Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange Pound Cake


Oh my god, this was so good. I think this is the best cake i’ve ever made. I think this will be my signature cake, you know, if I ever need a signature cake.

I wasn’t even sure this was going to turn out as I basically combined two recipes, substituted some ingredients and just hoped for the best. It’s a little spicy, very vanilla-y, with a little hit of citrus.

This cake uses cheese! Intriguing! But, instead of all ricotta cheese, I used one cup of mascarpone and 1/2 cup of ricotta — but you could use all ricotta (what the original recipe with the cheese called for if you wanted to). I just had the marscapone on hand and I wanted to use it.

The cake has a light texture and a wonderful flavor. It doesn’t even need a glaze or powdered sugar!

Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange Pound Cake
A combination of two recipes — an orange ricotta pound cake by Giada De Laurentiis and a vanilla cardamom pound cake in Gourmet magazine
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, freshly ground (or just use ground cardamom)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature (plus more for the pan)
1 cup (8 oz) mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of 1 orange
2 tbsp milk (fat-free is fine)

cardamom seeds
Cardamom seeds — I ground these in a spice grinder. You can also just use pre-ground cardamom

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a bundt pan or a 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan with a little butter. Actually, here I used the Pam for baking (butter + flour in a can) because I kind of love it…I’m not sure why. Anyway, in a medium bowl combine the flour, ground cardamom, baking powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

I accidentally added the orange zest after creaming but before the eggs…no biggie…it still worked!

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, mascarpone, ricotta, and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running, add the eggs 1 at a time.


Add the vanilla (seeds & extract), orange zest, and milk until combined.


Add the dry ingredients, a small amount at a time, until just incorporated.


Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick comes out clean and the cake is beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 45 to 50 minutes.


Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


You might not make it to “completely”…just do the best that you can. It is pretty good warm!





I finally got my Alton Brown poster up on the back of the basement door. It looks good and guards over the kitchen like a benevolent, science-y mascot!

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8 Replies to “Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange Pound Cake”

  1. For some reason, I’m lovin’ cardamom right now! My cardamom-saffron ice cream came out really good but cardamom is soooo tricky to get just the right amount of spice.
    Your cake looks like a winner!

  2. Orange and Cardamom with hints of vanilla, sounds delicious. I too am enjoying the flavours of cardamon at the moment. This hits the spot. I am looking forward to trying this recipe next time I have guests for tea. Thanks for this recipe.

  3. John: Oh, nice sounding ice cream! I agree, cardamom can be tricky. In fact if there’s too much, I find it unpleasant. This seemed to be a very good amount in this cake! 🙂
    Lorna: Thank you! If you try it I hope you like it! 🙂

  4. I really want to use this recipe to make a fondant cake for someone. Would it be overly sweet with a thin layer of vanilla buttercream? Do you think it would be just as yummy without the vanilla in the cake? The person I’m making it for doesn’t love vanilla and I thought cardamom orange sounded good too. But maybe it’s just not the same without that vanilla in there. Would it be better to take out the extract OR the beans? I have to say I don’t know what flavor vanilla beans have so I’m not sure…. Also is it a soft cake or more dense like traditional pound?

  5. Hi Grace:
    I think it could work with vanilla butter cream, especially if you leave some of the vanilla out of the cake. You could just use extract in the cake and leave the bean out (they’re kind of expensive and if you don’t have one on hand, you may as well just use the extract).
    It’s more dense like a traditional pound cake. I say give it a try and experiment. 🙂

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