Most people probably associate cardomom with the little green pods you find in indian curries (and let me tell you, they're fabulous in them!) but the ground spice from the seeds is also a staple of Scandanavian baking. (You can take the girl out of Norway but you can't take the Norwegian out of the girl!)
So it only seemed fitting that I make a cardomom cupcake to celebrate my mum's birthday.
I paid a visit to my friend Google and looked for some recipe ideas. Most favoured pairing cardomom with either orange or chocolate. Both combinations sounded great but I was really looking for a solo taste act.
It dawned on me that I could probably just add cardomom straight to my favourite vanilla cake recipe and I confirmed it when I found A Mingling of Tastes 's Vanilla and Cardomom cupcakes recipe.
My objective was to make a cake that really tasted like cardomom. First step was to reduce the amount of vanilla - in a plain cake, vanilla helps mask the taste and smell of cooked egg. On the advice from Mingling, I ground up my own cardomom seeds, leaving them a little coarse so I could see the flecks in the batter. The aroma is so much better than pre-ground spice (but if that's all you have, then use it).
I used two teaspoons and it seemed to be about right.
For the icing I wanted to keep it simple. I already had some white chocolate ganache in the freezer so I used this to glaze the tops and topped with a sugar flower. Next time I'll add some of the ground cardomom to the ganache so you can see the flecks.
The verdict? Yum! Happy birthday Mum!