Cardamom Cake

Cakes have a long and fascinating history around the world — from the Greeks who first made cake with butter, eggs, nuts and honey to the Americans, who invented cake mixes during the Great Depression. Cakes are quite rare in India, however, as most homes are not equipped with ovens. My mother, the perennial tinkerer, had rigged a ring-shaped “oven” that sat on top of a gas stove. Two or three times a year, she would make a cardamom cake that my brothers and I would tear into warm and finish in minutes. To this day, it is one of my favorite food memories — and when I make cake at home in Houston, I like it small, buttery and fragrant with cardamom. This recipe goes a step further and is made with ghee, which gives it a nuttier aroma.

makes ~4 servings


2 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar, plus 1/4 cup


Grated zest of 2 oranges

¾ cup all purpose flour, sifted or whisked

½ teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

¼ cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons melted ghee (see note)

¼ cup sliced almonds

1 pint blackberries

½ pint blueberries

Unsweetened cream, for serving

Mint leaves, for garnish (optional)



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, pinch of salt and orange zest until foamy and smoothly blended. Whisk in the flour, baking powder and ground cardamom.

  2. Whisk in the heavy cream and the melted ghee. Fold in the sliced almonds. Pour the batter into a baking dish (6-by-6, 6-by-8 or 8-by-8-inch) or ovenproof skillet and bake for 20 minutes. Spread the blackberries and blueberries toward the periphery of the cake, sprinkle ¼ cup sugar and a pinch of salt and place the pan back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Serve warm with plain unsweetened cream

ideas / variations

  • If you don’t have ghee, you can substitute butter or even olive oil.