Cardamom Spiced Sponge with Raspberry, Lychee and Rose

I am not a great cake decorator, nor am I overly good at plating up or making my food look pretty. HOWEVER, I was super proud of myself as this cake that I made for made this cake for my Aunt’s birthday and not only taste beautiful but it looked beautiful (well at least I thought so!).

The bright and contrasting colours really decorated themselves – making it easy even for me, with no artistic ability to make pretty!

This cake was inspired by a Raspberri Cupcakes recipe that you can find here. However, I added a bit of a Middle Eastern feel that resulted in a complicated yet balanced dessert, different to anything I have ever tasted before.

This cake was a combination of both classic and exotic flavours.Β The classic combination of raspberries and cream is hard to fault, as is the combination of rose, raspberry and lychee reminiscent of master patissier Pierre Herme’s classic Ispahan macaron.

Then to tie in with the Middle Eastern rosewater flavour I also added pistachios and a hint of the fragrant and exotic spice of cardamon. I only used a little bit of cardamom but it’s unusual flavour really added something different and yummy to the cake!

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Cardamom Sponge Cake

Ingredients:

  • 60g (about 4.5 tbsp) butter, melted and cooled, plus extra for greasing tins
  • 180g (about 1 & 1/3 cups) plain/all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 200g (about 1 cup) caster/superfine sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cardamom pods

Instructions:

  1. Β Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  2. Brush two 20cm diameter cake tins with melted butter and then line the bases with baking paper. Then dust the sides of the tin with flour by adding a small amount of flour and moving the tin around in your hands so that the flour coats all of the edges. Tip out any excess flour.
  3. Triple sift the flour – I know this seems like a pain but this is actually really important to get a light fluffy sponge as there is no raising agent used!
  4. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla seeds in a large bowl and whisk with an electric mixer until thick, pale and tripled in volume. This takes quite a while (8-10 minutes). If you have a free standing mixer definitely use it, but hand-held ones will work as well. And don’t be afraid to have the beaters at full speed / going fast – you won’t overwhip / split it.
  5. Take the cardamom pods and break them open. Take out the small seeds and discard the outer pod. Using a sharp knife or mortar and pestle, cut the pods up until they are very fine and almost like a powder. Add this to the egg mixture and fold through to combine.
  6. In batches, add the sifted flour into the egg mixture, folding in carefully with a large metal spoon.
  7. Then add the melted butter and fold to combine.
  8. Split the mixture evenly between the tins you prepared earlier.
  9. Then bake for about 20-25 minutes. At this stage the cakes should be lightly golden and should spring back with pressed lightly with your fingertip.
  10. Let the cakes cool for about 5 minutes and then carefully remove them from their tins and place on a wire cooling rack to cool completely. Don’t forget to remove the baking paper on the bottom of the cake!

Now for the fun part!!

Assembly / Decorations:

  • 300ml of thickened cream
  • 1/2 cup of raspberry jam
  • 2 punnets of fresh raspberries
  • 20 fresh lychees, pitted and halved
  • a handful of fresh cranberries
  • Sugar roses – I got mine from the baking / cake section of Coles
  • 1/2 cup of pistachios, roughly chopped
  • 1 packet of Pashmak rose flavoured Persian fairy floss – you can find at Coles these days – who knew!!
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Beginning the decorations!

  1. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream in a large bowl until stiff peaks form.
  2. Then place one of the sponge cake layers on the plate you will present it on and spread over the raspberry jam. Then spread on a thick layer of the whipped cream. Don’t spread the cream all the way out to the edges, leave about a 2cm gap, as the weight of the second layer will spread the cream out.
  3. Place the second layer of sponge on top and push down until the cream has spread nicely to the edges of the cake without spilling over the edge.
  4. Then place a thin layer of cream on the top of the cake.
  5. Now it’s time to go crazy with the decorations! I placed alternating raspberries and lycees around the cake in a circular pattern.
  6. Then I filled in the gaps with the sugar roses and cranberries.
  7. I then piled on the gorgeous persian fairy floss and added in a few more of the sugar roses and then sprinkled the whole thing with pistachios.

You can serve this immediately or store it in the fridge for a several hours.

I really hope you try this cake – I think it is a real showstopper! If you do, let me know what you think!

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