Cardamom Cake with Chocolate Sea Salt Butter Cream

cardamom cake with chocolate sea salt buttercream

I'm not going to say that I'm not a dessert person because that would be a lie. That said, I really try to fight my urge, to eat ice cream three times a day, and indulge occasionally - not on the regular.  So, if you're only eating dessert once in a while, you want it to be good, right? Let me tell you - this cake is good, and perfect for a weekend dessert, a baby shower, a birthday or an evening spent binge watching The Mindy Project on the couch. 

This recipe is my take on a traditional (but kind of boring) yellow cake with chocolate icing. Like the standard yellow cake, this beauty gets its yellow hue from egg yolks. Unlike the standard yellow cake, this one is sweetened with brown sugar and a touch of maple syrup, spiced with cardamom and covered in a dark chocolate and sea salt buttercream. Definitely not boring.

This cake can be made the day before and will keep, covered, for a day or two on the counter, even though we both know it won't last that long. 








3 cups sifted cake flour

3 tsp baking powder

1 cup salted butter - softened

1 cup loosely packed brown sugar 

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

5 large egg yolks

1 large egg

1 1/2 cups 2% milk

1 tsp cardamom extract (you can use vanilla extract if you can't find this)

1 tsp cardamom powder


1/3 cup softened butter

3 cups powdered sugar

4oz dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids) melted and cooled

1 tsp vanilla extract 

4 tbsp coconut milk

1/4 tsp flaked sea salt like Maldon 


1. preheat oven to 350°

2. butter and flour two 9" round cake tins (I use springform) and place a round of parchment paper on the bottom of each pan.

3. using a hand mixer, stand mixer or a good old bowl and spoon, beat softened butter until fluffy and pale - around 1 minute.

4. gradually add sugar and beat until the mixture is fluffy. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

5. add egg yolks, one at a time, and beat mixture well after each addition. add whole egg, maple syrup, cardamom or vanilla extract and cardamom powder. mix well and set aside.

6. in a separate bowl, sift flour and baking powder.

7. add flour mixture to wet mixture in thirds, alternating with milk (flour, milk, flour, milk, flour) until just combined. do not over mix.

8. divide batter between the two cake pans and bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. remove to a rack and cool completely. 

9. to make buttercream, beat softened butter and powdered sugar, on low speed, until thick and fluffy. add melted chocolate and vanilla extract and beat again until just combined. add coconut milk, one spoonful at a time, until the frosting is smooth.  if the buttercream is too thick, add additional coconut milk one tablespoonful at a time. if the mixture is too thin, add powdered sugar one tablespoonful at a time. 

10. when the icing reaches your desired thickness, fold in sea salt with a spatula.

11. to ice the cake, remove each layer from its tin and remove parchment paper from the cake bottoms. place one cake layer on your desired serving platter and spread 3/4 of a cup of buttercream over the top. place the second cake layer on top and frost top and sides with remaining buttercream. garnish with chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, coconut flakes or edible rose petals.