Cardamom Redux

It’s always interesting to go back to something that almost worked, if it showed enough potential.

And it helps if you have some idea of what you might be able to do to fix it, though I have discovered there are often surprises.

I took the chance this week with the carrot and cardamom cake I made quite badly a few weeks ago. Despite my many mistakes, the wonderful flavours of the cake shone through and I knew it deserved another go.

My first effort was gooey, undercooked and heavy. The icing was lumpy.

I was pretty sure most of the issues were mine rather than the recipe’s, but you never really know until you explore the possibilities.

I have listed the recipe again below, explaining what I did better this time – the oil, the container, the temperature.

The result was a complete triumph.

The size and texture of the cake were so different to my last effort that I suspect I also made some major ingredient mistake last time – like missing 100g of the flour or the carrot or something – on top of the issues I identified originally. Evidence includes the fact that despite being in a bigger pan, the cake was actually quite a bit thicker this time, so clearly I missed something!

The much improved second version of the cake.
The much improved second version of the cake.

Carrot & cardamom cake

On highest setting, use electric whisk to beat, for about 5 minutes:
225ml oil (I used olive oil this time, the plain kind not EVOO, which I thought might have a too strong flavour).
310g caster sugar (I used raw caster)

Keep beating while you add:
170g grated carrot (I had a little more than this, 190g)
3 eggs (one by one), then:
240g plain flour
1 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp crushed cardamom seeds (this is an increase in the amount of all the spices over the original recipe)
1 tsp bicarb (rounded tsp)
1 tsp baking powder (rounded tsp)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix well, then add:
40g chopped walnuts

Grease a 9-inch cake tin (not 8-inch, like last time) and pour in the batter. Cook at 200C for 30-35 minutes. It wasn’t cooked through so I cooked it for a total of 43 minutes in the end, with the extra 8 minutes done on a lower temperature because a couple of the top edges had burned slightly. I cut those off before icing it.

This time, without any sag in the middle.
This time, without any sag in the middle.

Leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, and then put it on a rack to cool completely.


220g cream cheese (I used low-fat Philadelphia)
100g butter (this is half what the recipe asked for)
180g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon

Blend well and chill before putting on the cake.

Once again, the original recipe comes from The New Nordic by Simon Bajada.

Verdict: Magnificent.

Corinna Hente



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