I baked one of my cardamom cakes today. It’s usually pretty scrumptious, or ‘delumptious’ as my granddaughter tells me.
I think it probably was as good as ever today. I won’t ever know though because today’s cake was a gift. All afternoon, my tum has been trying to get Brain’s attention.
‘I want the cake you made this morning! Where is it?’ Tum demands.
‘I gave it away’, replies Brain.
‘HUH????? Why did you do that, you numbskull??’ Tum splutters, somewhat discombobulated.
‘Because we are part of a considerate, thoughtful body who has a modicum of respect for other human beings and because she wanted to say ‘Thank You’ to her work colleagues, who were kind enough to send a lovely farewell card and unexpected gift and whom she hasn’t had a chance to see for over four months because Back and Shoulder cannot get their act together and stop being utter, complete PAINS!’ Brain justifies her actions, as cleverly as a Cheshire Cat.
‘But I just wanted a small piece…’ Tum grumbles on… she does that quite a lot. I think she needs a therapist. That or some cake.
I was delighted to receive the completely unexpected gift at the weekend and had been planning to take a cake in for my colleagues yesterday, but sleep deprivation on Sunday night scuppered that plan. I know the way to their hearts is through their stomachs, hence the serious cake action. For those who are interested check out these facts about cardamom – http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cardamom.html but I’ll summarise quickly to say that the health benefits include many anti-oxidants, antiseptic and digestive properties that justify inclusion in many recipes. Plus, it smells really good and tastes particularly delicious when teamed up with vanilla.
And so, because I am kind, thoughtful and just a little bit proud of my cardamom cake, for your delectation (because I know you are now also having similar conversations with your own tums) I am prepared to share my special cardamom cake recipe with you. Here. Right now. You’re welcome 🙂
Liz’s Cardamom Cake
For the cake:
300g Self-raising flour
275g Caster sugar
250g Butter or Stork (for cakes)
4 large free range eggs
About 8g of cardamom pods (a heaped tablespoon full)
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla pod
1 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch of salt
For the buttercream filling:
100g unsalted butter (slightly softened)
300g icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC/ Gas mark 4.
- Lightly grease and flour two 8” sandwich cake tins. Set them aside.
- Cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and light dropping consistency.
- Put the flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl.
- Put the cardamom pods into a pestle and mortar, crush the outer pods to reveal the black seeds inside and discard the outer pods. Grind the black seeds quite finely. Add to the flour, salt and baking powder and mix with a metal spoon.
- Break the four eggs into a jug or pouring bowl and add the vanilla bean paste OR the contents of a whole vanilla pod (to open a vanilla pod, hold it firmly at one end and slice lengthways all along splitting the pod in half lengthways. Then use the flat blade of the knife to scrape all the seeds out: 1 spoonful of vanilla bean paste is approximately the same as 1 whole pod). Whisk the eggs and vanilla lightly to mix.
- Add half the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar and mix vigorously – be careful not to let the mix curdle. Add half the flour and fold this in with a metal spoon. Repeat until all the mixture is well combined.
- Divide the mixture between the two tins and tap the tins on the surface to ensure even spread and remove air bubbles.
- Place the two tins side by side on the same mid-shelf in the oven.
- Bake at 180ºC/ Gas mark 4 for approximately 25 minutes. Remove from oven and check that the cakes are cooked through by sticking a skewer into the centre of the cake – if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
- Leave in the tin to cool for five minutes then turn out onto a wire cooling rack. Let the cake cool completely before sandwiching together with the buttercream filling and dust the top with a little icing sugar to serve.
Vanilla Italian Buttercream filling:
- Take the butter out of the fridge for 30 minutes before needed (when you first start making the cake is a good time) OR microwave it on high for about 6 seconds to soften the butter before you use it.
- Put the butter into a large bowl and add the marscapone. Mix them together thoroughly with a whisk. Gradually add the icing sugar and mix until it is fairly firm but still spreadable.
- Spread the filling on top of the first cake and sandwich together with the top cake. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
Now, I realise that my quantities are English so for my American friends, 250g butter is 2 sticks, 275g is about 1 and 1/8 cups and 300g is about 1 and 1/4 cups. The oven temperature would be 350F or a moderate oven. I believe that self-raising flour is the same as All-purpose flour and yes, use the baking powder as well to help with the rise. Caster sugar is superfine sugar and icing sugar is confectioners sugar. If you have any q’s, just leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.
Let me know how you get on!