Cardamom Sponge with White Chocolate Icing
Cardamom gives a delicate flavour to this moist sponge, combining surprisingly well with the white chocolate icing. When you are grinding the cardamom, be sure to crush the seeds only, not the pods, as these won't soften enough during baking to become absorbed in the cake, and can lead to a gritty texture. The shards of white chocolate are a simple but impressive decoration, and make this a wonderful cake for a special occasion.
PREPARE AHEAD: The cake can be made and iced up to a day ahead.
FREEZE: Freezes well without the icing.
Mary’s Foolproof tips
Make sure the butter for the icing is softened or it will not blend smoothly with the cream cheese, and will leave lumps.
Don’t overheat the white chocolate or the icing will not set.
If the icing has firmed up too much in the fridge, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes until soft enough to spread.
- 225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 225g caster sugar
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 12 cardamom pods
- 50g good-quality white chocolate, to decorate
- For the icing:
- 100g good-quality, white chocolate
- 50g butter, softened
- 75g full-fat cream cheese
- 200g icing sugar, sifted
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1. You will need two 20cm (8in) round sandwich cake tins. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4, then grease the tins with butter and line the bases with baking paper.
2. Place the butter and eggs in a large mixing bowl with the sugar, flour and baking powder and beat together, by hand or using an electric hand whisk, until combined.
3. Bash the cardamom pods with a rolling pin on a chopping board to release the seeds. Grind the seeds until fine using a pestle and mortar then stir this into the cake batter. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and smooth the tops.
4. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes until golden brown and springy to the touch. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes and then turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.
5. Make the icing. Place the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth, taking great care not to let the chocolate get too hot. Set aside to cool and thicken a little.
6. Whisk the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy and soft. Whisk in half the icing sugar, then add the vanilla extract and remaining icing sugar and whisk again. Stir in the melted white chocolate to combine and then transfer to the fridge to chill for about 20 minutes until thickened enough to spread on the cake (see tip).
7. Divide the icing between the two cakes, spreading half on one, sandwiching with the second cake and using the rest of the icing to cover the top. Use a sharp knife to cut or shave the remaining white chocolate into angular shards and then arrange these over the top of the cake to make an impressive decoration. Cut into wedges to serve.