Improv Challenge: Orange Cardamom Cake

This challenge seriously stumped me for quite some time. I’ve never cooked/baked with cardamom before so for the first time since I started participating in the Improv Challenge I didn’t even have an inkling of what to make.

I usually try to go outside of the box and make something less common for the challenges but not being familiar with cardamom put a damper on that as well. Then, while going through the Cooking Light website for something else completely different, I saw the link for this Orange and Cardamom cake. Not only was it perfect because it was the exact ingredients I needed, but also because I have a very underused bundt pan.

I waited until the weekend before the challenge to make this cake because silly me thought we had cardamom in the spice rack. So while making my grocery list for the week, I checked and found that while we have other spices I’m never going to use (I’m looking at you caraway) there was no cardamom.

I first checked for it at the local grocery store. When I didn’t find it on the shelf with the other McCormick spices, I hesitantly looked over at the Gourmet Selection brand of spices which are usually triple the price. And there, nestled between the caraway and cayenne sat the cardamom. For a whopping $17.49 per tiny jar.

A few minutes later, I recovered from my near heart attack in the spice aisle and headed over to the Amish market in hopes they had a cheaper selection for me.

Not so much, but I was able to convince the nice Amish lady to split container of it for me so I only had to pay $6.

Orange and Cardamom Cake
Source: Cooking Light, December 2007
Yield: 1 cake
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    • cooking spray
    • 3 cups + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour, divided
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 3/4 tsp. ground cardamom
    • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice
    • 2/3 cup canola oil
    • 1 tbsp.  orange zest
    • 2 tsp. lemon zest
    • 1 tsp. vanilla
    • 3 eggs
    • Glaze:
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 4 1/2 tsp. fresh orange juice
    • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray then dust with the 1 tablespoon of flour. Set aside.
3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamon, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl.
4. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add in the orange juice, canola oil, orange zest, lemon zest, vanilla and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed until fully incorporated.
5. Spoon batter into the prepared bundt pan and spread evenly. Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Let cake cool in the bundt pan for 5 minutes. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and place a wire rack on top. Invert cake onto wire rack.
7. Whisk together glaze ingredients in a small bowl and pour over cake.

Do you have certain smells that will trigger a memory? I opened the container of cardamom and took a tentative sniff and was instantly transported back to being maybe 3 years old. My mom had found a scratch and sniff Christmas book for me and one of the items to scratch was an orange. It smelled just like cardamom. I remember a peppermint candy cane and a pine tree smell as well, but my favorite was always the orange. I stood there for a few minutes just savoring the smell of the cardamom.

As you can see from my cake, glaze and I don’t always get along so well, but the cake was still amazing without it. I thought it would be dense but it was surprisingly light and fluffy and that wonderful orange spice smell of the cardamom wafted up to me with every bite.

I now want to make all the things with cardamom. It smells so good! Can I buy it in candle form?

No Comments

  1. Ah… to have a slice of that along with my mid-morning cuppa…

  2. Target. Target sells it in a pretty good sized jar for a good price. Because that's where I buy it, I didn't realize it was so expensive or hard to find.

    Your cake looks fantastic. Orange and cardamom is a classic combination in cakes and other baked goods.

  3. I didn't even think to look there! I'll check on my next visit.

  4. Do you live anywhere near a Penzey's? That's where I get all of my spices. They have every spice and herb you could ever imagine (and lots you've prob never even heard of!) and many times they are cheaper than the grocery store varieties. I think a small jar of cardamom is only about $8 there. Glad you found some though! Your cake looks delicious and I agree that cardamom smells amazing. I would buy the candle too!

  5. Thanks! I don't have one nearby, but I've ordered online before. I'll check my local Target and probably Wegman's to see what they have, but I never turn down a chance to order cooking/baking items. 🙂

  6. Yum, this cake looks great!

  7. We would just love your Orange Cardamom Cake. Thanks so much for sharing your great recipe with Full Plate Thursday and enjoy your Thanksgiving week!
    Come Back Soon
    Miz Helen

  8. I love bundt cakes! This orange cardamom version sounds bright and fragrant. What a great use of the ingredients this month!

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