Not all cakes need to be fancy. In fact, sometimes the only thing that will hit the spot is a nice plain cake, nothing too sweet or overwhelming but definitely flavourful and moist. This is that cake. A great all rounder that’s easy to whip up and goes perfectly with a nice cup of tea. It stores well and retains its moistness thanks to the use of yogurt. I love the scent and flavour of cardamom and the quantities below will give you a subtle hint of it but if you want more intensity then double the amount, which is what I’ll do next time. You’ll also get a more intense cardamom flavour if you pound the seeds from fresh cardamom pods rather than using ground cardamom from a jar.
Ingredients Adapted from Rachel Allen
250 g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225 g caster sugar
Juice and finely grated zest of 1 small orange
1 teaspoon freshly ground cardamom seeds (from about 12–14 pods) or 1 tsp ready- ground cardamom
225 ml natural yogurt – I just measured 1 cup
350 g plain flour
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
for the icing
225 g icing sugar, sifted
¼ teaspoon ready-ground cardamom or the ground seeds of 5 cardamom pods
2 – 2½ tablespoon natural yogurt
Preheat the oven to 180C and butter a bundt tin well. If you’re using a standard type of cake tin, butter the sides and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Cream the butter until soft in a large bowl or in an electric food mixer. Add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy.
Next, beat in the orange juice and zest and the ground cardamom. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition, then mix in the yogurt. Next sift in the flour, baking powder and salt, folding in just until combined.
Tip the batter into the prepared tin and smooth the top with a spatula or palette knife. Bake the cake for 50–55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool for just 5 minutes, then, if using a bundt tin, place a wire rack on the top and invert the cake so it is upside down, then remove the tin, turn upright again and leave to cool on the wire rack.
As the cake cools, make the icing. Beat together the icing sugar, cardamom and 25ml of the yogurt, adding a tiny bit more yoghurt if the mixture seems too stiff. (It should be a thick drizzling consistency: too thin and the icing will slide off the cake – too thick and you won’t be able to drizzle it.)
Place the cake on a cake stand or serving plate, then drizzle the icing backwards and forwards from the centre to the outside of the cake in a zigzag pattern.