Do you occasionally find yourself buying a new spice for a certain recipe, then letting it sit for eons in your spice cupboard because you just don’t find yourself using it frequently enough? Spices can be spendy, waste is no fun! If you happen to have cardamom on hand that just isn’t getting used, scroll on: this post will feature 15 delicious dessert recipes, all of which have cardamom in the ingredient list.
I grew up on Finnish pulla, which we called “nisu” (the name used for it when my ancestors immigrated). Anyone who has eaten pulla is familiar with the warm, sweet-but-spicy, aromatic flavor of cardamom! Cardamom is a mainstay spice of Nordic baking, especially Finnish and Swedish sweet breads like pulla. Pulla isn’t featured in the list below, so if you’ve never had it, check it out here.
Cardamom is also used frequently in Indian & Middle Eastern cuisine, in both sweet & savory dishes. This post features several Indian dishes, as well as one Swahili one. The role of cardamom in the recipes in this post varies: in some, it’s the main flavor; in others, it is one of several spices. Cardamom tends to play really well with other warm spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.
Did you know?
Cardamom comes in pods or ground, in black, green, and white varieties, but white is actually the same plant as green (it’s been bleached with light). The familiar flavor comes from green cardamom: black is much stronger and smokier. Ground cardamom is convenient, but buying pods and grinding it yourself with a mortar and pestle will yield fresher, stronger flavor. Cardamom has been nicknamed “The Queen of Spices”, and after trying a few of these desserts that use cardamom, I think you’ll see why.
Desserts that Use Cardamom
Finnish Sour Cream Cake is one of my favorite recipes on my blog. It’s quick, it’s easy, it looks super impressive, and it’s delicious! I love the orange glaze, but in Finland, it’s typically served with just a dusting of powdered sugar. Either way, you can’t go wrong–make this your next contribution to a potluck or a coffee table. Everyone will assume you worked a lot harder than you did.
I got the sense that cardamom and cinnamon would pair well with buttery, tender shortbread, and I have to say, I was right. These also come together really easily! Use your nicer butter and vanilla, you will be happy you did.
These are called kanelbullar in Sweden. Who needs to be sold on a cinnamon bun?! These are gorgeous and fluffy. In this version, the cardamom joins the cinnamon and brown sugar in the filling.
I am obsessed with brown butter, I am intrigued by these cookies, and I can’t wait to explore this blog further. In addition to cardamom and brown butter, these are flavored with cinnamon and chocolate.
These maple glazed cardamom sugar cookies combine the warm flavor of cardamom with a classic sugar cookie, and then they’re topped with a sweet maple glaze.
This delicious applesauce spice cake is the perfect bake for fall! It’s loaded with heart warming spices, applesauce and fresh apple pieces. It’s fantastic on its own or topped with frosting or a cream cheese maple glaze.
Cinnamon, cardamom, cake, and cream cheese frosting?! I, for one, am sold. These just scream “fall dessert”.
There is just something undeniably delicious about the orange/cardamom combination! This cake also features olive oil and almonds, for an array of wonderful flavors.
These tasty cardamom-spiced apple fritters make for another delicious fall dessert…although honestly, I find an apple fritter delicious any time of year. These are a more health-conscious indulgence as well, made with spelt flour and sweetened with maple syrup.
Of all the gorgeous desserts that use cardamom featured on this list, I think I’m the most intrigued by these! The macaron is infused with cardamom, and the filling is made of sweet fig puree.
This Starbucks-inspired Chocolate Chai Latte is a delicious cup of spiced hot chocolate: aromatic from the cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and super creamy and warming, it’s done in under 10 minutes! The perfect cozy drink for fall or winter.
Mahamri is a triangular-shaped bun or donut, made using all-purpose flour, yeast, coconut milk, and sugar as key ingredients. It is popular in the East African countries of Kenya and Tanzania and is normally served for breakfast with chai (tea) or mbaazi (pigeon peas cooked in coconut milk). Cardamom is a key spice in this traditional Swahili sweet.
Phirni is an Indian rice pudding dessert-it is grainy and creamy, and this mango version, also flavored with cardamom and pistachios, is perfect for summer!
This saffron and cardamom-flavored eggless sponge cake is soaked in rich and creamy sweetened rasmalai milk. It is then topped with a layer of whipped cream frosting, pistachios, and rose petals!
Today I learned that India also has a traditional shortbread-like cookie! These are tender, rich, and light, flavored with cardamom and pistachios. The blog these are from is focused on vegetarian recipes, so check it out if you prefer to eat vegetarian!
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Are you feeling inspired by all these desserts that use cardamom? I know I am! Which are catching your eye? Let me know in the comments!