INGREDIENTS

CARDAMOM IS A GAME CHANGING ADDITION TO CHOCOLATE BAKES

HOW TO BAKE WITH CARDAMOM & OUR BEST CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE RECIPES

By Carmen | 10 March, 2024
Ever wanted to upgrade your classic chocolate bakes? I have found chocolate’s perfect sidekick: cardamom.

Let’s take a deep dive as to why cardamom is a game-changing addition to chocolate recipes - a combo I’m genuinely obsessed with right now.

We’ll uncover the flavour profile of cardamom, the difference between the green and black varieties and how to use cardamom in baking. The basics covered, I’ll share my reasons for pairing cardamom and chocolate in baking recipes and showcase three delicious cardamom chocolate recipes for you to try right away.

Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a novice in the kitchen, you’ll be able to create an irresistible cardamom chocolate recipe that will delight all. Let’s dive right in! 

WHY YOU SHOULD BAKE WITH CARDAMOM

Cardamom is often referred to as the Queen of Spice and for good reason. The aroma of freshly ground cardamom is truly delightful, potent and distinctive.

Now, you may be more familiar with using cardamom in savoury curries or chai tea. Cardamom and chocolate may not be a combination you’ve experienced, (yet!) but it actually makes the perfect pairing to the rich, earthy flavours of chocolate.  

WHAT DOES CARDAMOM TASTE LIKE

Describing cardamom’s flavour can prove challenging. Like star anise, fennel or liquorice, cardamom falls into the category of medicinal spices.

However, depending on personal predilections and the type of cardamom being tasted, it takes on different nuances such as, floral, citrusy, peppery, smoky, sweet, or herbal. 

GREEN CARDAMOM VS BLACK CARDAMOM

Depending on the type of cardamom being used, it takes on different flavour nuances. Green cardamom imparts fresh eucalyptus notes, while black cardamom has a smoky and resinous taste. The two types can be used interchangeably in savoury dishes but green cardamom is more commonly used for desserts due to its sweeter taste.

Pre-ground cardamom, often used in the Middle East, has a milder and less herbal profile. You will therefore need a larger quantity to match the flavour of cardamom seeds that you grind yourself.  

Green cardamom pods are smaller in size and have a more herbal eucalyptus notes compared to black cardamom which is smoky and earthy. 

HOW TO USE CARDAMOM IN BAKING

Used in baking, cardamom imparts a floral and citrus flavour, akin to lemon zest but with a deeper menthol note.

Cardamom is not a subtle spice, and used sparingly, can elevate plain puddings, biscuits or cakes, adding extra layers of flavour. The fragrant spice is brilliant paired with rounded, subtle flavours. Think buttery biscuits, crumbles, creamy rice puddings or pastries.

Green cardamom can be particularly intense, and a small quantity goes a long way. This is a spice that can reward experimentation, yet should be used with some restraint. When used too liberally it can overpower a bake with a botanical minty flavour so make sure to start with a small amount and taste before adding more.

The obvious and easiest way to use it is to grab the ground stuff. We’d argue though that, when possible, using whole cardamom pods or whole cardamom seeds is the way to go as it will impart a much more fresh and fragrant flavour to your bakes.

Grinding cardamom is a straightforward affair. The best way is to use a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder. Open the pods and grind the little seeds to a fine uniform powder, making sure to avoid leftover gritty pieces. Without a doubt, a whiff of the freshly ground seeds will make a convincing case to make you never return to pre-ground cardamom again!

Now, when armed with your freshly grounded cardamom, where to begin? Chocolate.

THE CASE FOR PAIRING CARDAMOM AND CHOCOLATE

The aromatic and slightly citrusy, spicy notes of cardamom complements and enhances the rich and deep taste of chocolate like no other spice can.

When used thoughtfully, cardamom adds a layer of complexity and a refreshing taste to chocolate-based recipes. While the ingredients’ flavour profiles two sit at the opposite spectrums of each other they are not at odds, and in fact, make a great pair. Opposites attract, right?!

I have found that cardamom can also help cut through the sweetness of chocolate, providing a well-balanced flavour profile, especially in desserts or bakes where chocolate can be intense. Chocolate Fudge Cake, we’re looking at you! Its menthol herbal qualities open up the palate and add a nuanced floral sweetness without overpowering the full-bodied bitter chocolate.

Both ingredients share a versatility that allows them to blend harmoniously together in various forms, including cakes, desserts, truffles, and hot beverages.

Ultimately, the success of any flavour pairing is subjective, and personal preferences play a significant role. However, the combination of cardamom and chocolate in my mind is a spectacular choice that will reward any adventurous bakers out there.  

OUR BEST CHOCOLATE & CARDAMOM RECIPES

Surely, you now want to put this pairing to the test. Well, here are three easy cardamom chocolate recipes you can try right away. 

STICKY CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE CAKE
(SWEDISH KLADDKAKA)

We’ve added cardamom to this classic Swedish Chocolate Cake in a nod to the Scandinavian love affair with the warming spice. Cardamom and chocolate paired with a touch of coffee lifts the rich and sticky chocolate kladdkaka cake for a delicious and seriously easy bake.

CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

The addition of fragrant cardamom lifts the rich and earthy notes of this effortless chocolate mousse bringing a floral and citrusy balance to make the chocolate dessert even lighter than it is. A great update on the French classic.  

CARDAMOM CHOCOLATE BARK WITH HAZELNUTS & PISTACHIOS

If you enjoy mint chocolate bars, chance is you’ll like this dark chocolate bark flavoured with cardamom. The beauty of chocolate bark is how simple it is to make and its versatility: all you really need to do is melt chocolate, add your favourite nuts, dried fruits and spices - in this case, hazelnuts, pistachios and cardamom - and leave to set.  It makes a great edible gift too!
We hope this has inspired you to experiment with cardamom beyond the classic curries and to try using it in your chocolate bakes. 
Still have more questions on how to use cardamom in your baking? Do drop us a note in the comments below. 

If there are any other ingredients you'd like us to do a deep dive on let us know!

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