Saturday, 2 March 2013

Green tea, Cardamon and Vanilla Cake for Fairtrade Fortnight

So the other day I was urging you all to Go Further for Fairtrade . It's Fairtrade fortnight, and a great opportunity to focus on the products we buy when we're shopping. Obviously, when I blog about things like that, I need to put my money where my mouth is. Where I'm shopping for something that isn't available from a local producer, I will try and choose Fairtrade - things like tea, coffee, chocolate. This week, however, it's been a little bit easier, because the lovely people at the Fairtrade Foundation sent me a bag of goodies to bake with. Unfortunately, I can't show you a picture of the Divine dark chocolate & raspberry bar because it got eaten rather quickly, but I also got some Pukka green tea and lemon tea bags, some Barts cardamon pods, and some ndali vanilla pods - in the most gorgeous packaging I think I have ever seen.


Time for cake - but of course. Now, I have recently found myself on a little bit of a kick to lose a little bit of weight (getting bars of Divine dark choc with raspberries doesn't help!). I wouldn't go so far as to use the 'D'* word, but I have been saying things like "I really need to cut down" more frequently than normal. As a result, cake hasn't featured much recently. But it's the weekend. There is gardening to be done, dog walking, fresh air. There most definitely needs to be cake in the house - and not just in the freezer sliced up ready for lunchboxes.

See it there, cosying up to Hugh and the Hummingbird?
I took inspiration from the Chai cake I made a few months back, but looking for something a little lighter, left out the ginger, and used the vanilla seeds from one of the pods (I put the scraped pod into a jar and covered it with caster sugar to make vanilla sugar for future baking) . The cardamon always has such a beautiful lemony aroma, that it seemed only natural to pair it with the green tea & lemon, too. And the icing - well I wasn't sure. I had a little teeny taste of the cake once it had cooled before I finally decided whether it would need some. Uniced, the cake was beautiful and vanillary, with the lemony cardamon providing a kind of subtle undertone, but in the end I decided it did need something sharp and sweet to finish it off. Taking inspiration from the lime frosting for carrot cake in the utterly seductive Red Velvet & Chocolate Heartache book by Harry Eastwood, I made a lemony (but not too lemony) cream cheese icing.

The result? Well I am very pleased. I'm definitely looking forward to my cup of tea and slice of cake later today.

Green Tea, Cardamon & Vanilla cake

350ml semi-skimmed milk
2 green tea & lemon teabags
8 cardamon pods, bashed in a pestle & mortar
1 clove
seeds scraped from a vanilla pod

170g unsalted butter
230g golden syrup
20g light brown sugar
20 cardamon pods
280g self raising flour
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, beaten  
50g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
zest & juice of half a lemon
50g cream cheese

Pour the milk into a small pan with the teabags, 8 cardamon pods, the clove and the vanilla seeds. bring gently to the boil then simmer for 10-15 minutes, before setting aside to cool. 

Pre-heat the oven to 170C/160C fan/Gas 3.5 and line a 20cm square cake tin.

Strain the milk, and if necessary make back up to 200 ml with some more milk.

Melt the butter, syrup and sugar in a pan, and set aside to cool slightly. While this is cooling, bash the 20 cardamon pods in your pestle and mortar, remove the pods so you are left with the little seeds. Grind these up to a powder. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl, stir in the cardamon powder followed by the melted butter/syrup/sugar, the aromatic milk and the eggs. Stir all together, scrape into the tin and bake for around 45 minutes. You may need longer, but make sure there are still a few crumbs on your cake tester - it doesn't necessarily want to come out completely clean.

Once the cake is cooled, make the icing. Whisk the butter for a minute or so till soft (I used my Kenwood to do this, If i was doing it by hand I'd probably beat with a wooden spoon), then sift in half the icing sugar and whisk again (slowly, you don't want to choke in clouds of icing sugar). Add in the lemon juice and whisk to a paste, then add in the rest of the icing sugar, the cream cheese and lemon est and whisk or beat together till smooth. Chill the icing for 15 minutes or so before smearing and smoothing all over your cake.

Wait till it's time for a cup of tea and eat a small slice slowly. Or just put the kettle on now and devour...
*Diet. Ssshhhh.


  1. that looks and sounds delicious! Love cardamon and haven't tried making tea infused cake yet, so I'm going to give this a go when my sister's here next week. Want to spoil her with special things as she's about to move to Australia :(

  2. Australia is a long way :-( This would be a lovely cake to have in the house when she's with you. xx

  3. I'm not sure I've ever had green tea but I do love the sound of the combination here - cardamom is such a lovely flavour and I bet it's perfect with lemon and vanilla. And yes, that is a beautifully packaged vanilla pod!

  4. green cardamon is flavor blend spices used in cooking.
    it is really great thank you


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