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  • Writer's pictureFaffy

Vanilla and Cardamom Cake with Orange icing

So I absolutely love the spice Cardamom. I love the smell and I have used it in countless savoury recipes but I had never baked anything sweet with it. Cardamom is so rarely used for sweet recipes and the only common example I can think of are the incredible Swedish Cardamom buns which I adore. However, I did not have the time or the energy to attempt these just yet so I searched online for a simple cake and I found this lovely recipe for a Vanilla and Cardamom cake from The English Kitchen blog. I gave it a go and I was pretty pleased with the results.

Skip to the end for the recipe

Cardamom spice

Cardamom is such a lovely aromatic spice. The recipe I was following mentioned using 1/2 a teaspoon of cardamom to give a subtle flavour but I decided if I was baking a cardamom based cake I wanted a proper cardamom hit so I doubled this to a full teaspoon.

Prepping your cardamom.

Cardamom seeds are found in pods, therefore you need to split the pods open to release these glorious little black seeds. The seeds can then be grounded up using a pestle and mortar to give you the ground cardamom that you need for this recipe. Freshly crushed cardamom smells fantastic.

Making your cake

After you have your ground cardamom your ready to start prepping your make your cake batter. Like any cake recipe you want to make sure your butter is at room temperature to allow you to have the best chance of properly incorporating all your ingredients enabling you to have the lightest and fluffiest possible sponge. This recipe is a basic sponge recipe, where you cream the butter and sugar, add your vanilla and cardamom flavour, followed by eggs and then your dry ingredients. The only extra detail with this recipe is that milk is also added to the cake batter along with the dry ingredients. Bake!

Orange icing

This cake is quite simple and basic therefore the icing is a critical addition to making sure this cake really bangs. Start by combining your butter and sifted icing sugar together, along with the grated orange zest, ground cardamom and vanilla extract. Once they are incorporated add your fresh orange juice to create a thick paste that is easy to spread. Start by adding 1 tablespoon of juice, then add as much juice as is required to give you a spreadable icing. Spread the icing liberally on the cake and enjoy!


I really enjoyed making this cake and it is the perfect simple cake to go with a hot cup of tea on a weekday. This cake is not a dinner party cake but one for an chilled gathering with friends or family. The cardamom flavour really shines through here and gave me that cardamom hit that I was craving. I loved it. If I was to change one thing in this recipe I would swap out the milk for either sour cream or buttermilk to give the cake a bit more moisture but I think I am just being picky. Bake the cake and let me know what you think!

Check out my other bakes:

Vanilla and Cardamom cake with Orange icing recipe

Serves 12,

Prep:15 mins, Bake: 45 mins


For the cake batter:

  • 200 g Unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 170 g Caster sugar

  • 2 tsp Vanilla extract

  • 1 tsp Ground cardamom

  • 3 Large eggs, lightly beaten

  • 185 g Self raising flour

  • 110 g Plain flour

  • 125 ml Milk

For the icing:

  • 155 g Icing sugar, sifted

  • 1/4 tsp Ground cardamom

  • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extra

  • Zest of 1 orange

  • 22 g Unsalted butter, room temperature

  • Orange juice (1 Tbsp or more)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 160°C Fan/Gas mark 4. Butter a 23 cm cake tin and line the bottom with baking paper.

  2. Cream together the butter and sugar

  3. Add the cardamom and vanilla extract and mix

  4. Add the lightly beaten eggs one at a time. Making sure each one is incorporated before adding the next.

  5. Sieve together the self raising and plain flour.

  6. Fold in some of the flour mix, then add some milk. Alternate until you have added all the flour and milk.

  7. Transfer the cake batter to your prepared cake tin

  8. Bake in the oven for 45 mins

  9. Once baked, leave the cake in the tin for at least 10 mins before removing and make sure the cake is completely cooled before icing.

  10. To make the icing combine the butter and sifted icing sugar, then add the vanilla extract, ground cardamom and orange zest

  11. Now add the orange juice, starting with 1 tablespoon, then add what is required to get to a thick but spreadable consistency

  12. Spread on your cake and enjoy!


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