When my husband and I were recently out for dinner, we shared a mini chocolate cake with Turkish coffee ice cream for dessert. It took a moment or two for us to realize the cake was infused with cardamom. Interesting. I had often paired cinnamon and ginger with chocolate, but had never thought about cardamom. I've had other sweet treats with cardamom before -mostly from a local Scandinavian bakery and I've made a panna cotta with this warm spice, so naturally I had to recreate this lovely chocolate cake at home.
Cardamom is a peppery, citrusy spice, common in Indian food and is a close relative to cinnamon and ginger; and like these spices, it's loaded with health benefits. Just to name a few, it's an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, aids digestion and detoxification, and if it couldn't get any better, it's also an aphrodisiac.
I loosely based this recipe on my recently posted Nigella's chocolate olive oil cake. I cut the sugar in half and made a few other adjustments that my taste testing family approved of. With the warmth of the cardamom, this cake will make a wonderful accompaniment to the pumpkin pies on your Thanksgiving dessert table.
6 Tablespoons good quality cocoa powder (unsweetened)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1 cup ground almonds or almond flour/almond meal
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane juice which is an unrefined, unbleached sugar)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for greasing pan)
powdered sugar for dusting
1.) Heat oven to (325 F). Grease a (9-inch) spring form pan with a little oil and line base with parchment paper cut out in a circle to fit.
2). Measure and sift cocoa powder and espresso powder into a bowl and whisk in boiling water until you have a smooth, chocolaty, still runny (but only just) paste. Whisk in vanilla, then set aside to cool a little.
3.) In another small bowl, combine almond meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
4.) Put sugar, olive oil and eggs into bowl of a freestanding mixer with the paddle attachment (or other bowl and hand mixer) and beat together vigorously for about 3 minutes until you have a pale-primrose, aerated and thickened cream.
5.) Turn speed down a little and pour in cocoa mixture, beating as you go, and when all is scraped in, you can slowly tip in almond meal/flour mixture.
6.) Scrape down, and stir a little with a spatula, then pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until the center puffs up and a toothpick comes out clean with a few crumbs clinging to it. Do not over bake, it can dry out quickly.
7.) Let cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack still in its pan, and then ease sides of the cake with a butter knife and spring it out of the pan. Leave to cool completely or eat while still warm. Dust with powdered sugar and/or serve with whipped cream.
Makes 8 to 12 slices.
"The Greatest Wealth is Health" - Virgil
"Let Food be thy Medicine and Medicine be thy Food." - Hippocrates