I’m sure I’ve mentioned my passion for the spice Cardamom. There is something about the smell and flavor that appeals to my senses. I’m pretty sure the love affair started when I first tasted Swedish Kanel Bullar (cinnamon buns) which are actually cardamom buns with cinnamon sugar scrolled through the dough. So when I was reading through Under The Walnut Tree by Anna and Fanny Bergenstrom I was very excited to find a chapter solely devoted to my favourite spice. How could I decide what to make? Well in the end, months later as I’m finally starting to explore this book a little more I’ve returned to this chapter and in particular this cake because it sounded so good.
The first thing I can tell you is if you’re a cardamom lover then this cake is for you… if you’re not then I’d probably give it a miss as it is very intense but in the best of ways. As with my previous experience of baking from this book when I made ginger thins late last year I wasn’t 100% satisfied with the published recipe. This time around the method and ingredients seemed sound. The texture of the cake batter looked right going into the oven. The resulting cake was great but challenging. First up the actual texture of the cake was amazingly fluffy and light, a real winner. I did have to cook it for at least 30 minutes more than the recipe suggested though. That may be my oven, but it is something to look out for if you give it a go. The challenging part was probably as a result of the baking time. The topping turned into a fairly solid shell and as a result the cake was impossible to cut neatly. The shell shattered and was delicious, but not pretty as it ended up causing the soft cake below to disintegrate under the knife. This may seem perhaps like I’m being overly critical but I don’t think its unreasonable to expect that a pretty looking cake should still be able to be cut to share with others without it falling apart when you touch it.
My recommendation would actually be to skip the topping or perhaps halve the mix and skip the almonds, just using the spices and sugar for a bit of flavour. If you wanted something a little more than perhaps try mixing through a touch of threaded coconut as it would stay softer and hopefully then cut better. This cake would best suit a Sunday afternoon tea where the mess doesn’t matter. It would be divine with a cup of coffee or tea and some freshly cut orange segments on the table.
So not a complete loss at all, in fact I was really happy with the cake as such and wouldn’t hesitate to make that again on its own, hence me feeling that its well worth sharing with you all. The recipe below is as per the cookbook.
Country Cardamom Cake
from Under The Walnut Tree by Anna and Fanny Bergenstrom
- 225g plain flour
- 130g castor sugar
- 2 tbl sp coursely ground cardamom seeds
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 150g butter
- 200ml full fat milk
- a scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tbl sp castor sugar
- 1 tsp coarsely ground cardamom
- 75g almonds, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 190c. Prepare a 22cm round tin or a loaf tin by greasing and sifting with flour.
Measure out the flour, sugar, cardamom and baking powder into a big bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes straight from the fridge and rub into the flour mixture until it is almost all rubbed through, leaving just small crumbs of butter. Stir the milk in last of all.
Transfer the dough, it will be pretty sticky, to the cake tin and flatten out to make even. It doesn’t have to be perfect though, its okay if you have a slightly uneven surface. Sprinkle the spices and sugar onto the cake top and then finish off with the chopped almonds.
Bake in the middle of the oven for approx 35-40 minutes or until golden.
Allow to cool. This cake will keep for a few days in an airtight container.
Shared With Love,