Cardamom-Spiced Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

If you’ve been following my posts the past couple of days, you know that I have been working on a special cupcake project.

Lori was my other awesome volunteer last week and she’s a foodie too, so I was really looking forward to what flavour combo she would come up with for her cupcakes and she certainly didn’t disappoint: Cardamom-Spiced cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream.

What do you know about cardamom?  I certainly knew absolutely nothing.  I’m not great with spices – that’s one of the reasons why I bake.  There’s no certainty when you’re putting a dash of this and a pinch of that into a recipe – I like to measure things.  And know that I’ve got the right proportions.  I’m also not really a risk-taker – and the ECBF is fearless when he’s cooking.

Well our good friends at Wikipedia tell us that:

It is a common ingredient in Indian cooking and is often used in baking in Nordic countries, such as in the Finnish sweet bread pulla or in the Scandinavian bread Julekake. In the Middle East, green cardamom powder is used as a spice for sweet dishes, as well as traditional flavouring in coffee and tea. Cardamom pods are ground together with coffee beans to produce a powdered mixture of the two, which is boiled with water to make coffee. Cardamom is used to some extent in savoury dishes. In some Middle Eastern countries, coffee and cardamom are often ground in a wooden mortar, a mihbaj, and cooked together in a skillet, a mehmas, over wood or gas, to produce mixtures as much as 40% cardamom.

Interesting.  But not at all helpful to figure out what I’m putting in these cupcakes.

I then went to look up what acts as a good cardamom substitute.  Do you know what it is?   A cinnamon-nutmeg mixture.  Well, if cardamom can be substituted with cinnamon and nutmeg, then maybe I need to find complementary flavour to put in this cake.  I decided on a combination of nutmeg, cardamom, and cloves.   I went with a simple spice cake, using these flavours, to make the cupcake base.  It’s a little more dry than I would like, but it baked beautifully.  If I had it to do over, I might add some fruit to the cake, or even carrot.

On Monday I talked a little bit about making that awesome coffee extract.  Now is my chance to put it to the test with the coffee buttercream.

cardamom cupcakes

I am not afraid to tell you that I NAILED this coffee buttercream.  Coffee extract is my new favourite thing.  I made my standard vanilla buttercream but in lieu of adding vanilla extract, I added about double that in coffee extract.  It smells so fantastic and I’m hopeful it will really complement the flavour of the cardamom-spiced cake.

cardamom spiced cake

I topped these little guys with a coffee bean – I think it looks cute, don’t you?  The taste test will be tomorrow – I have no idea how these turned out.  By the time they were done, I was all cupcaked out and couldn’t even stuff one in my mouth.  Stay tuned!


7 thoughts on “Cardamom-Spiced Cupcakes with Coffee Buttercream

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