Caramel Cardamom Cake with Caramel Cardamom Brown Butter Frosting and Strawberry Gelée

Caramel Cardamom Cake with Caramel Cardamom Brown Butter Frosting and Strawberry Gelee

This cake was the November Daring Bakers’ challenge (hosted by Dolores, Alex, and Jenny). The recipe for the caramel cake and brown butter frosting was generously provided by Shuna Fish Lydon. I added ground cardamom to the cake batter, and flavored the butter with cardamom as well, by heating the butter with crushed cardamom pods. Caramel and cardamom are wonderful together! The cake promised to be sweet, very sweet. Thus, I decided to balance it with basically unsweetened strawberry gelée that I placed between the two cake layers as a filling (the cake was sliced horizontally in half). I also increased the amount of salt in both – cake and frosting. Fleur de sel would be nice in the frosting, but it could clog a piping tip, so I went with kosher salt instead. I piped the rosettes on the top of the cake and placed the little caramel cut-out flowers in the center of each rosette (the soft honey-cardamom caramels made earlier were rolled thinly between plastic wrap and used for these cut-outs). Such décor has to be chilled in the refrigerator to firm up, and placed on the cake right before serving.

How did the whole thing turn out? The flavor was marvelous! The caramel, brown butter, cardamom, and fresh strawberry flavor together made it sing, really. The cake itself was also delicious and moist. As for the frosting texture, I simply don’t favor icing sugar based frostings. I think the same flavored cream cheese frosting (to preserve the American style) would be better here. But, it’s all the matter of taste. If you, unlike me, like the icing sugar frostings, you are going to love this one.

The recipe is adapted from Shuna Fish Lydon’s.

Caramel Cardamom Cake Slice with Caramel Cardamom Brown Butter Frosting and Strawberry Gelée

Makes one 9-inch cake, about 12 serving

For the cake:

  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup caramel syrup (see the recipe below)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup milk, at room temperature

For the strawberry gelée:

  • 1 ½ cups strawberry puree (from fresh or previously frozen berries)
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp fine granulated sugar
  • 3 leaves of gelatin

For the caramel cardamom brown butter frosting:

  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 1 pound confectioner’s sugar, sifted
  • about ½ cup whipping cream (you might need a little bit more)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup caramel syrup (see the recipe below)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt or to taste

Make the cake:

Center an oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Butter one tall (2 – 2.5- inch deep) 9-inch round cake pan (springform pan works well). Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth, on medium speed. Gradually add the sugar and salt, cream until light and fluffy.

Slowly pour the room temperature caramel syrup into the bowl. Scrape down the bowl and increase the speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again, and beat the mixture until light and uniform.

Sift flour, cardamom, and baking powder together.

Turn the mixer to the lowest speed, and add one third of the dry ingredients. When incorporated, add the half of the milk, a little at a time. Add another third of the dry ingredients, then the other half of the milk and finish with the dry ingredients.
Take off the mixer and finish mixing by hand, use a spatula to do a few last folds, making sure the batter is uniform. Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan.

Place the cake pan on a cookie sheet or large baking pan. Bake until the cake is golden brown, the sides pull away from the pan and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean, for about 50-60 minutes. Cool the cake on a rack for 15 minutes before unmolding. Unmold the cake, cool completely on the rack before icing it.

The cake, well wrapped, will keep for three days at room temperature.

For the caramel syrup (it makes twice more than you will need for this cake, so, you can halve the recipe):

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup water (for “stopping” the caramelization process)

Make the caramel syrup:

Stir together the sugar, and ½ cup water in a high-sided medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves, then raise the heat to moderately high and boil without stirring, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush, until the syrup turns deep amber in color.

When color is achieved, take the pan of the heat and very carefully pour in the one cup of water (pour through a sieve to protect yourself from extremely hot splatter). It is very dangerous, so have long sleeves on and be prepared to step back.

Return to the medium heat and boil until it has reduced slightly and feels sticky between two fingers (obviously, wait for it to cool on a spoon before touching it), for about 4 minutes.

Note: For the safety reasons, have ready a bowl of ice water to plunge your hands into if any caramel should land on your skin.

Caramel Syrup

Make the strawberry gelée:

Line an 8-inch round cake pan with plastic wrap. Lightly oil-spray the wrap. Set aside.

In a small saucepan combine the strawberry puree, lemon juice, and sugar. Place the pan over medium-low heat and, stirring often, heat until the sugar dissolves. Meanwhile, place the gelatin leaves in a bowl with cold water and let them sit there for about 4 minutes. Then drain the leaves and put them into the saucepan with hot strawberry puree. Whisk to fully dissolve the gelatin. Pour into the plastic-lined baking pan and refrigerate. When completely cool, cover the pan with plastic wrap.

The gelée can be made up to two days in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

Make the caramel cardamom brown butter frosting:

Cook the butter with crushed cardamom pods until the butter is brown. Pour through a sieve, lined with cheesecloth, into a heatproof bowl. Set aside to cool.

Pour the cooled brown butter into a mixer bowl. Place the bowl onto the base of the stand mixer. Add the confectioner’s sugar a little at a time while mixing on medium speed. When the mixture looks too chunky to take any more, gradually add the caramel syrup. Continue adding the icing sugar alternating with the whipping cream until the all icing sugar has been incorporated and the frosting looks smooth and light. Mix in the salt.

Caramelized butter frosting will keep in the fridge for up to a month.

To smooth out from cold, microwave a bit, then mix with the paddle attachment until smooth and light again.

Assemble the cake:

Strawberry Gelée

Cut the cake horizontally in half. Unmold the gelée and place it carefully on the cut side of one cake layer. Place another cake layer (cut side down) on the top of the gelée. Spread the frosting over the top and sides of the cake, pushing the frosting between the layers to fill the gap around the gelée. Pipe the rosettes on the top if you wish. Serve.

The cake can be assembled several hours in advance. But if it’s stored longer, the strawberry juice from the gelée will color the cake layers. The cake will still taste good, but the presentation will slightly suffer.

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92 Responses to “Caramel Cardamom Cake with Caramel Cardamom Brown Butter Frosting and Strawberry Gelée”

  1. Wow. That is a stunning cake! It makes me want to make the recipe over again!

    And your photographs are impeccable! :-O

  2. Wow, I can’t believe how beautiful your cake looks like. Fabulous job.

  3. Gorgeous cake, as usual. I love the idea of strawberry gelée.

  4. Oh Vera, stop it! Just stop it! I’m running out of superlatives here with every post of yours that I read! :P

    That’s a stunning cake. I love what you did with it. The words ‘pretty’, ‘fun’ and ‘elegant’, come to mind.

  5. Oh, perfection!! I love how you’ve added the strawberry gelee layer to cut the sweetness of the caramel. And your masking is perfect too!! Simple yet stunning!!

  6. A delightful version! Your cake looks so pretty and perfect! great job!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  7. your twist on this cake is fabulous Vera. Fantastic!

  8. Wow yours is excellent it looks so elegant and perfect!!
    Great job, wish mine looked as good as this!!

  9. Hey! Wow, your cake looks gorgeous!

  10. Wonderful cake Vera! I really like the idea of a fruit gelee for this cake. I bet it balanced the sweetness well.

  11. Gorgeous! I love the variation of using ground cardomon (my favorite spice) and the Strawberry Gelee.

  12. You did that most beautiful job! Its gorgeous!

  13. Such a neatly iced cake and cut to perfection. Your cake looks delightful.

  14. Like Y said, I am running out of descriptions.:)
    But I always look forward to seeing your creations and I’m not disappointed this time as well.
    I liked the unsweetened filling to even out the sweetness of the cake.

  15. magnifique et raffiné ! tout pour plaire :)

  16. I love the creativity of this cake. I can almost taste it. Another winner, my friend.

  17. Ah, the gelee…now that is something I need to start using in my allergic kid’s cakes, truly beautiful!

  18. Those rosettes are amazing! Gorgeous cake!

  19. Your cake looks amazing. Neat idea with the cardamom! Wouldnt have thought of that but would love to try it.

  20. Oh my! This is such an inspiring creation. I bet the taste is well balanced. I wonder if gelatin powder will do? By the way, I love the new look of your website ^_^

  21. Of all of the caramel cakes I’ve looked at thus far, yours is by far the prettiest. The strawberry gelee adds a much needed burst of color, and I’m sure the flavor was wonderful. Great baking!

  22. Oh Vera… beautiful! What wonderful photos!

  23. Everything here is sooooo perfect, Vera… it is hard to tell we’re on a blog, a professional culinary magazine seems so much closer to reality!

  24. Perfection!!! Such a pleasure for the eyes and the tastebuds! Wonderful!

  25. So pretty, Vera.

  26. Love the combination of of cardamom and caramel, too. The strawberry gelee in the middle sounds great and looks so nice.

  27. What a beautiful cake. I must agree with you on the frosting- too sweet for me. The cake itself is fabulous on it’s own. Your addition of cardamom sounds delicious.

  28. Wow, what a beautiful combination! Makes me want to try this one again…

  29. So pretty and perfect! You even managed to spread out the buttercream in a smooth manner…wow! I totally agree on the buttercream, don’t like icing sugar based ones either.

  30. Stunning as always..the flavors of cardamom must have been heavenly!

  31. Wow, that strawberry middle was a stroke of genius. Beautiful cake, your photos are sooo beautiful!

  32. As always, your photos are fantastic, and the strawberry gelee is a very creative and beautiful touch!

  33. Absolutely gorgeous! Nice work and I love the addition of the cardamom. Good call.

  34. This has to be the most beautiful cake! I love the idea of the gelly and I love strawberry and cardamom!

  35. Wow just wow the most beautiful cake. The gelee sounds and looks delicious!

  36. The plating is so lovely, I love the polka dots. The flavors sound exotic, warm and altogether yummy :)!

  37. Your DB cake is absolutely magnificent! The strawberry gelee sounds like such a wonderful addition and I love the perfection of your icing. I’m learning a lot from all you wonderful bakers.

  38. Your cake is beautiful! Nice work on this challenge!!

  39. Vera – this is just stunning. I love love love the cardamom addition and the strawberry gelee is picture perfect.

  40. The cardamom, the strawberry, the gorgeous presentation and I’m sure the absolute explosion of flavor…gorgeous!

  41. What a gorgeous cake! I love the strawberry gelee. It all looks so perfect!

  42. What a stunningly gorgeous cake! I love your flavor combo too. Lovely!

  43. Amazing looking cake! I am so impressed and inspired!

  44. Thank you, everybody, for stopping by and leaving a comment! I’m so much obliged and flattered!

    Nikkita, sure, powdered gelatin can be used instead of leaves. One 1/4-oz powdered gelatin (7g/ 3tsp) equals 4 gelatin leaves. So, 2 and 1/4 tsp of powdered gelatin should do the trick here.

  45. This looks lovely. I wish I had paired my cake with something fresh and tart like strawberries, it sounds like a good choice.

  46. me ha encantado como la has aligerado con la gelatina de fresa..es un acierto y esta divina.Besos

  47. Bravo! You did a beautiful job.

  48. Your cake looks like a masterpiece, as do your marvelous photos! I love how you infused the cake and the frosting with your own flavors and ideas!

  49. wow your cake looks stunning

  50. Cardamom and caramel – delicious! And the strawberry gelee would be a nice contrast. Stunning!

  51. Simply stunning! I love the flavors that you used. Your photos make me wish I had participated this month!

  52. I wish I was able to make such a perfect frosting. I widh I could learn with you !
    Your job is fantastic !

  53. WOW WOW WOW What more can I say than WOW this cake is utterly marvelous . its so nice I m left without words. I like the combination of all these flavours yummy.

  54. vera outrageously good! that cake is a piece of art. well done!

  55. You made a beautiful cake–I love the idea of combining cardamom with the brown butter and caramel, and strawberry in the middle.

  56. your cake is stunning! i would honestly pay for this at a bakery. i love this filling. i bet it makes the caramel flavor really pop.

  57. This is the most ridiculous cake–ridiculous. I can’t fathom a DB did any better.

  58. Thank you all for your kind comments you left on my blog! I’m so grateful to everyone! Thank you very much!

  59. Beautiful!!! For me, this cake was too sweet (well, not the cake, just de frosting) and I think your strawberry geleé adds a wonderful fresh touch to this extra sweet frosting.

  60. I love your take on this cake Vera! Fabulous job as usual, and I always enjoy coming by to see whatever you make.

  61. Your cake turned out beautifully. I think I’m going to have to try making the strawberry filling for my next cake since strawberry is my absolute favorite fruit- especially in desserts.

  62. perfection. what else can i say? your unique gelee makes an already stupendous cake absolutely breathtaking. :)

  63. Looks marvelous. I would love a slice. I love the contrast in color and flavors. I think cardamom and strawberries are such a good combination.

  64. So professional looking!

  65. I love the caramel flowers! I also think the combination of strawberry and caramel sounds delicious.

  66. That is a beautiful cake! I loved the icing. Sorry you didn’t so much. I really like your presentation.

  67. This one, Vera is perfect (again)! I love everything: the elegant frosting, the strawberry gelee, the caramel flowers!
    I love caradamon: I always pair it with coffee (so good) and orange (classic), never event thought of a caramel association! Thanks for the idea :)

  68. What a great idea to add cardamom! I’ve just recently fallen in love with is, as my fiance is Norwegian and likes to have it added to bread and things. Your cake is perfect!

  69. WONDERFUL!!!
    I love the way you tweaked the recipe…

    Absolutely beautiful!

  70. HI , Vera ,, i am a serious reader for your blog , may be i did not got a chance to tell how i do appreciate your talent , i really like this blog from every aspect

    and for the cake i can say it is a boom i really liked the creativity of flavor blending ;)
    i think i got to do this cake quickly ,i know my husband fall in love with it he is a big cardamom fan :))

  71. congratulations on the DMBLGIT!! fab looking caramel cake!!

  72. Thank you, everybody, for your wonderful comments! I’m overwhelmed and deeply touched! Thank you!

  73. Great idea!!! strowberry gellé is fresh and acid, the opposite to caramel. good flavor and the photo iss wonderful!!

    Ana

  74. This cake looks so yummy! Delicious! I like the taste of cardamom, combined with caramel… Fantastic!
    Come to know me in Chocorango, delicious like chocolate with strawberry!

    echocorango.blogspot.com

  75. You’re one true baking artist! This is gorgeous!!!
    I will want to make this recipe, like Tonight!

    Thanks for posting!

  76. First time here at your site and I love it. I want to have the cake right now. Could you tell me how much would be 1 leaf of gelatin? Thanks…

  77. Poornima, thank you very much. One 1/4-oz powdered gelatin (7g/ 3tsp) equals 4 gelatin leaves. So, 2 and 1/4 tsp of powdered gelatin should be enough for this particular recipe.

  78. I know this is late in the game, but can you tell me how you made those cute little caramel flowers?

    I am planning on making a birthday cake for a good friend and this sounds so different and perfect! Thanks a bunch!

  79. Jeni, I rolled the caramel very thinly between two plastic bags (you can use plastic wrap instead), then cut out flowers using a small cookie cutter. I placed these cut-outs in the fridge to firm up and decorated the cake right before serving. Happy Birthday to your friend!

  80. What other fruits can be used for the Gellé, and for it to still taste and look good?? I want to make it, but I don’t have Strawberries at the moment.. We ran out >..<

  81. Would Strawberry marmalade work in place of the Strawberry puree?

  82. Ana, marmalade is not a substitution here; you can use any other unsweetened berry (raspberry, blackberry) puree. It’s OK to use frozen berries for this purpose.

  83. ohh okk Thank Youu!

  84. What a wonderful looking recipe! I would like to try this with a cream cheese frosting because I am not a fan of icing sugar frostings either.
    Do you have any recommendations on how I could change the frosting recipe?

    Also, do you think maple syrup instead of caramel syrup could work? I’ve got a lot of it up here in Canada and the most adorable little maple leaf cutter. But I’m still a little new to cakes and wouldn’t want to mess up the flavor.

  85. Frances, thank you! Sorry, I missed your comment… I can’t see why the maple syrup wouldn’t work, although the flavor sure will be different. For the cream cheese frosting you could just use a combo of cream cheese (8 oz), brown sugar (1/2 cup), butter (1 stick), and maple syrup (1/4 cup), for example.

  86. Beautiful a work of art! I’m looking for a receive similar to this but one where I can use dulce de leche instead.

  87. i love this cake but i don’t know how can do that i can’t put gelle in top cake can u help me

  88. Afra, you can place (make sure it’s centered) the bottom cake layer over the gelee circle and then flip them together so your gelee is on top, remove plastic.

  89. Where can I get “leaves of gelatin or gelatin sheets”? There’s not in regular grocery stores.

  90. Spring, you always can find these gelatin sheets in European deli stores, German for sure (I assume you are in North America?). Or you can buy them online in specialty pastry/bakery supplies stores.

  91. Wonderful cake, definetly am going to make it.I have just one question. I would like to make a light cream cheese frosting, meaning not too sweet. You gave a recipe above for a cream cheese frosting, mentioning one stick of butter, how much gram is this. (i am from Europe)

    Thanx

  92. Hey, I found out about the stick of butter measurement myself, but i would like to make a cream cheese frosting, but with the caramel syrup from this recipe. Could you give me the recipe for the frosting? I saw you gave one allready , but with maple syrup, but i really want to have the caramel taste.

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