Coffee + Cardamom Cake

Today, I bring you two of my favourite things - coffee and cardamom, and they complement each other beautifully.

Currently,  and for the last couple of months, cardamom has been a spice I'm very much obsessed with. I love it. It’s wonderfully fragrant and so versatile, lending its unforgettable flavour to both sweet and savoury dishes. In the Middle East, it’s quite common for cardamom to be ground with coffee beans to make a warming aromatic brew and so naturally I've brought them together in cake form. 

I see this as a bit of a sophisticated upgrade from the classic, almost retro, coffee and walnut cake. Classics are hard to beat but I believe there's always room for reinvention and modern interpretations. The cardamom in this cake really does elevate the whole thing and the creamy mascarpone filling becomes a bit more adult with a generous tablespoon (or two) of coffee liqueur.

I’ve used instant espresso powder in this recipe which you can find in most large supermarkets. Instant coffee granules work just as well if that's what you've got to hand and feel free to adjust the quantities if you'd prefer a more subtle caffeine hit.


R E C I P E
makes one 6inch cake
serves 6-8

200g Unsalted Butter
200g Caster Sugar
3 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
180g Plain Flour
1/4 tsp Salt
¾ tsp Ground Cardamom (from 8-10 pods)
1 ½ tsp Baking Powder
4 tsp Espresso Powder, dissolved in 50ml hot water and cooled

Filling
125g Mascarpone
2 tbsp Icing Sugar
150ml Double Cream
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
¼ tsp Espresso Powder
1 tbsp Kahlua (or any coffee liqueur)
Cocoa Powder, to dust

M E T H O D

Preheat Oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 6inch tins.
Beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add in eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cardamom.
Add in half of the flour and stir until combined. Pour in the cooled coffee and then add the rest of the flour.
Divide the batter evenly between the two tins and bake for 27-30 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.


Mix together the mascarpone and icing sugar in a small bowl until smooth.
In a separate bowl add in the cream, vanilla and espresso powder. Lightly whip until the cream thickens and just holds it’s shape. Be careful not to over whip it!
Stir the coffee liqueur into the double cream.
Carefully stir the cream into the mascarpone and use half to sandwich the cakes together, and the other half on top.
Dust with cocoa powder before serving.

 

Flatbreads with Lamb + Pickled Red Cabbage

This is the second recipe from my day spent over at Rye London and it turned into a great little lunch. 
Meals like this are favourites of mine - minimal fuss, full of flavour and easy to share. You can just put all the elements on the table and let everyone dig in and put their plates together. And for me, that's what food is all about - community and sharing.

Making your own bread can be so rewarding and is incredibly therapeutic. These flatbreads are especially easy to put together and are perfect if you've not got much breadmaking experience. They can be rustic as you like and after only one rise and a few minutes in a pan, they're ready to go.

For me, the star of the show has to be that pickled cabbage. If only for it's intensely beautiful colour! I am obsessed with it. Now, I am by no means an expert pickler, and there's definitely a wealth of much more technical recipes out there, but this is my quick and easy version which most importantly, tastes great. You can make a big batch well in advance and it'll keep for about 2 weeks.

This is such a versatile recipe and  I'll sometimes just use any leftover meats from a Sunday roast. So let your creativity take over and use whatever you've got.


R E C I P E

Flatbreads
350g Bread Flour
5g Instant Yeast
1 tsp Salt
160ml Lukewarm Water
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 1/2 tsp Black Onion Seeds

Pickled Cabbage
1/2 Head Red Cabbage
1 cup White Wine Vinegar
3 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tsp Black Pepper
2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Dried Chilli Flakes
1 tsp Caraway Seeds
3 Garlic Cloves, crushed
1 Bay Leaf

3-4 Lamb Leg Steaks (or any leftover meat)
Sea Salt
Black Pepper

Plain Yoghurt mixed with chopped fresh mint to serve

M E T H O D

To make the pickled cabbage,roughly slice and place into a large bowl. Mix together all the other ingredients, ensuring the sugar has dissolved before pouring over the cabbage. Leave sealed overnight or for at least 6 hours at room temperature.
 

For the flatbreads, place the flour in a large bowl and add the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Make a well in the centre and add in the water, oil and black onion seeds. Start incorporating the flour from the sides until you get a rough dough.  Knead for 6-10 minutes until the dough is soft and smooth.
Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about hour or until doubled in size.
Once risen, knock the air back and divide the dough equally into 8 balls. Use a rolling pin to roll out each piece into a circle about 2cm thick.
Melt a bit of butter in a frying pan and cook each flatbread for 1 to 2 minutes on each side over a medium heat.

Keep them warm in the oven until ready to serve.

Season the lamb with sea salt and black pepper and fry in a little oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. (Cook for a little longer if you want them well done) Let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

Serve by adding a dollop of the mint yoghurt to the bread before topping with cabbage and lamb.