Lemon Cardamom Cake

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This beautiful lemon cardamom cake is delicate, light, moist, intensely citrusy and not overly sweet. The ground cardamom adds subtle floral and minty notes and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios adds just the right amount of crunch to this refreshing summer afternoon treat.

lemon cardamom cake

I adapted the recipe for this cake from Ina Garten but cut the sugar and lemon zest a bit and added cardamom to the batter because I love the floral and slightly minty notes it adds.

How to make lemon cardamom cake step by step:

The preparation of this recipe is very straight forward, you begin by preparing a loaf pan: line the bottom of the pan with a piece of parchment paper, then grease the pan well, sprinkle flour into it and shake out the excess.

To make the batter you start beating 8 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar until creamy, then beat in 2 eggs and 1.5 tablespoons lemon zest for some intense lemon flavor.

1 teaspoon ground cardamom goes into your dry ingredients along with the usual suspects: 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

how to make lemon cardamom cake step by step

For the wet ingredients you mix together 1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons plain yogurt, 6 tablespoons lemon juice, 4 teaspoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

With the mixer running, you gradually beat the dry and wet ingredients into the butter mix, alternating between the two, until you have a smooth batter.

how to make lemon cardamom cake step by step

The cake needs to bake for 45 to 50 minutes and will make your kitchen smell delicious!

I glazed the loaf with a simple lemon glaze (1 cup powdered sugar and 5 teaspoons lemon juice) and then sprinkled chopped pistachios on, both for their visual appeal but also to add some crunch and a great texture contrast to the delicate, light and airy cake.

how to make lemon cardamom cake step by step

More delicious desserts with cardamom:

lemon cardamom cake
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4.41 from 5 votes

Lemon Cardamom Cake

This lemon cardamom cake is delicate, delicious, full of citrus flavors and makes for a refreshing summer afternoon treat. The recipe is simple and easy to follow.
This recipe is for one 8.5 inch x 4.25 inch x 2.5 inch loaf pan.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr 5 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keyword: lemon cake, lemon cardamom cake
Servings: 6
Calories: 520kcal


For the cake:

  • vegetable shortening to grease the loaf pan
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 tablespoons lemon zest from organic lemons (you need 4 – 5 lemons for that)
  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup + 2 teaspoons plain, whole milk yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 teaspoons lemon juice, or more, depending on the humidity in your kitchen
  • chopped pistachios


For the cake:

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cut a piece of parchment paper and fit into the bottom of an 8.5 inch x 4.25 inch x 2.5 inch loaf pan. Secure it to the bottom of the pan with a few dabs of vegetable shortening. 
  • Grease the pan well with vegetable shortening (including the surface of the parchment bottom), sprinkle flour into the pan and then shake out the excess.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes).
  • Add the eggs and continue to beat until well incorporated and smooth.
  • Beat in the lemon zest.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt and cardamom. Set aside.
  • In another bowl, whisk lemon juice, yogurt, milk and vanilla together. Set aside.
  • Beat the dry and wet ingredients into the butter mix, little by little, alternating between the two and starting with the dry ingredients. Beat until you have a very smooth and creamy-looking batter.
  • Fill the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 -50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Once the pan is cool enough to handle, run a knife around the edges to to loosen the cake from the sides of the pan. Unmold the cake and then let it cool completely.

For the glaze:

  • Whisk the two ingredients together and keep adding lemon juice until you have a slow-moving icing.
  • Drizzle the icing on the cake and sprinkle the chopped pistachios on.


Calories: 520kcal

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lemon cardamom cake


  1. Moray says:

    Have made this cake many, many times. Love the recipe with the touch of cardamom with lemon. Beautiful loaf with a difference. I usually use Greek yogurt. Definitely a favourite recipe,

  2. Nagi@RecipeTinEats says:

    Hey Nic! How crumbly would you rate this on a scale of 1 to 10? As in – is it like banana bread in that it could be toasted, or is it more like cake that needs to be eaten with a fork on a plate?

    I’m asking because I was going to make this for a picnic only – food to be eaten with hands only! :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Definitely like cake and not like banana bread. Does require fork and plate and would probably be messy at a picnic. :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Kathleen. “Light and bright” is the perfect description for this cake. :) Happy 4th of July to you!

  3. Marissa says:

    What is it about even the word cardamom that makes my mouth water. And then there’s lemon. And the texture of this cake looks absolutely perfect. Lovely recipe, Nicole!

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you, Jessie! Cardamom is good, isn’t it? I have to use it more often, and not just in sweet stuff! :)

  4. Louise | Cygnet Kitchen says:

    This looks such a lovely fresh summer cake, Nicole. I love the cardamon (my latest blog post is a meringue roulade with raspberries, cardamom and rose cream) this is such a nice update on a lemon drizzle cake. x

  5. Kevin | keviniscooking says:

    Beautiful, light and screams Summer – lovely. I am digging the light photos of late! Cardamom is so underused and definitely a favorite flavor weapon of mine. That dusting of chopped pistachios on top is perfect. Have a great holiday weekend Nicole.

  6. CakePants says:

    Wow, I love how the photo really shows how soft and fluffy the cake is! The addition of cardamom sounds amazing – I bought some cardamom to bake with a little while ago but haven’t gotten around to using any yet. I’m looking forward to trying this!

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