who'd feel odd making pistachio cupcakes that didn't actually include any pistachios. Personally, I prefer the cupcakes without the chopped nuts, but each to his own.

Spoon the batter into the wells of the pan; a muffin scoop is the ideal tool here.

The wells will be about 3/4 full.

Bake the cupcakes for 18 to 22 minutes, until they appear set and a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center cupcakes comes out clean.

Remove the cupcakes from the oven.

As soon as you can handle them, transfer them to a rack to cool.

Now for the icing. You can actually make this before the cupcakes, since it has to chill for awhile; but if you're not in a hurry, afterwards is fine, too.

Combine the following in a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan:

1 cup heavy or whipping cream*
1/2 cup milk*
4 1/2 cups mini-marshmallows (3/4 standard-size bag)
3 1/8-ounce package instant pistachio pudding mix or 1-ounce package sugar-free pudding mix
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/8 teaspoon pistachio flavor, optional; for enhanced flavor

*To make icing stiff enough to pipe and hold its shape, substitute 1/2 cup heavy cream for the 1/2 cup milk. If you're not going to pipe the frosting, prepare the recipe as written.

Heat everything gently, stirring often, until the marshmallows have melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove from the heat, and chill until completely cold.

Using a stand mixer or electric hand mixer, whip the frosting until it's smooth and creamy. If you've used all cream, it'll be quite stiff, which makes it perfect for piping.

Spread the icing (or pipe the all-cream version) atop the cupcakes. If you pipe it, you probably won't need the optional garnish of chopped nuts; if you spread the icing, chopped nuts help dress the cakes up.

Now, one word about this icing: its consistency is noticeably "marshmallow-y." Think Hostess Sno Ball. If you're not a fan of this type of frosting, try Italian Buttercream, flavored with pistachio flavor or enhanced with pistachio paste.

Now THAT'S green!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Emerald Isle Pistachio Cupcakes.

Print just the recipe.

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PJ Hamel
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About PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!

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