cardamom cake for the polar vortex.

January 28, 2014

cardamom cake cardamomcake5246 I’m working on a story for Gardenista this week that features cardamom and I’ll admit I’ve kept my little glass jar of the pods next to my computer as I’ve typed.

Cardamom as muse, you might say.

This weekend, I couldn’t resist the temptation any longer, so I put my computer away and hauled out the mortar and pestle instead, grinding the pale green pods until they popped and then working away at the fragrant insides. To continue the muscle toning, I took out the citrus reamer and squeezed the juice from four oranges.

The end result was more or less a gigantic doughnut—the good old-fashioned kind with a fragrant citrusy note and enough cardamom to scent the apartment for the week. We ate it for dessert and then again for breakfast, as is the requirement with a cake like this.

Cardamom Orange Cake
adapted—hilariously— from Cooking Light.


3 cups all-purpose flour (plus enough to flour your pan)
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup orange juice (I juiced 4 oranges and added a few tablespoons of water)
2/3 cup canola oil (plus enough to coat your bundt pan)
2 tablespoons orange rind
1 tablespoon lemon rind
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 350°

2. Coat a Bundt pan with canola oil and dust with flour. Set aside.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the mixture and add orange juice, canola oil, orange and lemon rind, vanilla and eggs. Beat with a mixer on low (or, not too aggressively, by hand) until combined.

4. Spoon batter into your floury cake pan, spreading evenly. Bake for 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 or so minutes. If the cake doesn’t slide out easily on its own, give it a good thwack on the counter and it should.

5. Wait until the cake is entirely cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar (if you’re into sweet things, the original recipe calls for a citrus glaze…follow the link above).

I’m offering this cake up virtually to all of you who have written me sweet notes in the past week and who are still waiting patiently to receive some of my own in response. And to Pete, who gave me the soundtrack of my childhood and the courage to believe that peace is possible.

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  • Reply Anonymous January 28, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    Thank you very much for your great recipe! this weekend is the birthday of one of my great friends, this will be a delightful gift,for sure!!

  • Reply Jessica January 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm

    I am now sitting at my desk salivating and hoping that none of my students notice. It's too bad my live-in chef (aka my fiance) left town on a business trip this morning!

  • Reply My Little Bungalow January 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

    I must try this cake. Cardamom is an awesome spice. I just bought some the other day from the bulk spices section at Whole Foods. Even through its plastic bag I can smell the heady aroma. I planned to make a simple spiced carrot cake with it, and now I'm going to add your cardamom orange cake to the list. Thanks!

  • Reply Emma January 28, 2014 at 7:05 pm

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I've been looking for a decent cardamom cake recipe for ages. I'll try this one out tomorrow night for dessert 🙂

  • Reply astanoch January 28, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you for posting this!!! So excited to make it. By orange and lemon rine, do you mean zest?

    • Reply Erin January 28, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      Yup! I zested the outermost edge of the rind of both fruits.

  • Reply kari January 28, 2014 at 8:46 pm

    I have a soft spot for cardamom. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Reply Brooke January 29, 2014 at 1:17 am

    Yeah….this definitely sounds amazing. Cardamom is such an amazing spice and now I'm desperately wanting this cake. Thanks for that. Haha

  • Reply Christine January 29, 2014 at 4:09 am

    This looks delicious!! I personally believe that cardamom is one of the most underrated spices of all time, but it is so delicious.

  • Reply mustardseedhope January 29, 2014 at 4:14 am

    yum! thank you. stay warm!

  • Reply Swissrose January 29, 2014 at 6:21 am

    I will have to try this – I have often made a coffee-cardamom cake, since my BIL doesn't do fruit in any form, and that is delicious, too (from The Flavour Thesaurus, which you would really enjoy!).

  • Reply An January 29, 2014 at 12:56 pm

    YUM! can't wait to try. Thanks!

  • Reply Amanda January 29, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    This looks so tasty. I just bought some cardamom for a chia pudding recipe and have been wanting some other ways to use it before it loses it's yumminess. Very timely!

  • Reply Kristen Y January 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    This looks delicious! I live in Chicago and it is freezing! I could definitely go for some warm fresh-out-of-the-oven cake! Hope you're staying warm!

  • Reply Colleen / Inspired to Share January 30, 2014 at 2:12 am

    I LOVE cardamom…this sounds delicious!

  • Reply Sophia moreno-bunge January 30, 2014 at 4:10 am

    What a beautiful cake! I made some mini cakes with cardamom this week too…It's so taaaastey!

  • Reply dervla @ the curator February 4, 2014 at 4:27 pm

    wahooo i have oranges for this cake! Definitely doing it this weekend. Cardamom completes me.

  • Reply Anne-Charlotte February 12, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Looks amazing and I am sure it is delicious!

  • Reply Tawny January 14, 2015 at 9:13 pm

    Cardamom and oranges. Mmmmmmmm…

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