It is surreal how whiff of a spice can immediately bring back long forgotten childhood memories. As I began to make cardamom powder for this cake in a mortal and pestle (that my mother readily gave away from her kitchen), I was taken back to afternoons of waking up from a nap, watching my mother dress up for a weekend get together and chewing on cardamom before leaving the house or my grandma making cardamom scented payesh on birthdays and special occasions. The heady aroma of this amazing spice remains deeply etched in my mind. I think Indian desserts are incomplete without cardamom, it is the smell of home.
The thought was initially to attempt a mawa cake but I zero-ed in on a basic madeira cake recipe. It’s not even funny how many times I’ve sniffed the loaf pan, closing my eyes each time in awe and satisfaction. I dont think I want to eat it anymore.
This is the kind of cake I’d like to sit in my balcony with, a mug of coffee in one hand, looking at life go by. If that’s too much of a luxury for you, just pop a slice any time of the day and close your eyes while doing so.
And no, don’t make this for Diwali. More like a little pre-diwali pick me up before you start tucking into those gulab jamuns, ghujiyas and kaju katlis. Happy festivities!
200 gms Caster sugar
200 gms unsalted butter
200 gms all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
pinch of salt
50-60ml of milk
Cardamom powder from seeds of 5-6 cardamom pods
pistachios (deshelled and chopped roughly) – 10-15
Pre-heat the oven at 180C (356F) and measure out all the ingredients. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy for about 6-10 mins. Add the vanilla and beat for another minute.
Add the cardamom powder and break one egg at a time, beating at each addition. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt and whisk together to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine well with a spatula (please don’t overbeat the batter). Mix in the milk to loosen up the batter.
Add the batter to a greased and parchment lined loaf pan and top generously with chopped pistachios before nudging the pan into a hot oven. Bake for about 40-45 mins. Your cue should be light brown edges on the loaf and the cake springing back on touch.
Enjoy responsibly and share with lot of friends and family to avoid the weighing scale shuddering at your sight.