January 8, 2012

there s chocolate, and then there s cardamom

for Christmas, i received the Hummingbird Bakery Cake Days cookery, well baking actually, book from my son. as you can imagine, i was over the moon and decided to make their malted chocolate cupcakes as a dessert for New Year s Eve dinner.

they so worked a treat, and although i sometimes find that instructions in cookery books can be faulty, this one delivered!


and then i caught a cold... and have been sniffling for the past week. and Sam caught it too. so we ve been sniffling together.

the stormy weather didn t help either.

yesterday though, we were so tired of being cooped up inside, that we went on a day-trip to Zeeland, hoping to get our colds driven out by the stiff breeze of the Oosterschelde.

it worked... well, a little.

this morning i woke up determined to make a cake from the first Hummingbird Bakery book (because of course i couldn t wait for my next birthday to come along so i could get that as a gift again... and i d went and bought this one, he he he...)

thinking i might as well use up the buttermilk i d used in the cupcakes, i wanted to make a simple buttermilk cake.

nothing easier than a simple cake, right?


there was nothing wrong with the recipe. nothing at all. it made for a lighter batter, and even said that i could add fruits or nuts and it would work. i had some apples left so i thought i might add those, and i have something with cardamom these days.

however, i guess my cold was still influencing my judgment, and it was still pretty early this morning (as if that s an excuse) but i pre-heated the oven to 130°C instead of 170°C!?!

stupid, stupid, stupid...

it was only after 50 minutes, way over the time suggested in the book, that i realized the cake was not rising properly, and then i noticed the temperature knob of the oven was turned too low!


could i rescue this one?

not quite, as you can see here

sunk quite a bit, huh?

but it tastes great, and i m thinking it s the cardamom. there s something about cardamom that saves the day anytime. that little bit of the exotic, that little hint of something elusive, i love it.

and it works in this cake, even though it doesn t quite look the part (it actually really looks like a cake i would ve baked way back when, ha ha)

(adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)


120 gr butter, softened
330 gr fine white caster sugar
3 whole eggs
200 gr plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
120 ml buttermilk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large apple, cut into smallish pieces
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1. preheat the oven to 170°C (NOT 130°C!!!) and prepare a loaf tin of 13x23cm by either lining with baking parchment or buttering and flouring
2. beat the butter and sugar together until light and pale
3. add the eggs one by one and beat in well
4. sieve the flour together with the baking soda, salt, cardamom and cinnamon
5. add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar/egg mixture alternating with the buttermilk
6. mix in well
7. flour the apple pieces and fold into the batter
8. pour the cake mixture into your tin and bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the center is springy to the touch. for extra certainty you might want to insert a wooden skewer in the middle and if that comes out clean, your cake is done
9. leave to cool in the tin for about ten minutes and then turn out to cool completely on a rack

next time, i promise, this one will come out PURR-fect!

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