Watergate Cake

This recipe had me turning to Google to find out the history behind the Watergate Cake with Cover Up Icing. The way the story goes, it was one of two items that were introduce by the makers of Jell-O and were popular at the time the Watergate Scandal took place. Jell-O had introduced pistachio jello and pudding, and a jello salad and pistachio cake were the brainchildren of the Jell-O test kitchens, apparently. Pistachio cake and pistachio salad quickly were renamed Watergate Cake etc., because they were filled with nuts and covered in fluff, ostensibly like the Nixon administration had been. While this particular recipe calls for the cake to be made in a 13×9 pan, images found online are of a bundt cake smothered in fluffy icing. Ick.

Watergate Cake

1 pkg Duncan Hines white cake mix

1 cup oil

1 pkg instant pistachio pudding

1 cup ginger ale

3 eggs

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Blend ingred. in large mixer bowl at low speed. When blended, beat at medium speed 4 minutes. Pour into greased & floured 13×9 pan, bake 350 – 40 minutes


2 env dream whip

1 1/4 cups milk

1 pkg instant pistachio pudding

Whip dream whip & milk until peaks. Gradually add the pudding & whip until light & fluffy – 2 min

14 thoughts on “Watergate Cake

  1. Thanks for publishing this recipe and researching the story. My great Aunt Reona used to make this delicious Watergate Cake with a few differences such as club soda instead of ginger ale, pecans instead of walnuts, and Cool Whip instead of Dream Whip. I wanted to find more information about why it was called Watergate Cake and I found your website. I am planning on including this recipe in a family cookbook that I am currently working on.


  2. Pingback: 10 Days of Food | Where My Treasure Is

  3. Pingback: Bake It With Booze!: Pistachio and Orange Liqueur Cake {Watergate Cake}

  4. Thank you for the recipe and back ground information, I’m from the south…and I have great memories of this cake. My mama used to make this when I was small, but sadly as the years went on the recipe was lost. I’m making it for Christmas as a blast from the past, with a few tweeks to it. Thanks again!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.