Cardamom Cake with Coffee Icing

I must confess I have been sitting on this recipe for quite a while now.  This cake started its life many years ago as a Danish Chocolate Chip cake whose recipe came to me via my friend’s aunt. As often with recipes handed down from one generation to the next, it needed a little tinkering. Cinnamon and chocolate were replaced with cardamom and I was finally happy with a bundt version dusted with icing sugar - the star feature at my Scandinavian Brunch Demo last Spring for the stationary brand Kikki K. Since then, versions of this cake have appeared in layers, loaves, muffins and bundts of all sizes, amended for every event, tea party or gathering. But it was not until September, when no.4 turned two, that I added a coffee cream cheese icing - a well known flavour marriage made in heaven.

Don't be perturbed by the use of cardamom, a spice used prolifically in Scandinavian baking. Its subtle warm undertones give cakes and buns a mysteriously delicious flavour. If, like me, your crowd seem unsure when you offer them a piece of cardamom cake, call it a soured cream cake or even a coffee cake and they will salivate at your table while waiting for their slice.

And, if you are truly cardamom averse for reasons other than semantics, feel free to replace it with 2 tsp ground cinnamon.  Or the zest of a lemon and a teaspoon of vanilla make a delicious soured cream loaf cake.  Tinker as you wish and make it yours.

Cardamom Cake with Coffee Icing

This cake can either be made in a large (10 cup) bundt tin, as a layer cake in two 20cm cake tins with a removable base, in two loaf tins or 16 muffins.  It is just as good dusted with icing sugar if you prefer it in the morning with a cup of coffee.

Cake

1 1/2 tsp cardamon seeds, crushed (from 15-20 pods)

150gunsalted butter

300g (1 1/2 cups) caster sugar

3 large eggs

250g (2 1/4 cups) plain flour

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

2 tsp baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

300ml (1 1/2 cups) soured cream

Icing

150g unsalted butter at room temperature

150g icing sugar

400g full fat cream cheese at room temperature

1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granuals

2 tsp whole milk

Make cake:

Preheat oven to 180C (350F).  Liberally grease your tin of choice. Dust a bundt tin with flour, and line cake, loaf and muffin tins with parchment paper or liners.

Crush the cardamon pods to remove the seeds, making sure you have approximately 1.5tsp of seeds. (Feel free to use a bit more if you like.)  Crush the seeds in a mortar and pestle.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment for 3-5 minutes on high until pale and fluffy.

Add eggs one at a time, waiting until each is fully incorporated before adding the next and scraping down between each addition.  Beat another 2-3 minutes.

Combine the dry ingredients in a medium sized bowl and add the crushed cardamon.  Stir with a whisk or a fork to combine.

In three parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the soured cream to the butter,  starting and ending with the flour.  Be careful not to over mix.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin of your choice and bake in the lower third of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when you test the cake.

Leave to cool in the tin for 15-20 minutes and then invert onto a rack to cool completely.

Either dust the top with icing sugar, or once cool, ice with the coffee icing.

Icing:

Cream together butter and icing sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes until light and fluffy

Add cream cheese slowly and beat until fully incorporated

Mix together coffee granules and milk to make a "coffee milk" and add to icing. Stir through until the icing is a light mocha colour and glossy.

Liberally spread over the cake, loaf or muffins.

The cake will keep for about three days covered on your worktop if it lasts that long.

Enjoy!

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