Today’s Recipe: Pistachio Melon Cake


We first published this recipe a year ago and it received a lot of attention. This recipe, as it is written (continued below), with the ingredients listed, is how we invented it. And how we tested it. If we had tested substitutions and found that they worked, we would have included that information. If you have allergies or dislikes, you need to test them yourself. We take great pride in our recipes, making them over and over again until they’re perfect. For that reason, we can’t recommend substitutions unless they go through the rigors of our test-kitchen protocol— given the number of dislikes and allergies people have, we’d never get a recipe finished. And eaten:) Please don’t ask about substitutions; get brave instead. Put your creative apron on and let our other readers know how it turned out with the substitutions you chose. And by the way, we will never publish a recipe that didn’t work for us. If it fails for you, something was different. Our recipes are tested over and over until we’re sure that if you follow our directions exactly and use the ingredients we list, you’ll be successful. My DIL Ashley, our food guru, has put together a list of FAQs for this recipe. Find it here. Come back next week for a coconut-free and nut-free watermelon cake.



2    ¾” thick slices watermelon (seedless)
1    ¾” thick slice cantaloupe
1    ¾” thick slice honeydew
4    13.5 oz cans coconut milk, refrigerated overnight
We used Native Forest full-fat (not low-fat) Organic Coconut Milk that gave us approx. half a can of cream from each can (that have been refrigerated overnight to firm up the cream), just like in the how-to photos. Please take a minute to look through them!
¾   cup powdered sugar
½   t almond extract
¾   cup pistachios, shelled and chopped
½   cup blueberries

1. Stack all of the melon slices on top of each other, and cut inside the rind of the smallest round, creating four pieces of melon that are uniform in size.
2. Remove the seeds from the cantaloupe and honeydew. Set melon slices aside.
3. Scoop the coconut cream off the top of the cans of coconut milk (discard milk from the bottom of the cans or use in soups or other recipes) and place in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, mix until smooth.
4. Add powdered sugar and almond extract; mix until smooth.
5. Pat a slice of watermelon dry with a paper towel and place on a serving plate. Add a generous layer of coconut frosting. Pat cantaloupe dry and add to cake, add another generous layer of frosting, pat honeydew dry and add to cake.
6. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup pistachios and ¾ cup coconut frosting. Use it to fill in the center of the cantaloupe and honeydew.
7. Add another generous layer of frosting. Pat the final slice of watermelon dry and add to the top of the cake.
8. Frost the entire cake and garnish with remaining pistachios and blueberries. Chill for 2 hours before serving.

Gather ingredients.



Stack two ¾” thick slices of watermelon, one ¾” thick slice of cantaloupe, and one ¾” thick slice of honeydew on top of each other, and cut inside the rind of the smallest round, creating four pieces of melon that are uniform in size.

Remove the seeds from the cantaloupe and honeydew. Set melon slices aside.

Scoop the coconut cream off the top of four 13.5 oz cans of coconut milk (that have been refrigerated overnight to firm up the cream) and place in a medium bowl (discard milk from the bottom of the cans or use in soups or other recipes). Using an electric mixer, mix until smooth.


Add ¾ cup powdered sugar.


Mix until smooth.



Add ½ t almond extract. Mix until smooth.

Pat a slice of watermelon dry with a paper towel and place on a serving plate.

Add a generous layer of coconut frosting.

Pat cantaloupe dry and add to cake, add another generous layer of frosting.


Pat honeydew dry and add to cake.

Add ¼ cup shelled and chopped pistachios to a small bowl. Add ¾ cup coconut frosting; stir to combine.

growing_jane-melon_cake-6368Use it to fill in the center of the cantaloupe and honeydew.

Add another generous layer of frosting. Pat the final slice of watermelon dry and add to the top of the cake.

Frost the entire cake.

Garnish with remaining ½ cup shelled and chopped pistachios and ½ cup blueberries. Chill for 2 hours before serving.


For more awesome recipes like this one, try my newly-released cookbook, Milk Cow Kitchen, or my magazine, MaryJanesFarm, now in its 13th year! Thank you for visiting my blog!

Leave a comment 468 Comments

  1. Kim says:

    Just made this, doesn’t look like the pic, lol but the icing is awesome.

  2. Kandy Rhyno says:

    My daughter has requested a watermelon cake for her birthday next week. Will definately have to try this 🙂

  3. Jennifer Morgan says:

    Sounds delicious….high sugar and fat tho I might use coconut gelato

    • Katie says:

      Gelato? But wouldn’t the gelato just melt right away, and the fruit would slide around everywhere? You wouldn’t want to serve the whole thing frozen, would you?

  4. Pat Gibson says:

    Wonder if you could just use a carton or two of cool whip for the icing?

  5. DARCI says:

    Has anyone mentioned powdered Stevia yet?

  6. says:

    Make this!!

  7. VICKIE says:

    I would never have been able to figure this out without the pictures. Great idea!

  8. Luz Castro says:

    What else can I use instead of the coconut milk?
    I can’t find it…

  9. Patricia Arnold says:

    Do you use a seedless watermelon?

    • Debra says:

      Yes. Use seedless. It’s less sweet than seeded but far less of a nightmare. Just imagine trying to dig all those seeds out. BTW cashew cream works well with this recipe as a substitute for coconut or in addition to.

  10. Lisa says:

    This looks so good!
    I want 2 have a party and invite ppl over.

  11. erendira says:

    Que delicioso!

  12. Tammy Paul says:

    Is there something other than coconut milk that can be used? I have a family member who is allergic to coconut.

  13. Mildred Seegars says:

    Looks delicious these are dishes a vegetarian like me can really enjoy. Please keep sending my way. Could you please email this one to me so I can add it to my recipe book. Thanks

  14. Sarah says:

    Now this was good a perfect summer desert and easy to do.

  15. Geri Whelan says:

    Can’t wait to make this!!

  16. Julie says:

    This looks wonderful! Is any sugar or sweetener necessary? From the photos, it looks as though the coconut cream has enough body on its own. Does it? Also, do you think that adding freshly ground coconut to the cream for the filling would make it watery? Thanks!

  17. Karen Pennington says:

    It looks so good, can’t wait to try it

  18. amy ward says:

    This cake looks so healthy an.delicious. i cant wait to make it an taste it. Thank you for a yummy recipe

  19. Claudia York says:

    That is one delicious-looking recipe!!! I can only imagine how wonderful it tastes! Thank you so much for sharing it with me. 🙂

  20. Tuesday Shaw says:

    This looks delicious!!! I really love the fact that it is dairy free!!!

  21. pam Granberry says:

    Would like more healthy recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  22. Mary Munoz says:

    Cannot wait to try this!. Thanks

  23. Charlene says:

    Really?! All so very healthy and you sweeten with powdered sugar?!

  24. Donna says:

    My husband said this will be soggy unless it’s eaten right away. Is this true? I know you pat the melons with paper towels, but they are still filled with water. What will prevent it from becoming watery?

  25. betty trejo says:

    I love it!

  26. Suzee Jackson says:

    Why not just cut another slice of cantaloupe and honeydew and fill in center.

  27. Carmen says:

    I added seedless grapes cut in fours to the center mix, it was great!!!

  28. Joseph Labuda says:

    Can you send me the recipe for this cake?

  29. This cake looks so good, healthy, and something new instead of a real cake. Making for Father’s Day!

  30. susan says:

    just may try this hope it’s as good tasting as it looks 🙂 thanks so much for the detailed instructions & pics

  31. Susan Scullion says:

    Love the instructions, can’t wait to try it.

  32. heather turvey- arreola says:

    This looks amazing! I’m going to try it at the assisted living facility I work at… Thanks. 🙂

  33. Kerry says:

    I tried this cake using all the recommended ingredients, and while it tasted absolutely delicious, it was a major fail in the aesthetic department. The icing was so runny it dripped down the sides of the cake. I even added an additional cup or two of powdered sugar to try to firm it up, but had no success. In the photos, it looks like the coconut milk is firm immediately after beating the first time (before the 10x sugar was added), but mine almost liquified at that point. I used the same type and brand of coconut milk mentioned in your recipe. What did I do wrong?

    • MaryJane says:

      After being refrigerated overnight, the cream should be firm when it is scooped out of the can. Did you use the whole can of coconut milk or just the cream off the top? In this recipe, you only use the cream from the top of the can (reserve the milk for use in other recipes). When the coconut cream is scooped out, it is rather firm and a little chunky, but after blending it with the powdered sugar and almond extract, it will become creamy and spreadable.

      • Kerry says:

        I did use only the firmed coconut cream. I actually opened the bottom of the can and poured off the liquid first, making sure I drained ALL the liquid off (about 1/2 of the can was the remaining solidified coconut cream). It just seemed to liquify when I beat it. Did you use a whisk on your mixer or beaters? Do you beat it at a high speed or just enough to mix the sugar? Does it make a difference if you add the almond extract BEFORE you add the 10x sugar? If my refrigerator is a few degrees warmer than yours, would THAT make a difference? I’m stumped.

        • MaryJane says:

          We’ve tested this recipe using the beaters on the hand mixer in the how-to photos included with the recipe, and with a KitchenAid stand mixer using the whisk attachment. We have only tested the recipe adding the powdered sugar first, and then the almond extract (per the instructions), but I don’t see how so little liquid could drastically impact the final texture. When the coconut cream is beat, it should whip up with a little air, and will be more voluminous after whipping. Does your cream have more body after whipping, or does it liquefy as soon as you start whipping? When adding the powdered sugar, the beater speed is low, so the powdered sugar doesn’t come out of the bowl, then the speed is gradually increased, much like whipping cream.

          Maybe it has to do with the temperature of your cream. While refrigerator temperatures vary, they should all be at or just below 40°F. Is it possible that your room temperature is warmer that our room temperature? I made this frosting just yesterday, and put the bowl of frosting in the refrigerator after whipping instead of using it right away. Later in the evening, I used it to make a small melon cake. The frosting was easy to spread even after being refrigerated for about 12 hours. I’m wondering if it would be helpful for you to refrigerate the cream for a few hours after whipping to firm it up again?

          • Kerry says:

            I have a Magic Mill mixer, and I used the beater to beat the coconut cream. It did get a little more voluminous after I beat it, which gave me the hope that if I beat it some more, it would become stiffer. No such luck. I also put it in the freezer for several minutes to stiffen/firm it up after beating it the first time. Still no difference. When adding the 10x sugar, I started out on low speed so as to keep all the sugar IN the bowl, but increased speed as was able.

            Next try I will use my downstairs refrigerator to firm up the coconut cream as it does not get the traffic my kitchen frig does, keeping the temperature more constant. I will probably refrigerate it several days in advance instead of just overnight, also. And, I will definitely wait to add the almond extract.

            I wonder if humidity could have an effect on this?

            Thank you so much for taking the time to have this conversation. I really appreciate your help!

  34. June Reister says:

    In answer to the substitution questions about the coconut cream frosting….if you can have eggs, try a Swiss Buttercream (you can youtube the directions-it’s really easy). You make it by heating egg whites and sugar in the top of a double boiler. 4 egg whites and the equivalent of 1/2 cup of sugar. I like both stevia and monk fruit. Then beat the whites to soft peaks and add flavoring. Try vanilla, orange or lemon in place of the almond

  35. Jane Davis says:

    This recipe looks fabulous. I would not change a thing. All this to do about COOL WHIP, sugar substitutes, fat substitutes and just exactly why America produces so many very fat people. You eat low fat, low sugar and then you have cravings and then binge. Just eat normally and have a great and healthful desert like the one called PISTACHIO MELON CAKE. Printed it out and now will make. Thanks so much. Jane

  36. Carol says:

    Do you really get that much frosting from the 2 cans of coconut milk?

  37. sharon says:

    I want to try this for my sons july birthday

  38. Gale Parry says:

    Looks Good Yummmm!

  39. brenda says:

    This was not only BEAUTIFUL to look at…but you gave STEP BY STEP direction AND PICTURES….for those of us who really need them!!! TYSM, I cant wait to try this!

    • MaryJane says:

      Thank you Brenda for appreciating the hard work we go to on our recipes. We haven’t had the heart to approve all the comments that say abrupt things like: “I hate coconut, what’s a replacment?” “Send this to me via email.” “How many carbs are in this?” One of the reasons we go to the expense and time to create all the how-to photos is so there aren’t so many variables and mishaps, but still …

  40. Diane says:

    I have never tried coconut milk and this may be a silly question but if you do not really like the taste of coconut will you actually taste the coconut with all the other ingreds?

  41. DELILAH says:

    Can something besides Coconut milk be used?

    • MaryJane says:

      We made this recipe using these ingredients. If you’d like to go to your test kitchen and try something else, let us know how it turns out!

  42. Christine Lajewski says:

    We (our Beautiful One group) are making this Mon. For dessert! Can’t wait…yum!

  43. susan says:

    Any idea what the calorie and fat content is?

  44. Janice says:

    My frosting stuck to the top but not the sides….I patted it down with paper towels a few times…still no luck. Also had to use chopsticks thru the center to hold it in place…the frosting is awesome…!! I used walnuts instead of pistachios.

  45. Shari Lewis says:

    Hi my grandchildren would love to make this and eat it too! It looks yummy and very easy to make! Would love to have more recipes with fruits! Thanks

  46. maughdin says:

    I made this today and it was AMAZING! Mine doesn’t look as smooth or even (because I am not good at this sort of thing!), but it was BELOVED by my kids. They devoured the whole thing.

    I found cans of coconut cream at Sprouts and used two cans of that instead of the 4 cans of milk. It was runny until it set up, but once it did, I was all set.

    Thank you times a million for this. My kids want me to make it every day. 🙂

  47. Elodia says:

    Fresh and great idea for the summer

  48. Deborah-Anne Caramico says:

    I would LOVE to receive emails & recipes from you. What I see here fits in very nicely with my new commitment to feed myself & my loved ones with HEALTHY food.
    Thank you,

  49. Susan Segawa says:

    Instructions are so well done that I think I could do this. It looks so delicious and what a master piece.

Leave a Reply to DARCI Cancel Your Response

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *