Years ago, I briefly dated a guy whose family was from Sweden. One of my best memories from that relationship was this cake. He baked me a version of it from an old family recipe and it completely swept me off my feet. I had never tasted a dessert that utilized a spice that I’d only had in savory dishes. Cardamom is extremely popular in Sweden, they eat about 60x the amount of cardamom there than in the US, and after you taste this cake you’ll see why. It’s just the right amount sweet and is great with coffee.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetite‘s Cardamom Pound Cake
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter, soft (1.5 sticks)
- 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom (Or use freshly ground whole cardamom pods! I recommend this extra step, it makes a big difference.)
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup honey roasted sliced almonds (we like the ones from Trader Joe’s!)
- 2 cups unbleached white flour plus more for dusting
Lemon/cardamom whipped cream (optional):
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- zest of 1/2 lemon
- pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter a 9x5x3” loaf pan; line bottom and long sides with a strip of parchment paper, leaving overhang. Butter parchment and dust pan with flour, tapping out any excess. Whisk baking powder, cardamom, salt, and 2 cups flour in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk milk and ½ cup crème fraîche in a small bowl and set aside.
Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat sugar and ¾ cup butter in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating to blend between additions and occasionally scraping down sides and bottom of bowl with a spatula, then add vanilla and almond extracts.
Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with crème fraîche mixture in 2 additions, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Beat just until combined. Scrape batter into prepared pan, smooth the top, and then sprinkle with sliced almonds.
Bake cake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 55–65 minutes.
Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool in pan 15 minutes.
If you want to serve the cake with cardamom lemon whipped cream, use a chilled bowl and beaters to whip the cream, sugar, cardamom, lemon zest, and salt on medium until soft peaks form. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate. If you make it ahead of time, give the whipped cream a quick whip with a hand whisk right before serving.