As much as I have loved the wintery melancholy of the Dutch weather over the years, my heart all of a sudden craves all things warm. Where I roam the streets in just a light dress and Indian slippers. Where I feel free. Winter and a very mild spring this year leaves little room for feeling free. The ever many constraints of volumes of clothing have made me feel almost claustrophobic.
Summer with its never ending amounts of bounty left me spell bound during my India trip this year. For so long, while I lived in India, many moons ago, I craved to leave and see the world. I suddenly find myself longing to go back. To explore more of its unsurmountable beauty. The warmth and generosity of it people. And the crazy variety in its food.
I was lucky to host my first food photography workshop at Coorg just a few months ago. The area is so rich in its bio diversity that it is difficult to keep up. The last year or so I have been fascinated with plants and flowers and using them as an important element in my photography and I could help but fantasise about living in such a rich area with not just its plants but also its spices.
The resort where the workshop took place has done a fantastic job of keeping the resort in line with its surroundings. Every detail carefully thought out. I feel in love with it!
The cardamom comes from their tiny shop on the premises of the Orange County Resorts. I have always been in love with cardamom and this particular brand is the of the highest quality.
Did you know that cardamom is used a natural mouth fresher? Just put one cardamom in your mouth and suck on it for hours. It gives a lovely fragrance!
- For the Cardamom Cake
- 350 grams all purpose flour
- 4 large eggs + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 200 grams butter, at room temperature
- 350 grams sugar
- 125 grams sour cream
- 180 ml milk, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsps baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsps crushed cardamom ( I used Malabar Coast, but you can use any good quality cardamom pods)
- For the Rosewater Honey Buttercream
- 4 large egg whites
- 300 grams sugar
- 400 grams butter, softened
- ½ tsp salt
- Pinch cream of tartar
- 1½ tbsps vanilla extract
- 5 tbsps honey
- 2 tbsps rosewater
- For the cake, preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Butter and flour, three 6” circular cake pans. Tap the pans to dump out the excess flour.
- Combine the flour, cardamom, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Mix the milk and vanilla together in a large measuring cup.
- Add the butter and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream the butter on low until blended. Increase the speed to high and beat until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce speed to medium-low and add the eggs one at a time, beating until combined after each addition.
- With the mixer on low, alternate adding ¼ of the flour mixture followed by ⅓ of the liquid mixture, beating until combined after each addition. Scrape the bowl with a spatula between additions.
- Divide batter between cake pans and smooth with a spatula. Bake until golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
- Cool the cakes for 15 minutes and then carefully turn out on a wire rack to cool completely.
- For the buttercream, in a double boiler, heat the eggs with the sugar. Make sure to use a metal bowl. Glass holds heat and you’ll eventually want this mixture to cool. Whisk the eggs and the sugar so the sugar dissolves completely.
- After it’s heated to 160ºF/70°C, (or the sugar is completely melted) whip the mixture until stiff peaks form.
- Once you have stiff peaks and the bowl is cool to the touch, start adding the soft butter.
- Once all the butter is incorporated, beat on high until the meringue becomes smooth and fluffy, about 8 minutes. Mix in the vanilla extract, rosewater and honey, about 1 minute more.
- To assemble the cake, first level all the cakes. Place the cake on a cake stand dome-side up. Using a serrated knife, move the knife back and forth in a sawing motion to remove the crown. Keep the knife level as you cut. Repeat with the other cakes.
- Place the first layer of cake on a stand. Spread approximately one cup of buttercream on the cake and spread it around evenly with an offset spatula. Add more buttercream as needed to reached the desired thickness. Repeat with the second and third layer. Use an offset spatula to apply a thin layer of frosting to the side and top of the cake. Decorate as desired.