This beautiful cake is bursting with the fragrant and light tastes of orange and cardamom and topped with my favourite tangy cream cheese icing. The flavours pair perfectly together, and with three layers, this cake is quite the showpiece.
Cardamom is a beautiful spice with its own unique taste. When too much of it is used it can completely over power a dish, adding a ‘soapy’ flavour, but when used correctly adds the most gorgeous balance to a dish. In this recipe I used 8 pods, which seemed like a lot to me, but didn’t over-powder the cake! If your cardamom is really fresh, add it little-by-little and taste to make sure it’s not over-powering.
Obviously, free-range or organic eggs are the best choice when buying eggs from a supermarket, but when making cakes, it’s important to use them if you want a gorgeous golden colour in your crumb.
In the past, I’ve struggled with cream cheese icing. The key is to have soft butter that has been kept at room temperature. When you beat it, there should be no lumps. If there are still lumps in the butter when you mix in the cream cheese, they won’t come out with extra beating. Instead, heat in the microwave in blasts of 20 seconds, and stir in between until the butter lumps melt. You will then have to wait until the mixture cools back down to room temperature to continue, or it will be too runny.
Orange and Cardamom Cake with Cream Cheese Icing
For the cake:
- 300 g butter (room temperature)
- 280 g caster sugar
- 250 g self raising flour
- 40 g corn flour
- 1½ tsp baking powder
- 4 free-range eggs
- zest 3 oranges
- juice ½ orange
- 8 cardamom pods
For the icing
- 360 g cream cheese (full fat)
- 175 g butter
- 200 g icing sugar
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp salt
For the cake:
Preheat over to 160 °C (fan).
Beat together the butter and sugar until they form a soft and creamy mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs together.
Sieve together the flour, corn flour and baking powder. Add to the butter and sugar mixture bit-by-bit with the egg until all are combined.
Add the zest of 3 oranges to the mixture, along with the juice of half an orange.
Open the cardamom pods with a sharp knife, and empty the small black seeds into mortar. Grind into a fine powder with a pestle. Add to the cake mixture and combine well.
Divide the cake batter between 3 x 7 inch cake rounds (greased/lined).
Bake in the oven for ~20 min.
Leave to cool fully before icing.
For the icing:
Using a hand mixer, beat the room temperature butter until it is soft and creamy and no lumps are visible.
Add the cream cheese and mix again.
Sieve in the icing sugar, and carefully incorporate.
Add the salt and vanilla extract and beat the mixture until it becomes a little thicker and fluffier.
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