Having drunk one too many cups of coffee in my (short lived) office life, it’s not something that passes my lips often. I love the smell, the taste and that pure comfort feeling that washes over you with the first sip. But too much makes me feel jittery – and my sensitive gut too. I’ve learnt it’s best to get my coffee fix from somewhere else, and what better way than a sweet, fragrant, coffee and cardamom cake?
January can be a cold, dark month (it was 11 degrees C in our single glazed bedroom last night!) and I’m constantly on the look out for things to eat and drink that make me feel physically and emotionally(!) warm. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices for doing just that and paired here with coffee in a simple loaf cake, it’s the perfect antidote for slower, tougher days. The gluten free cake batter is incredibly easy to make, with no fuss needed. It travels well, making it the ideal treat to take to friends who might be needing a little pick me up and it’s low FODMAP too; easier on the gut if it’s feeling a little sluggish.
Ground almonds help make the cake light and moist, boosting flavour alongside the yogurt, which also provides that delicious tang and changes things from a layer cake to a loaf cake – if you know what I mean. I love a not-too-sweet icing, so have used cream cheese instead of butter. Because of that, it’s a runnier than usual, so I prefer to serve it alongside the loaf. Creamy, silky and tangy, it’s a partnership made in heaven.
For the cake:
175g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
75g golden caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 tablespoons lactose free yogurt, room temperature
125g gluten free plain flour
50g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon ground cardamom (from 8 or so pods)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
For the icing:
150g lactose free cream cheese
5 tablespoons icing sugar
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
Preheat your oven to 160C/gas mark 3. Grease a 900g (2lb) loaf tin and line with baking parchment. In a stand mixer, or in large bowl using electric beaters, cream the butter with the two sugars for about 5 minutes, or until pale and fluffy. Scraping down the sides of the bowl every now and then with a rubber spatula will ensure that the ingredients are evenly and thoroughly creamed. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla and the yogurt (make sure it’s really at room temp or it could cause the batter to split).
Fold in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, ground cardamom and salt, mixing until the batter is smooth. Dissolve the coffee granules in two tablespoons of hot water and stir into the cake. Spoon the cake batter in your prepared tin and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, make the icing. Place the cream cheese in a bowl and sift over the icing sugar. Dissolve the coffee granules in one tablespoon hot water and pour over the cream cheese mixture. Whisk together for a couple of minutes until silky and smooth, then chill until needed. Either spread the icing over the cooled cake just before serving, or serve it in a bowl next to the cake and allow people to spoon over themselves.
The cake will keep for several days, well wrapped at room temperature.