A delicious chocolate cardamom cake, rich and decadent, frosted with whipped buttercream, combines the bold flavor of chocolate with the warm and aromatic spices of cardamom. Make this 2 layer cake with under 8 ingredients in under an hour.
This chocolate cardamom cake is perfect when you are looking for a special dessert to serve at an event or if you simple want to up your chocolate cake game. Add the whipped chocolate frosting, and you have a showstopper. The frosting goes well with other cakes too such as my healthy chocolate cake or even my fluffy vanilla cake.
Why You'll Love This Dessert
An unusually flavorful cake. With the cardamom spice, and whipped texture of the frosting, this cake will be one that you and your guests remember.
An easy homemade 2 layer cake. The steps to make these cake are easy for a from-scratch cake - mix dry ingredients, mix wet and combine. The frosting is easy too, just mix ingredients, and fold in whipped cream.
Perfect for all diets. This cake is dairy free and vegan, and yet is easy to make with dairy or gluten free or paleo. Whatever dietary preference you or your guests prefer.
For the cake
cocoa powder - unsweetened and the best quality as this carries the heft of the flavor for the cake. I suggest Ghiradelli or Valhrona if possible.
all purpose flour. The best flour for this cake or use gluten free baking flour.
cane sugar - Organic cane sugar has a larger crystal and tastes better but any sugar is fine.
ground cardamom - ground or powdered cardamom found in the spice aisle.
dairy-free milk. Any milk works.
lemon juice. This is the acid that turns milk into buttermilk and helps cake rise.
pumpkin puree. Or use unsweetened apple sauce. This helps replace eggs.
olive oil. Olive oil softens the cake texture. Light virgin olive oil is best.
Leaveners and flavors: baking soda, baking powder and vanilla extract
For the frosting
organic powdered sugar - organic powdered sugar tastes so much better than non-organic because it holds tapioca instead of cornstarch.
butter. I used dairy free butter in sticks but any butter works.
cocoa powder - use unsweetened and a quality brand. For a darker frosting, use dutch processed cocoa.
full fat coconut milk - This milk is found in cans, not the refrigerated section. It is the basis for the fluffy texture so don't use other milks. You won't taste the coconut.
cold coffee - I use brewed coffee left over from my morning coffee or you can also use a teaspoon of instant coffee granules.
See the recipe card at the bottom for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Steps to Make
For more detail, visit the complete recipe at the bottom of this post, but here are general steps.
Step 1: Prepare by curdling the milk, dusting the pans and preheating the oven. To curdle the milk, add the lemon juice to the milk and set aside for 5-10 minutes. Rub the pans with oil and dust with cocoa powder.
Step 2: Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl.
Step 3: Mix all the wet ingredients including the sugar in a larger bowl. Mix the wet ingredients well - your goal is to dissolve the sugar.
Step 4: Then add the dry to the wet and mix with a mixer. I use a hand mixer.
Step 5: Add the batter to the pans, tap to level and bake.
Step 6: Let the layers cool on cooling racks, and then make the frosting.
Step 1: To make the frosting, open a can of coconut milk and sit it opened in a pot of boiling water for about a minute until it has melted. Don't let water splash inside it. Stir to combine and take can out to cool before making frosting but don't let it turn solid again.
Step 2: Make sure the butter is at room temperature or microwave it for 10 seconds until it is softened.
Step 3: Add sugar, cocoa, butter, vanilla and coffee to a mixing bowl and mix until combined and creamy.
Step 4: In a different bowl, whip the cooled coconut milk with a hand mixer until it resembles the texture of a heavy whipped cream, not necessarily a fluffy texture.
Step 5: Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula and combine gently and for only a minute or until just combined so you don't deflate the whipped cream airiness. Frost your cake!
Lemon juice: You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
Milk: I use almond milk, but any milk will work.
All purpose flour: I also often make this with baking flour 1 to 1 gluten-free by Bob's Red Mill.
Organic cane sugar: Regular cane sugar will work here, but try organic cane sugar if you can, it tastes so much better.
Pumpkin puree: Instead of eggs, I use pumpkin puree but apple sauce also works.
Organic powder sugar: Any powdered sugar works but only organic versions are vegan.
Mix wet ingredients well. This is your main chance to help the sugar dissolve so stir well so the sugar seems dissolved. Once you add the wet to the dry, you need to mix just enough to combine - over mixing leads to a touch cake texture.
Keep frosting moist. If you make the frosting before the layers are cool, cover the bowl with a soaking wet paper towel to keep it fresh.
Don't forget the coffee. You won't taste it, it just elevates the taste of the chocolate.
Once frosted the cake will last one day at room temperature uncut. Once cut, eat or refrigerate for two days, although refrigeration will dry out the cake. The cake unfrosted can be frozen if wrapped in air-tight seals for two months.
Yes. In this cake especially cardamom leaves a flavor in your mouth that is so pleasing yet indescribably that will have you be saying "now what is that flavor?"…
Yes! Although cardamom is often thought of as a season for Indian savory dishes, it is often used in Nordic countries in their dessert recipes.
It is best to buy cardamom pods - available in spice section of grocery store - and crush them, remove seeds and grind them. Or you can use ground cardamom for a less robust flavor. Cardamom is expensive however, like saffron, but well worth it and one bottle lasts a long time.
It tastes like a deep fresh chocolate cake, with a hint of some spice that at first is unidentifiable. I believe it boosts the flavor of the chocolate.
Other Cake Recipes
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Chocolate Cardamom Cake with Fluffy Buttercream
- Add the lemon juice to the milk and set aside.1 ½ cup almond milk, 2 tablespoon lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Rub butter on the inside of two 8-inch round pans.
- Dust the greased pans with cocoa powder
- For the frosting, open a can of coconut milk and sit it opened in a pot of boiling water for about a minute until it has melted. Don't let water splash inside it. Stir to combine and take can out to cool before making frosting but don't let it turn solid again.
Make the cake
- In a medium bowl, stir the dry ingredients together.¾ cup cocoa powder, 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour, ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 ½ teaspoon baking powder, 2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- In a larger bowl, mix together the wet ingredients including the sugar. Make sure you stir long enough so the sugar seems dissolved.¼ cup pumpkin puree, ½ cup olive oil, 2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 ½ cups cane sugar
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.
- Mix the batter until smooth but not longer than 2 minutes or cake will be rubbery.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two baking pans, tapping them on the counter to level the mixture.
- Bake 30 minutes or until tester is clean.
- Let the layers cool in the pans about 15 minutes, then run a knife around the inside, turn each over onto a cooling rack and tap until it falls out.
Let them cool completely on the racks before frosting.
Make the frosting
- Melt the butter in the microwave at 10 seconds. Let it cool.
- Add sugar, cocoa, butter, vanilla and coffee to a mixing bowl and mix until combined and creamy.¾ cup cocoa powder, ½ cup butter, 3 ½ cups powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon cold coffee, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, ⅓ unsweetened cocoa powder
- In a different bowl, whip the cooled coconut milk with a hand mixer until it resembles the texture of a heavy whipped cream, not necessarily a fluffy texture.2-4 tablespoon full fat coconut milk
- Fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula and combine gently and for only a minute or until just combined so you don't deflate the whipped cream airiness.
- Cover the bowl with a soaking wet paper or cloth towel if not ready to frost immediately.
- Assemble cake by stacking layers, frosting each. Or, to replicate our cake pictured, slice each layer lengthwise to make a 4-layer cake.
- Once frosted the cake will last one day at room temperature uncut. Once cut, eat or refrigerate for two days, although refrigeration will dry out the cake. The cake unfrosted can be frozen if wrapped in air-tight seals for two months.