It’s no secret that one of my favorite spices for desserts is cardamom. It instantly gives dishes that distinct flavor that reminds me of Indian sweets. Successfully combining it with pound cake was a stroke of good luck on my part.
Pound cake is the type of cake that you can have at breakfast, as an afternoon snack, or before bedtime. There’s something about the texture and sweetness that lessens the guilt of indulging in the dessert at an unconventional time. I’ve made this cake multiple times and have slowly adapted it each time to suit my tastes.
I absolutely love how the flavor of the cake negates a need for sugary sweet frosting. The crunch of toasted almonds coating the cake gives the right amount of texture variation as you enjoy a slice. And, it reminds me of another childhood favorite treat, naankhatai. This inspired me to add saffron and nutmeg to the cake with amazing results. The blend of these delicate flavors provides the perfect balance of Indian inspired flavors to a traditional American cake base.
A crucial step in the process of making this cake is beating the butter and sugar at high speed for 5 minutes. This incorporates more air into the batter to allow for a better rise in the cake. Pound cake is denser than a traditional moist cake, and doing this will help you obtain a lighter texture to the cake compared to simply mixing the butter and sugar until combined. I usually buy my creme fraiche from Trader Joe’s (not sponsored). The quality is great and it’s affordable compared to other alternatives.
When you are baking the cake, make sure to put your cake tester through the crack that forms in the center. I’ve made the mistake of assuming my cake was done, only to find the center was still undercooked and raw. Additionally, I bake in a glass loaf dish, which may increase the baking time compared to an alternative option. Some argue that a pound cake with a crack in the center has risen too quickly, but I think the center crack gives the cake character. Plus, the longer baking time allows for a more golden and crisp crust, with a moist center.
This cardamom pound cake is the perfect cake to slice and serve at a brunch or tea party. It can be made 1-2 days in advance if stored correctly in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap.Print
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- pinch of saffron
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup butter (1.5 sticks), room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs, room temperature
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds, unsalted
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 9x5x3 inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg, and saffron. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, whisk creme fraiche until smooth. Add in milk and vanilla extract and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on high speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low, and add eggs one at a time, mixing until just combined.
- Continuing on low speed, add one third of dry ingredients to mixer, alternating with creme fraiche blend in 2 additions. you will have a total of 3 additions of dry ingredients, starting and ending with them. Be sure to only mix until ingredients are combined, avoiding over-mixing.
- Pour batter into loaf pan and smooth top. Coat with sliced almonds, gently pressing almonds into batter to help them stick.
- Bake on middle rack for 60-70 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center crack comes out clean
- Let cool in pan for 15 minutes.
- Remove from pan and set on rack to cool for 2-3 hours.
- Once cool, slice and store in airtight container for up to one week. To retain moisture, slice only as needed.
Monitor your bake time starting at 50 minutes. I bake in a glass baking dish, resulting in a longer baking time