Anyway, it all combines into a lovely, temptingly spiced cake which goes down a treat with a cup of coffee. If you can, use whole cardamom pods and crush the seeds yourself - the flavour will be so much better.
Cardamom & Coconut Cake
You will need:
For the cake:
- 200g butter, softened
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 free-range eggs
- 250g self-raising flour
- 10 cardamom pods
- 1 tbsp creamed coconut, grated
- 1 tbsp milk
For the coconut filling:
- 60g creamed coconut, grated
- 20g butter, softened
- 3 tbsp icing sugar
- 1 tbsp creme fraiche or plain yoghurt
For the sugar syrup:
- 3 tbsp vanilla sugar (or caster sugar and a few drops vanilla essence)
- 5 cardamom pods
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Grease and line a 23cm, 9 inch deep cake tin.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Beat the eggs in a separate bowl.
- Add a quarter of the eggs, along with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well. Repeat with rest of the eggs, beating well in between.
- Using a pestle and mortar, bash the cardamom pods to split them open, then scrape out the seeds. Discard the husks and grind the seeds into powder. (Or you could bash the pods with a rolling pin or similar and grind the seeds in a clean coffee or spice grinder).
- Add to the mixture, along with the tablespoon of grated creamed coconut and stir to combine.
- Add the flour in thirds, folding in lightly in between. When the flour is just incorporated and no streaks are showing, gently stir in the tablespoon of milk.
- Dollop into the tin, smooth over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden and risen, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Grate the creamed coconut into a clean bowl.
- Add 2-3 tablespoons of hot water and stir until it reaches a paste-like consistency.
- Soften the butter until almost melting, then add, along with the icing sugar and beat well.
- When combined, add the spoonful of creme fraiche and stir to combine.
- Bash the cardamom pods open and grind in the same way as before.
- Place in a small saucepan, along with the vanilla sugar with 4 tablespoons of hot water.
- Bring to a simmer and reduce over a medium heat until the consistency thickens. BE CAREFUL because hot sugar is HOT.
- When the cake is out of the oven, prick holes all over the surface with a skewer and spoon on the sugar syrup so that it all soaks in. Leave for a few minutes before turning out of the tin and leaving to cool on a wire rack.
- When completely cool, carefully cut the cake in two.
- Spoon the coconut filling onto the bottom half, spreading out to the edge, then sandwich the other half back on top.
- Decorate with icing sugar and eat, feeling warmly smug and nostalgic.