Cardamom is one of my favourite spices. It is strong and intensely aromatic and always reminds me of being in India. It's a bit like marmite however, people either love it or they hate it! Indigenous to Southern India and Sri Lanka it's used in both sweet and savoury dishes and is well known for its medicinal properties. It comes from the same family as ginger, so its great for any digestive disorders and can be used in the same way as ginger for this purpose. It's an excellent detoxifier, helping to eliminate waste from the body through the kidneys, as well as being an anecdote to bad breath. In India, it is often chewed after a meal to help disperse any bad odours!
What's great about this recipe is that its actually incredibly healthy without tasting too worthy! There's nothing worse than a cake that doesn't taste rich and feel like a treat. This cake not only tastes rich but its also full of the best quality fats and its very low in sugar, using only a little maple syrup as a sweetener. I used goats butter as the main fat and I have to say, that when it comes to making cakes, it's one of my favourite sources of fat to use. Goats dairy, although nutritionally similar to cow's dairy, is generally much better tolerated in the body. This is because the fats and proteins it contains are much more easily digested. The fat globules are smaller making them easier on the digestive system and it contains less of the more problematic proteins that are also found in cow's dairy, which for some people result in eczema, asthma and digestive disorders. It also contains less lactose, so even those who suffer from lactose intolerance may be able for a little goats dairy. But if animal dairy of any sort is not your thing, coconut oil also works wonders in cakes, giving a similarly light finish to the end result.
The icing on the cake of this creation - quite literally - is simply delicious and so easy to make. It combines cashews, coconut butter, fresh orange and a little cardamom. The orange adds an extra burst of flavour and freshness, the extra hit of cardamom brings out the sweetness of the cake and the icing itself makes the whole experience just that bit more creamy and rich!
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
Recipe (makes about 10 slices)
1/3 cup goats butter melted
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp cardamom seeds crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground all spice
1 tsp vanilla extract
1.5 cups (150g) ground almonds
1/2 cup (60g) gluten free flour
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
2 tsp baking powder
1.5 cups grated apple
Method: Pre-heat the oven to 180c. Line a loaf tin with baking paper. Combine the melted goats butter, maple syrup, eggs and vanilla extract in a bowl. Beat well. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, spices, baking powder and coconut and give this is a good whisk to ensure the baking powder spreads evenly throughout. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and then fold in the apple. Place the mixture in the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes. The skewer should come out clean. Cool on a wire wrack
Orange Cashew Coconut Cream
1/2 cup cashews soaked for at least 2 hours
3 tbsp coconut butter
Juice of half an orange
Grated zest of 1 orange
1/2 tsp crushed cardamom
Method: Blend together cashews, coconut butter, orange juice and cardamom. Once smooth, add in the grated orange zest. Once the cake is cool, smother over and enjoy!