chocolate cardamom cake

chocolate cardamom cake recipe | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Chocolate Cardamom Cake
I use freshly ground cardamom in this cake – the flavor is so much better. If you prefer to use pre-ground cardamom, substitute 1 teaspoon pre-ground cardamom for the fresh. If you have never ground cardamom before, here is a video to show you how.

The ganache makes this cardamom cake extra special, but the cake tastes good without it as well. I like to add 1/2 cup of chocolate chips to the batter if I’m not going to cover it in chocolate. Also, I like to make sure they are a few crumbs still on my cake tester when I pull the cake out of the oven. If it comes out completely clean the cake tastes a little too dry to me.


Duke Ellington once commented, “I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline.” I’m in total agreement, and apologies for my lackluster approach to posts. I am working on it.

Speaking of Duke Ellington, it would have been Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday this past week (they did record and play together a lot, which is why I’m connecting them), and in honor of her day I have made an Ella Fitzgerald playlist over on Spotify. I fell in love with Ella twenty years ago, working at a crappy coffee shop tucked away on the third floor of a ritzy mall in Edina, Minnesota.

The store had an old CD player in the back that would only load three CDs at a time, and my sister, who also worked at said shop, would often run up to Sam Goody and buy a handful of new music when we starting to feel crazy after listening to the same tunes for hours on end. One day she came back with a stack of Ultra Lounge CDs, Mambo music, the Swingers Soundtrack, and Ella and Louis: Our Love is Here to Stay. Ella started singing, and I felt like a voice I had been looking for was finally found. There is both peacefulness and playfulness in her singing, and I’m always in the mood for whatever she is swinging.

Twenty years later, I listen to Ella almost every day (the Swingers Soundtrack still gets some play time, occasionally), and have made her a big part of my family’s musical life. The playlist is a lot of my favorite songs, and some ‘classic’ Ella hits. You can click here to listen.

For more on Ella:

Ella Fitzgerald Wikipedia

Ella: A Biography

Ella Fitzgerald (Little People Big Dreams) – children’s book

Albums I love: Mack the Knife, Ella & Louis, Ella in Hollywood, Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook, and Ella: The Legendary Decca Recordings.

My favorite picture of Ella.

chocolate cardamom cake recipe | The Vanilla Bean Blog

Chocolate Cardamom Cake

Servings: 10 servings
A deeply chocolate bundt cake with rich cardamom notes. Finished with a glossy chocolate ganache.
Sarah Kieffer
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  • 3 oz (85 g) bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • 4 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (284 g) all purpose flour
  • 2 cups (396 g) sugar
  • ¾ cup (75 g) Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground green cardamom seeds, this was 12 pods of cardamom for me
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  • 6 ounces (170g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream


For the cake

  • Adjust an oven rack to the  middle position. Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour (or grease) a 10-inch Bundt pan.
  • Put the bittersweet chocolate in a small bowl. Pour the hot water over it and cover with a piece of plastic wrap. In a medium bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk the sour cream, milk, canola oil, eggs, and vanilla.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, ground cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low until combined. (If the cocoa powder is lumpy, you can sift it into the other ingredients.) With the mixer running on low, slowly add the sour cream mixture. Increase the speed to medium and beat until combined, 20-30 seconds.
  • Whisk the chocolate and hot water together until completely smooth. With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the mixture into the batter and mix until just combined. Using a spatula, give the batter a couple of turns to make sure it is fully mixed.
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake 25-35 minutes, until a wooden skewer or toothpick comes out with a little bit of crumb.
  • Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool for 30 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack, and let cool completely. Once cool, the cake can be topped with chocolate ganache if desired.

For the ganache

  • Place the chocolate in a small bowl. Heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan until it is simmering and just about to boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Remove the plastic wrap and whisk until completely smooth. Coat the cake with the ganache while the ganache is still warm, but the cake has cooled. Let the ganache set before slicing the cake.

  • Reply
    Tuesday, March 28, 2023 at 1:10 pm

    Just made this cake last week. It was amazing. Big hit!

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 24, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Sarah, this cake looks amazing. Especially this time of year. I make something similar, I need to make this on the weekend. Delicious.

  • Reply
    Monday, March 18, 2019 at 11:31 am

    It’s amazing! I just randomly found your blog looking for this recipe. Awesome! Good for you!

  • Reply
    Wednesday, March 13, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    This looks tasty! These are absolutely mouth watering! It will quickly disappear in our house, very tasty and flavorful!

  • Reply
    Sunday, March 10, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    My bad! Realised after that it was supposed to be a bundt cake. Tasted great anyway as a regular cake after I cooked it for a lot longer

    • Reply
      Janine D'Avino
      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      Hi Sean, how long did you have to cook it for and what size pan did you use?

  • Reply
    Saturday, March 9, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Cooking time seems to be way too low on this. Cooked it for an extra couple of minutes at recommended heat and the whole centre was still gooey.

  • Reply
    Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 7:08 am

    what other pan sizes can be used besides a 10 in bundt?

  • Reply
    Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    This looks and sounds awesome! I was just thinking about how much I like cardamom and how I should find more recipes that call for it!
    I just have one issue… I don’t have a stand mixer. Is that absolutely necessary, or can I mix it by hand or with a regular, hand-held electric mixer?

  • Reply
    marie douglas
    Saturday, May 12, 2018 at 1:30 pm

    This is absolutely amazing!! I LOVE making this cake, not only delicious but also so easy!!
    Thank you for sharing xx

  • Reply
    Thursday, May 10, 2018 at 6:04 pm

    very interesting background on music I’ve never really explored beyond what’s publicly popular in films, etc re: Ella Fitzgerald, so thank you for that but also for this cake, lovely and you procrastinated in a good way since the photo is stunning, thank you for both!

  • Reply
    Friday, May 4, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for the great recipe Sarah! I made it in a fit of procrastination two nights ago and it was well worth it! Tasted even better today than it did yesterday. Great rich chocolate flavor with a nice balance of the cardamom. I wasn’t sure if I would do the ganache, but I’m so glad I followed your recommendation. It makes the cake so much better! 🙂

  • Reply
    Thursday, May 3, 2018 at 2:27 am

    You do good on photography and cooking, that is one big talent there…this cake would be a great pair for my cup of coffee…

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 10:51 pm

    This sounds so good! But I don’t see how much or what kind of coffee to use. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Monday, April 30, 2018 at 8:33 am

      Hi Meredith – I’m not sure what happened, but for some reason the email version says ‘coffee’ where it should say ‘hot water’. It was originally a typo that I fixed, but is still showing up for some people! So you should just combine the hot water and chocolate, and pour that into the cake batter – no coffee is needed.

  • Reply
    Kelsey @ Appeasing a Food Geek
    Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Loving the sound of this cake! Also, beautiful words, as always Sarah! xo

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    I cannot wait to make this!

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Can’t wait to give this one a shot.!terrific flavor combo!

  • Reply
    Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 7:50 am

    I love cardamom! It’s has such unique flavor and aroma and I like to combine it mostly with coffee and chocolate. This chocolate cardamom cake looks and sounds absolutely delicious!

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