Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cardamom Cake with Eggnog Buttercream

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake RecipesThis cake has been on my mind for quite a while, but with my weekly pie project the last few weeks, I haven't been baking as many cakes lately.  But I really wanted to post this recipe in plenty of time before Christmas, and I had bought eggnog specifically for using in the buttercream (and to drink, too, of course), so I dropped my other baking projects and set about mixing up cake batter and buttercream.

Cardamom is a spice that I think is a bit overlooked this time of year, with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger, and sometimes allspice, taking center stage in our fall and winter baking.  But it's a really wonderful, warm fragrant spice that is so good in both sweet and savory dishes.  It's used in curry dishes, Chai tea spices and in Scandinavian breads and pastries.  In fact, one of the countries that uses the most cardamom is Sweden, where they use the spice to season everything from meatloaf to baked goods.  The next time I make meatloaf, I'm going to try adding a pinch of cardamom.

My mom tells me that my grandpa used to say that having a taste for cardamom is in our blood and not a taste that can be acquired (my family is from Denmark).  I don't know if that's true or not - I think many tastes are acquired throughout our whole lives - but I've always felt like my Danish heritage explains my love of almond-flavored pastries and cakes.  Here's an interesting article with a few facts about the spice.  For reference, I used ground black cardamom in today's recipe.  I don't think I even knew there were so many varieties!  I can't say that I've ever seen ground white cardamom, but I'm going to be on the lookout for it now to compare its flavor to what I've always used.






Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes




The cake is a buttermilk and brown sugar cake that's incredibly moist and light.  Since it's oil-based (instead of butter-based), the crumb is very soft, light and fluffy.  In addition to the cardamom, I added a little espresso powder and nutmeg, which I thought would complement the cardamom nicely; I steeped the spices in the buttermilk for a while before mixing it into the cake, to really infuse the cake with flavor.

For the buttercream, I added eggnog, vanilla and a pinch of extra nutmeg to my buttercream, whipping it until extremely light and fluffy, and it was just the perfect flavor to pair with the spiced cake.

Don't have a taste for cardamom?  Use the spice blend in this Spice Cake recipe - it'll be wonderful with the eggnog buttercream, and so perfect for a Christmas cake.





Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes

Cardamom Spice Cake with Eggnog Buttercream, Spice Cake, Eggnog Cake, Christmas Cake, Cake Decorating, Cake Photography, Winter Desserts, Christmas Desserts, Christmas Cake Recipes





Baking Notes:
  1. You should let all your dairy ingredients (including eggs and buttermilk) warm up to room temperature, which makes for a better cake batter.
  2. You can make this cake using all-purpose flour instead of cake flour, however, the cake flour makes a much lighter and more tender cake that is just heavenly.
  3. If you don't have buttermilk, pour 1 1/2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar into a liquid measuring cup, then add whole milk up to the 1 3/4 cups line.  Warm in the microwave on high for one minute to curdle the milk.  You don't need to let it cool, and can add it to your batter while it's warm.
  4. Note that I live at high altitude (5,000 feet), so my recipes are created for high altitude.  Don't let that deter you from trying them if you live at sea level!  Please be sure to review this post and this post for all my baking tips and FAQs before baking.
  5. The buttercream recipe makes enough buttercream for the piping design shown here, but if you just want to frost the cake more simply without the piping, you can scale the recipe down to 3/5 of the amounts below: 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, 3 cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon meringue powder, 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/8 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt, 1/3 cup eggnog, 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla.
  6. To make this piping design on your cake, first stack and fill the cake layers, then frost all over with a thin crumb coat of the buttercream.  Chill the crumb-coated cake in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.  Frost the top of the cake with a final layer of buttercream.  Use a sharp knife to lightly score the cake with vertical lines around the sides of the cake, to mark where you will start and stop your piped swags.  Fit a piping bag with a large open star tip (Wilton #1M), and fill with buttercream.  Starting at the bottom, pipe swags around the sides of the cake, starting and stopping at your scored lines.  Work your way up the cake until the sides of the cake are covered.

Cardamom Cake with Eggnog Buttercream
printable


Cake.
  • 1 3/4 cups whole buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder or instant coffee
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 3/4 cups dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
Buttercream.
  • 2 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons meringue powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup eggnog
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cake.
Preheat the oven to 350 and spray the bottoms of three 8-inch round cake pans with non-stick spray.

In a small saucepan, bring the buttermilk just to a simmer.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cardamom, espresso powder and nutmeg.  Let steep for about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the spiced buttermilk, brown sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk by hand for about 1 minute, just until smooth and mostly lump-free.

Divide the batter between the pans and bake on the middle oven rack for about 22-25 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean and the center of the cake springs back when lightly touched.  Set the cake pans on a wire rack, cover loosely with a clean kitchen towel, and cool completely before frosting.

Buttercream.
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the butter for one minute until smooth.  With the mixer on low, add the powdered sugar, meringue powder, salt and nutmeg, and mix just to combine.  Add the eggnog and vanilla, and beat on medium high for about 4-5 minutes, scraping the bowl occasionally, until very light and fluffy.

Frost the cooled cake using the instructions noted in the baking tips above.

Recipe from Curly Girl Kitchen

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