Cardamom Bun Cake is a fragrant, mega-moist, one-bowl cake. It delivers the taste of a Swedish coffeehouse cardamom bun, but with almost zero effort. I repeat, zero effort.
For a cake at least.
Dreaming of Swedish coffeehouse cardamom buns…
This is a cake I’ve been dreaming of making for quite awhile. I’ve not been to our local Swedish bakeries (yes, in Edinburgh) for many many months, so the dream is filtered through my hazy, pandemic-addled brain.
In my mind this cake is a more marbled creation, mimicking the intricate braiding of a proper Swedish cardamom bun. You know, the yeasted bakery buns that you unravel and dip into black coffee. Just me?
Maybe if I had added more of the swirly bit (cardamom and brown sugar) I might have achieved the desired look. But never mind. The taste is all there: deeply cardamomy, with the gentlest waft of almond from the eponymous flour and a dash of extract.
I could have gone a bit crazy and topped it with gleaming white pearled sugar. But I opted for toasted flakes of almond instead. These tasty shards give this soft, golden cake a crunchy texture that helps make cardamom buns such a pleasure to bite into. But by all means stud this coffeeshop-style cake with pearled sugar to fulfil your cardamom bun dreams.
In short, Cardamom Bun Cake is a dreamy, fragrant, make-ahead cake to have around just in case of cardamom bun-craving emergencies. Serve with strong coffee. Watching a Scandi-noir Netflix series is entirely optional. 🙂
So, what’s in this Cardamom Bun Cake?
In keeping with my lower-carb baking adventures, the listed ingredients are all staples of a low-carb cupboard. If you are put off making this by the no-sugar ingredients, do see my tweaks a few paragraphs down. I want my recipes to be flexible, so just give a shout if you have any questions.
Almond flour – if all you can get is ground almonds or almond meal, grind it a bit finer in a blender or similar. It may work as ground almonds, but it won’t give the same soft, cake-like texture.
Greek yogurt – thick and full-fat; Turkish yogurt is great, too
Eggs – organic and at room temperature
Extracts of vanilla and almond
Butter, ghee, coconut oil or mild olive oil – if using coconut oil, use 30g only. I browned the butter, but no need.
Erythritol – granulated, brown (could also use use granulated if needs be) and confectioner’s/icing
Baking powder and salt
Ground cardamom – or green pods, bashed open, husks discarded, and the seeds bashed to powder
Almond milk or regular milk
How do you make this cake?
With ease! Seriously, it is pretty much a one-bowl, bung it all in kind of thing. No separate dry and wet ingredients to consider. All you do is use either electric hand beaters – or your biceps and a stiff whisk – to thoroughly mix all of the cake ingredients. Then you pour a little in the lined loaf tin and top with some spice mix; a little more batter and more spice mix; then smooth on the remaining batter.
While you bake the cake, make the easy icing by beating the icing sugar, spices and a little milk to a dropping consistency. In the recipe card I give an option for a buttercream icing, too. Then it is a matter of having enough patience to let the cake cool before draping over the icing and studding with the toasted flaked almonds.
And when I say patience I am not exaggerating. The aroma will be staggeringly heady. You may need to meditate, or go for a walk, while you wait. Seriously.
Pale and interesting?
You’ll see that the icing is a pale brown affair, gently draping down the cake a bit. If you fancy a whiter, more contrasting look, ditch mixing in the warm ground spices. Instead, drop lightly crushed cardamom seeds over the soft frosting before pebble dashing the cake with flaked almonds. The result is a more intense, mouth-filling fragrance and taste, possibly not for anyone who doesn’t already love cardamom as much as I do. But you do love it as much as I do, right? Because of my deep devotion to cardamom (heck, I even put it in my signature pepper blend), I doubled up. Ground in and crushed on. Very Swedish.
Variations on a dream
Although this cake is written up to be lower carb, you can certainly use regular sugar – brown, granulated and icing, to be precise. Just add slightly less of the real sugars than I call for. Erythritol sugar substitutes are about 30 per cent less sweet than sugar. If yours has a little stevia added it should be a straight swap as the stevia ups the sweetness a tad. I wouldn’t however advise subbing out the almond flour with wheat flour or polenta though. That’s a different proposition entirely.
If your cupboard is “normal” rather than low-carb, why not give my Cardamom-Pecan Swirl Coffee Cake a go?
Another possible tweak is of the flavour profile. If cardamom is a spice too far – or you don’t have any – just use ground cinnamon for a cinnamon roll vibe!
Cupcakes! Yes, cardamom bun cake can be made in miniature. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases and fill about 3/4 full. Bake for around 30 minutes, or until golden and dry to the touch – but just!
Please see this post for information and advice on sugar replacements and other low-carb baking and cooking products that I use and recommend. This post contains affiliate links for Amazon UK. Buying on these links costs you no extra money and helps keep Food To Glow running. Thank you!
Let me know if you make this Coffeehouse Cardamom Bun Cake in the comments below, and by hitting the star rating below the thumbnail in the recipe card. And if you share a pic on Instagram or Facebook, tag me so I can see it and, depending on your privacy settings, share it too!
Cardamom Bun Cake (lower carb)
Super-moist yogurt cake with all the flavours of a Swedish cardamom bun
- 150 g Greek yogurt thick and full-fat preferred
- 3 large eggs room temp
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp pure almond extract or 1 tsp vanilla
- 40 g butter melted; or ghee, coconut oil or mild olive oil
- 200 g fine almond flour
- 75 g granulated erythritol see notes
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- .35 tsp salt
- 1 tsp ground cardamom Or 4 pods, seeds finely ground
- 3 tbsp 'brown sugar' erythritol see notes
- 40 g powdered erythritol see notes
- 1 tbsp almond milk
- .5 tsp ground cardamom pr 2 pods, seeds finely ground
- .25 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tbsp flaked almonds toasted for 10 minutes in the preheating oven until lightly golden
Preheat the oven to 160C fan/350F. Line a loaf tin with non-stick parchment paper
Add all cake ingredients to a medium mixing bowl and whisk together with electric hand beaters for 2 minutes. Start slowly then gradually increase the speed.
Stir together the spice layer ingredients.
Scrape one third of the batter into the lined tin. Sprinkle on half of the spice mix. Add another third of the batter and sprinkle over remaining spice mix. Cover with the remaining batter and gently smooth the top.
Place the tin in the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a cooling/baking rack until room temperature.
Add all dry ingredients to a small mixing bowl, gradually mixing in the almond milk to make a thick but spreadable icing that will gently tumble down the sides of the cake. Sprinkle over the toasted flaked almonds.
Cinnamon Roll variation: make this more of a cinnamon roll cake if you wish by swapping out the ground cardamom for cinnamon.
Sugar version: swap out the erythritol for granulated and powdered real sugar, adding a little less than called for to account for sugar's sweeter taste.
Buttercream icing: Beat 40g of soft butter with 80g confectioner's sugar and spices, adding a few drops of milk as necessary. This will be a spreadable rather than "draping".
Keeping: Store in an airtight container or closely wrapped. This cake will keep well for up to three days in a cool kitchen. Store in the fridge if your kitchen is above 18C to slow any spoilage or if keeping beyond three days. Sliced cake may be frozen. Defrost at room temperature.