Posts Tagged 'cardamom'

Pipe Dream #46: To Be Super Chill Like My Fictional Antithesis

Ok, this is my new favorite photograph. Isn’t it your new favorite photograph too?

I took it at a wedding. A very lovely, classy wedding. I happened to make the cupcakes for it.

All of the decorations were darling. It made taking pictures so easy. My work was practically done for me.

I was worried that because I was doing four different cupcakes, they would look too eclectic and disorganized. I was wrong. World 2 Lauren 0.

Despite the heavy rain that hit the cardboard carriers, the heat that threatened to dislodge the cream cheese icing and the severe knots in my back that resulted from watching a box of cupcakes flip over when I had to slam on the brakes in the middle of I-94 (so not my fault), everything went off pretty well. The cupcakes in that box got totally smoked by the way. I may not recover. Strike that. I’m recovered, but the knots remain.

Incidentally, I feel that I finally understand Buddy Valastro and the stress of moving cakes. It is legitimately the most worrisome thing. And I even like baking.

It is in times like these that I think of the perfect person. It is the person who is the exact opposite of me. The grass is always greener, eh? Anyway, this fictional antithesis of myself would never get stressed out about things like this. He is super chill. Maybe he just doesn’t care what people think of him. Actually, I know that is true. It means he rarely worries about how things are going to turn out.

Despite the smoking, the remaining cupcakes were just fine. People took them anyway. I know because I was watching the table like a hawk from the corner of my eye. No, of course I wasn’t feeling the pressure. Silly.

For this wedding, I made four different types of cupcakes. I made the most delicious strawberry cupcakes with a strawberry buttercream.

I made a gluten free dark chocolate cherry cupcake with almond buttercream, the recipe for which is soon to come. I particularly appreciated this recipe. The cake was moist and happy! Unlike some other gluten free bricks of cake, which are lame.

There was also an adaption of my honey poached pear cupcakes with a cream cheese cardamom frosting and candied ginger. They were mini and cute. Anything mini is cute. Like mini tea sets. Or mini rose-colored whale pendants that you find at antique stores for two dollars.

And finally, key lime cupcakes with coconut cream cheese frosting. Marvy.

How happy these people look. They don’t know they are on my blog probably. I particularly like the expression of the guy on the top middle. He seems to be saying, “Whaddya know? A cupcake just did sure show up in my hand.” Smile smile smile.

Thanks forever to David and Becca. What a beautiful story and a beautiful wedding. I am excited to see them use their creative talents together. If you are ever in the neighborhood and are looking for a church, check out Mill City.

Chillaxing like a hippie until the next wedding,


Pipe Dream #39: To Make Something Original – Coconut Lime Cardamom Scones

Oh scones, how often I write about thee. I never even knew I made scones so often until I started this blog. But they seem to be a recurring character in the story of my life.I say the phrase “story of my life” at least once a day. It’s my way of giving a nod to empathy while making any situation about me. I’m working on it. Until heaven, I’m really, really sorry.

All the family I have are word nuts. Both sides. You know it is bad when we spend an entire evening arguing the proper use of apostrophe to pluralize ‘s’ names.

The paper looked something like this:







The Chavalas’s went to the park.

The Chavalas’ dog is named Rufus.

Rufus is the dog of the Chavalases.


There was more, but I won’t burden you. I don’t even remember the consensus. All of this is to say that sometimes I struggle with how to use words. I have Italian, French and German floating around in my head. Should I pronounce the word ‘niche’ like neesh or nitch? Scone or scon?

Usually, I switch off. Like, I’ll say scone one time and scon the next. Or worse, I’ll switch it depending on who I’m speaking with (that last is the worst grammar ever). Like if I’m talking to the French foreign exchange student my family knows, I’ll say scon because it sounds more European. Lame, I know.

And seriously, I don’t think this hard about how I say things or how you say things all the time, just some of the time.  Anyway. I made these scones for the Royal Wedding. I stayed up real late and my kitchen looked like this:

But it was worth it.

I decided to try some diverse flavors because we were being so cosmopolitan watching Anglos hitch themselves. The 818 Boys brought over cardamom pods, and I figured they wouldn’t mind if the flavor combination was weird. I was too lazy to grind up the cardamom, so I just used so pre-ground stuff I had. In retrospect, they could have used more cardamom. It didn’t quite pop like I wanted. But! No one has ever combined these flavors before. I googled it. This might be because I am super creative or super weird. I am leaving that up for interpretation.

They were ok. A bit more dry than the Perfect Lemon Scones I usually make. Because there were going to be a ton of people over to view the British nuptials (what a horrid word), I made two batches of scones. For the second, I made Perfect Lemon Scones, taking out all of the lemon and adding cinnamon. And they were great.

I know this is a late post, but as we all know, Royal Weddings never really die…

Have a smashing day,


Coconut Lime Cardamom Scones

Adapted from Sugar Duchess

1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour

3 tablespoons sugar

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into pieces

3/4 cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 egg

zest from 3 limes

2 teaspoons cardamom

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Add the cold butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the flaked coconut.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Add to the dry ingredients, and stir just until the dough comes together. Knead gently a couple of times, and shape into an 8″ circle. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Do use parchment paper. I’ve tried scones without it, and it has never turned out well. Too burny. Cut into 10 wedges or eight, and separate the wedges slightly.

Bake for about 15-16 minutes, or until they are golden brown. These are best if eaten within a couple of hours after removing from the oven.

Pipe Dream #28: To Make Cupcakes Healthy – Carrot Cardamom Cupcakes with Citrus Mascarpone

So those Maple and Pecan Cupcakes I told you about before? These cupcakes are from that book. This is one of the more interesting flavors in it I would say. Cardamom is so awesome. Pairing it with citrus and carrots? Neato.

A word on cardamom. Please try it. I discovered its virtues on a trip to a farmer’s market up north with Rachel. This charming little boy was selling cardamom bread out of the back of a truck. We asked him where his parents were, then watched benevolently, unresisting as he snatched our cash and stuffed it in his pocket with sly eyes. Ok, so nix the sly eyes part, but that little boy knew how to work a crowd. It would have been a totally unfair play on our hearts except that he was only nine and the bread was fantastic. And we made cardamom bread french toast.

Cardamom is kind of like nutmeg or cinnamon in that you would use it in sort of the same way, like in bread or cookies. Or at least, in my limited knowledge of cardamom, I’ve seen it used that way.

All this to say that these cupcakes are flavorful and interesting. And bonus, they are practically healthy. I am using that word pretty liberally, but let’s be real: there are carrots involved. And mascarpone is the health nut’s version of cream cheese frosting. Um, sort of.

Healhty cupcakes will forever remain a pipe dream, but I’m posting about it anyway,


Carrot and Cardamom Cupcakes with Citrus Mascarpone

Adapted from Cupcakes by Susannah Blake

For the cupcakes:

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

2/3 cup sunflower oil (or whatever, I used canola)

2 eggs

grated zest of one orange

seeds from 5 cardamom pods, crushed (or just grate some, or buy an ounce pre-grated)

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

2 carrots, grated (about one cup)

1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped

For the frosting:

5 ounces mascarpone

finely grated zest of one orange

1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice

1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the ove to 350° F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Put the sugar in a bowl and then beat in the oil and eggs. Stir in the orange zest, crushed cardamom seeds and ginger, then sift the flour into the mixture and fold in, followed by the carrots and nuts. Spoon the mixture into muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes until risen and golden and a skewer in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To decorate, beat the mascarpone, zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar together in a bowl and spread over the cupcakes.

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