Baking with cardamom

LUSK – I always find it fascinating how recipes and food have changed as our culture changes. Ingredients come and go in trendiness and availability. Cardamom seems to be one of those ingredients. Extremely common and used often in the 19th century, it seems to have gradually faded in the cookbooks as the 20th and now 21st centuries progressed. 

Cardamom is a member of the ginger family and is harvested in pods which are then toasted and or ground into the spice form most people are familiar with. Though used quite extensively in Asian, Middle Eastern and African food, you often don’t find it in recipes made in the U.S.

Between my love of vintage and antique recipes and my love of cardamom we use it, a lot, at my house. I wanted to share a few recipes that use this spice. As always with spices, if you can freshly grind it, the flavor is superior and any spice that has been open for more than eight months should be replaced. Enjoy these recipes using my favorite spice, cardamom!

Buttermilk cookies with brown
butter cardamom glaze

These cookies are fluffy, soft and not overly sweet. The combination of baking soda, baking powder and buttermilk combines to provide a rising action. Do not over bake and you must leave them on the cookie sheets 8-10 minutes cooling, so they don’t fall apart.

3 eggs

1/2 cup white sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup shortening

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cardamom


6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons ground cardamom

1 cup powdered sugar

pinch of salt

heavy cream as needed

Pre-heat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt to combine. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and vanilla to combine. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the shortening and sugars on medium speed until fluffy, scraping down the sides as necessary.

Reduce the speed to medium-low and add in the eggs one at a time, mixing just until combined before adding the next.

Scrape down the sides and slowly pour in the buttermilk mixture. Reduce the mixer to low and add the flour mixture in three additions. Scrape down the sides and mix for a few seconds longer just until a few streaks of flour remains.

Drop 2 tablespoonfuls of dough onto the prepared baking sheets, spacing 2-inches apart. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes, just until the edges are golden brown. Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely. Repeat with the remaining dough.

To make the glaze: melt butter in a pan and gently swirl pan as butter begins to bubble and sizzle. Heat just until sediment begins to form in the bottom of the pan and the butter is a golden brown. Watch very carefully as the butter will quickly burn. As soon as the butter is desired brown color immediately pour through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Combine powdered sugar, salt and cardamom and pour butter over this. Use heavy cream to obtain desired consistency and then drizzle over cooled cookies.

Cardamom Cake

If you are a fan of Anne of Green Gables you probably remember the mention of Cardamom cake. Most of the recipes for this cake originate in Scandinavia and this one is specifically Swedish. This makes sense for Prince Edward Island where Anne of Green Gables takes place. This is one of my family’s favorite tea/coffee time treats. 

Butter for greasing

1 tbsp dried breadcrumbs

1 1/3 cups butter, softened

1⅔ cups caster (superfine) sugar

4 eggs

2½ cups plain flour

3 tsp baking powder

5 tsp freshly ground cardamom

1 cup milk (I use buttermilk when I have it)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a Bundt pan grease and sprinkled with dried breadcrumbs

Cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy, about 3 minutes on a moderate speed using an electric beater. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and ground cardamom and then fold into the mixture.

Mix in the milk and then carefully pour into the prepared Bundt, trying to avoid creating any air pockets. Tap the pan to remove any air bubbles and then tilt the pan gently, so that the batter runs up the sides.

Bake for about an hour until it is golden brown, just beginning to pull away from the side of the Bundt and a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the Bundt for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Oatmeal cardamom pancakes

Just make these. Even if you aren’t an oatmeal fan. Trust me. These will become a go-to breakfast and snack. They make awesome peanut butter sandwiches and are divine with honey on them!

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cardamom

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup milk or buttermilk, plus more as needed

1 cup cooked oatmeal, made with rolled oats

1 large egg

Unsalted butter, for the skillet

Preheat the oven to 200°F. Warm a large skillet over a medium flame. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Separately, whisk together the egg with the milk until foamy. Using a wooden spoon, mash the oatmeal into the milk and egg mixture until incorporated.

Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. This batter is a little thicker than a straightforward pancake batter. However, if it’s too thick, you can thin it out with a little more milk in 1 tablespoon increments. Melt about 1/2 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Using a 1/4 cup measure, add the pancake batter in batches of about three.

Cook the pancakes until bubbles begin to form on the surface, about 4-5 minutes. Flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Repeat with remaining batter, re-greasing skillet as needed. Place the cooked pancakes on a plate and keep warm in the oven.



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