Thursday, 14 May 2015

Cardamom cake

For me, the perfect cake to have with coffee is a simple one and this might just be the best. Cardamom's flavour suggests a market in south Asia but the origins of this recipe are further north in Scandinavia, where the ritual of coffee and cake has a name (fika) and a place in the culture. This butter cake is simple and sweet, lightly tangy with lemon and fragrant with cardamom. Though you can absolutely use the spice ready ground (if you do, maybe use half the amount) the seeds, crushed lightly in a mortar and pestle, look beautiful flecked through the crumb of the cake. Its burnished gold exterior and brown sugar warmth make it extra lovely at this time of year, eaten in the (almost) winter sun.

Cardamom cake
Adapted from Fika by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall

The best way to grease Bundt or kugelhopf tins is with melted butter, applied with either a pastry brush or with your fingers. Dust with flour to make sure it's evenly coated. 

10 1/2 tablespoons (5.25oz / 148g) unsalted butter
3 eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup (1.88oz / 53g) firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 cup (3.75oz / 106g) flour
3 tablespoons lemon juice
4 teaspoons whole cardamom seeds, crushed
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (5.25oz / 148g) sugar

Preheat oven to 350 deg F (175 deg C). Grease and flour a Bundt tin.

In a saucepan, melt the butter. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Separate eggs. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the brown sugar til frothy. Pour the slightly cooled butter into the egg yolk and sugar mixture and whisk together a little longer. Sift the flour, then stir it carefully into the batter along with the cardamom, lemon juice, and salt. Stirring as little as possible, work the ingredients together til you get a smooth, even batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk egg whites. When soft peaks form, add the sugar little by little. Whisk til soft peaks form. Carefully fold the sugar and egg white mixture into the batter and keep folding til the batter is evenly blended. Be careful not to overstir. Pour directly into Bundt pan.

Bake for 40-45 minutes. The cake is done when a knife or toothpick comes out clean when inserted at the thickest part of the cake. If the cake starts to get a golden brown colour earlier (which can happen after 20 minutes), remove it from the oven, cover it with foil and put back in the oven. This will preven the top of the cake from burning.

Remove cake from oven and let cool for a bit before inverting it onto a plate.

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