This extra moist cardamom cake is frosted with a browned butter cream cheese frosting. It only takes 15 minutes to prep your cake and is the perfect cake!
This recipe was originally published in March 2021. It has since been updated with new photos and a new frosting recipe. This new frosting recipe is the perfect amount for the cake!
Tell me about this cake!
- Texture: this cake is extra fluffy and moist, and the cream cheese frosting is very creamy.
- Flavour: the cake is similar to a typical vanilla cake, but its packed with dried cardamom. This gives the cake almost a warming taste and even spicy, I just love that cardamom flavor! This of a spice cake on a cold day. The frosting is made with cream cheese and browned butter, giving a nutty and toasted taste.
- Ease: both the cake and the frosting are really easy to make and require no fancy techniques.
- Time: the cake only takes 15 minutes to prep, and the frosting only take 10 minutes to make. You will have to make the browned butter ahead of time so it can firm up again though, but you can do this the day before if you wish!
Flour: I’ve only tested this recipe with all purpose flour, I haven’t tried it with gluten free flour.
Buttermilk: buttermilk helps make this cake super moist! If you don’t have buttermilk you can use full fat yogurt or sour cream.
Unsalted Butter: I always use European style butter in my cakes and frosting, it is so much richer and creamier thanks to a higher butterfat content!
Confectioners’ Sugar: also known as icing sugar or powdered sugar.
Cream Cheese: if your cream cheese comes in tubs instead of packets, you’ll have to pat it down with a paper towel to get rid of the excess moisture.
Ground Cardamom: the star of the cake! Ground cardamom is slightly spicy, it reminds me of other warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1: I recommend starting off by browning the butter rather than making the cake! The butter needs to chill so make it first and then let it chill while you bake the cake. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Once the butter has melted keep an eye on it and stir using a rubber spatula. After a few minutes it should start to foam and you’ll see white milk solids at the bottom of the saucepan. Continue stirring until those milk solids turn light brown and it smells toasty and nutty. You’ve made brown butter! Pour the brown butter (making sure you scrape out all the brown pieces too!) into a heatproof bowl.
Step 2: Place the butter in the fridge to chill. You want it to be firm enough that it is solid, but when you poke it it should leave an indent. If you did this the night before, just take it out 30 minutes before you want to make the frosting so it can soften up.
Step 3: In a large jug, whisk together all of the wet ingredients for the cake. Whisk until smooth.
Step 4: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together all of your dry ingredients. If you don’t have a stand mixer you could also use a large bowl and an electric mixer.
Step 5: with the mixer on low, add the butter a piece at a time. Once you’ve added all the butter it should look like wet sand.
Step 6: with the mixer on the lowest speed, pour in half of the wet ingredients. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 30 seconds. Turn the mixer back down to low and pour in the remaining wet ingredients, then beat on medium speed for another 30 seconds. Make sure to stop and scrape the bottom of the bowl so all of the batter is being combined.
Step 7: Pour the batter into 2 eight inch cake pans that have been greased and lined with parchment paper. Tap the cake tins on the counter to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake at 350°Fahrenheit/175°Celsius for 18-22 minutes. A toothpick inserted should come out clean. Let the cakes cool in their pan for 10 minutes, then take them out and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
Step 8: Place your softened browned butter in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment along with the cream cheese. Beat for 2-3 minutes on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add in the salt and vanilla extract, then the confectioners’ sugar a half cup at a time on low speed. Once all of the confectioners’ sugar is added, beat on medium-high speed until thick and fluffy. If you find your frosting is still too melty, you can place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up!
Once frosted, add sprinkles on top of the cake!
Recipe Tips & Tricks
- Use a weighing scale – I highly recommend using a weighing scale and measuring out your ingredients the metric way. It makes a huge difference to your baking and is the most accurate way to bake.
- Use the fluff and sprinkle method to measure your flour – if you aren’t using a scale to measure ingredients then make sure you are measuring your flour correctly! Go to this link here to find out how to do that. If you use too much flour, then you won’t have those delicious moist crumbs!
- Room temperature – Make sure all of your ingredients are at room temperature before you start baking.
- Chill the frosting – cream cheese buttercream is notoriously difficult to firm up! If you’re making this during a warm day, I recommend placing the bowl of frosting in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Because of the cream cheese frosting, this cake is best stored in the fridge. You can keep it for 4 days.
You could sub out the cardamom for other spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, or leave out spices entirely and just have a vanilla cake
You can wrap the baked cake in clingfilm and freeze it. Before you frost it, let it defrost for at least 2 hours.
Take a large sharp knife and run it under boiling water, quickly wipe dry with a paper towel, and make one slice. Repeat for each cut you make and you’ll get a clean slice!
Cream cheese frosting is a tough one to firm up, I recommend letting it chill in the fridge if it isn’t firm enough.
If you don’t have buttermilk, add a tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to every cup of milk. Stir and let it sit for 5 minutes. You could also use full fat yogurt instead.
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Have you made this recipe? Please rate the recipe below! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @alpineella and Pinterest!
Cardamom Cake with Browned Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
- Two 8 inch cake pans
- 255 grams all-purpose flour
- 226 grams butter room temperature
- 250 grams sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 eggs
- 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 240 ml buttermilk
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 teaspoon cardamom
- 326 grams powdered sugar
- 170 grams cream cheese, room temperature room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 113 grams unsalted butter
- I recommend starting with this first as it needs to chill and firm up. In a medium saucepan, cook the butter over medium heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until the butter begins to foam and the milk solids turn brown. This can take up to 10 minutes, so be patient!
- Scrape out all the butter and the brown bits into the bowl of your stand mixer (or another bowl if your mixer bowl is too big for the fridge!) and place in the fridge for at least 1 hour to firm up.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C. Grease and line 2 8-inch cake pans.
- In a jug, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and buttermilk.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom and salt on a low speed until everything is combined. While the mixer is still running, add the butter a piece at a time. Your mixture should look like coarse sand
- With the mixer still running, slowly pour in half of the wet ingredients. Increase the speed to medium for 30 seconds, then return to low. Add the rest of the wet ingredients while the mixture is still running. Increase the speed to medium again for 30 seconds. Use a spatula to fold the batter to make sure there are no flour pockets.
- Divide the batter amongst the pans and then tap them against your counters to get rid of any air pockets. Bake for 18-22 minutes until golden brown. A toothpick inserted should come out clean
- Take your butter out of the fridge. It should be firm, but when you press it with your finger it should leave an indent. In the stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until it is completely smooth and fluffy.
- In a bowl mix together the salt and powdered sugar. Add to the butter/cream cheese, half a cup at a time, mixing slowly after each addition.
- Once all the sugar is incorporated, beat the frosting on medium until it is thick and very smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the vanilla.
The cake was very tasty, but the bake time was optimistic. I used 9″ pans, and baked for ~30 min, not 18 as called for in the recipe. At 18 min, the center of the cake was clearly not baked (wobbled to the point of almost being able to slosh). My oven temp was correct per the thermometer I use. I would think if I had used 8″ pans the bake time would have had to be even longer, too.
Unlike Andee, I found the quantity of frosting to only barely be enough with your adjusted quantities, and not quite enough for my taste. I like the middle to be thicker than 1/8″ between layers. It was more like a crumb coat than a true frosting with this quantity. I found your original quantities on the Wayback Machine site, and will try with that, or maybe midway between the two for a future rendition of the cake.
The flavor of the frosting is absolutely excellent. The brown butter is genius. I forgot to add the vanilla, but I think I would prefer it without vanilla in any case.
Thanks so much for your review and your feedback!
Could I make this into mini cupcakes? Would I need to make any changes to the cake recipe?
Hi! I haven’t tried making them into cupcakes, but if you give it a try you’ll have to decrease the baking time and also make a lot less of the frosting!
I made this tonight and it was amazing! Super moist and the cream cheese frosting was just the right amount and sweet and cheesy. 10/10 would make again
Thanks so much for your review! So glad you liked it!
This is absolutely delicious! I served it for the first time the night we were hosting a large group and it was a huge hit.
It definitely made more frosting than I think it needs (I have a fully frosted, layered cake and 1-1.5 cups of frosting still!) so I’ll probably half the amount next time but this one will be added to my holiday rotation for sure!
Thanks so much for your review and feedback! I’ll retest the frosting, I think I might like frosting a little bit more than most people haha!