Lemon Cardamom Cake

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This easy lemon cardamom cake is delicate, light, moist, intensely citrusy and not overly sweet. The ground cardamom adds a subtle floral flavor and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios provides just the right amount of crunch.

A lemon cardamom loaf cake with the first slice being cut on a ceramic cutting board.

This post was originally published on June 30, 2015.

How to make lemon cardamom cake step by step:

The preparation of this recipe is very straight forward, you begin by preparing a 9 inch x 5 inch x 2.5 inch loaf pan and heating the oven to 350 degrees F.

Step 1. Cut a piece of parchment paper and fit it into the bottom of the pan, then grease the pan (including the surface of the parchment bottom) well with vegetable shortening, sprinkle flour into the pan and shake out the excess.

RECIPE NOTE: To grease a pan, I find it easiest to grab a paper towel, fold it up, then scoop up the vegetable shortening with it and rub it around the insides of the pan.

An empty loaf pan greased and floured.

Step 2. With an electric mixer or standing mixer, whip 8 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter and 1 cup granulated sugar until creamy.

Butter and sugar whipped together with an electric mixer.

Step 3. Whip in 2 whole eggs and 1.5 tablespoons lemon zest for intense lemon flavor.

A large mixing bowl with cake batter after butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest have been whipped together.

Step 4. Next are the dry ingredients. Whisk together:

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
A small bowl with the dry ingredients for a lemon cardamom loaf cake and a whisk lying next to it.

Step 5. For the wet ingredients, whisk together:

  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup and 2 teaspoons plain yogurt
  • 4 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
A liquid measuring cup with the wet ingredients for a lemon cardamom loaf cake and a whisk lying next to it.

Step 6. With the mixer running, gradually whip the dry and wet ingredients into the butter mix, alternating between the two and starting with the dry ingredients, until you have a smooth and creamy-looking batter.

A large mixing bowl with the finished raw batter for a lemon cardamom cake.

Step 7. Fill the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

A loaf pan filled with raw batter.

Step 8. Let the cake cool a bit in the pan on a wire rack, then run a knife around the edges of the pan, turn the cake out and let it cool completely.

A baked loaf cake on a cooling rack with parchment paper underneath.

Step 9. To make the glaze, whisk together 1 cup powdered sugar and 5 teaspoons lemon juice. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake, then sprinkle 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.

A loaf cake with glaze poured on top and chopped pistachio nuts sprinkled on the glaze.

More cardamom desserts:

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lemon cardamom cake
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4.77 from 13 votes

Lemon Cardamom Cake

This easy lemon cardamom cake is delicate, light, moist, intensely citrusy and not overly sweet. The ground cardamom adds a subtle floral flavor and a sprinkle of chopped pistachios provides just the right amount of crunch.
This recipe is for one 9 inch x 5 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

Ingredients:

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 (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

Instructions:

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 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.

Notes:

*To grease a pan, I find it easiest to grab a paper towel, fold it up, then scoop up the vegetable shortening with it and rub it around the insides of the pan.

Nutrition

Calories: 520kcal | Carbohydrates: 79.3g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17.7g | Saturated Fat: 10.3g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 188mg | Potassium: 143mg | Fiber: 1.2g | Sugar: 54.4g | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.8mg

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A lemon cardamom loaf cake with the first slice being cut on a ceramic cutting board.

23 comments

  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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