A few years before the iconic Swedish bakery Fabrique opened its New York outpost in 2019, I had my first cardamom bun (and first experience with its namesake spice) in one of Fabrique’s Stockholm locations while studying abroad in Europe. Sitting in that cozy bakery on a sunny but bone-chilling February morning, I fell in love with the warm, herbal profile of cardamom as I savored every bite of the sugar-crusted, intricately woven pastry and wondered why I had settled for cinnamon all these years. Today, I still consider it a godsend that I can just go across town, rather than across the ocean, to get my hands on the bakery’s iconic buns.
Despite my relatively newfound affinity for cardamom, I realized that I didn’t actually encounter it much in my daily life. Cardamom-flavored pastries are still a rare find in the average bakery case, and until recently, I never stocked a jar of the spice at home. My spice and seasonings drawer has always been filled to capacity (hello, New York living), and besides, I’d always thought of cardamom as a nice-to-have ingredient rather than a kitchen staple. But after cross-testing a cardamom-infused syrup recipe a few weeks ago, I decided it was time to make room for the important things — even if it meant shelling out a few extra bucks and finding a place for the cardamom in a separate drawer with the coffee pods.
After cracking open the fragrant jar, the first treat I developed was this spring-ready cardamom-raspberry cake — it’s as easy to make for Easter brunch as it is for a random weeknight craving. The aromatic cake base is made with a healthy dose of ground cardamom and utilizes a mixture of all-purpose and white rice flours to create a unique, tender-but-structured crumb. When swirled with half-mashed raspberries, the tangy cream cheese frosting transforms into a creamy, playfully pink glaze that complements the herbal undertones of the cardamom without edging into cloyingly sweet territory. Although I originally doubled the amount of frosting, I quickly found that the ratio overwhelmed the flavor of cardamom (and the cake in general). The frosting recipe as it stands may not seem to yield a lot, but you’ll discover that less is more, and helps to achieve a balanced result.
Topped off with a handful of whole raspberries, this pretty-in-pink cake is fun and elegant, simple and surprisingly complex, and just as good as it looks — cardamom and sweet-tart berries are a winning flavor combination made for spring and the warmer weather. And now that I’ve stocked up on the magical spice, cardamom-scented goods are only an arm’s length away, no plane or subway ride required.
Cardamom Cake with Tangy Raspberry Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 1 (8-by-8-inch) cake
For the cardamom cake:
¾ cup (105 grams) all-purpose flour
⅓ (packed) cup plus 2 tablespoons (90 grams) white rice flour (not glutinous or sweet rice flour;