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.

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

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


Preheat Oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line two 6inch tins.
Beat together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add in the 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.

Beat  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.