Birthday Cake with a Twist | Chocolate and Cardamom

I have fond memories of Demeter baking (and filling with chocolate whipped cream) my favorite cake every year for my birthday.  Come to think of it, it is universally the favorite cake of everyone in my family, including Zeus and my sis.  I’ve made it for years: sponge cake filled to capacity with luscious chocolate whipped cream and then rolled.

This year for Rhea‘s birthday (Happy Birthday!), I decided to bake her that same cake, but with a little tweak, as I’ve been reading one of my Christmas gifts, the terrific The Flavor Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit.

One of pairings that got me all worked up (alright, I know, I’m a nerd, but you knew this) was chocolate and cardamom.  I’ve always loved cardamom, particularly in my Grandmother’s Yule Kage.  And I’ve been wondering how to tweak my favorite cake just for fun.  So today, I decided to include cardamom.  I added ground cardamom to the cake and steeped crushed whole cardamom in the scalded cream before I cooled and whipped it with cocoa and sugar.  As a garnish, I made a blood orange coulis.  In the end, it was Jaffa Cake-esque, with a cardamom kick.

Cardamom Scented Roulade with Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Coulis, originally inspired by a recipe in the 1969 Betty Crocker

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Combine:

4 egg whites

1/2 c sugar

Beat egg whites to soft mounds, add sugar gradually until stiff peaks are formed.  Set aside.

Combine:

4 egg yolks

1/4 c sugar

2 T water

1 t vanilla

Beat until thick and lemon-colored. (This takes about four or five minutes with an electric mixer on medium speed.)

Whisk together:

2/3 c flour

1 t baking powder

1 t ground cardamom

1/2 t salt

Fold egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture.  Sprinkle dry ingredients over mixture 1/2 at a time.  Fold gently until each addition dissapears.  Spread into 15×10 jelly roll pan, that is greased, covered with parchment or wax paper, then greased and floured again.  Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until the cake springs back when lightly pressed.

Turn onto tea towel that has been sprinkled with confectioners sugar.  Remove paper and roll (along the 10 inch side).  Cool.

For the Filling:

In a small pan add 1 1/2 c plus 2 T heavy cream and five whole green cardamom pods that have been crushed.  Heat over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, depending on how strong you’d like your spiced cream.  Remove from the heat and cool completely.  Strain cardamom from the cream into a large mixing bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Whip together:

Cardamom cream

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c cocoa

1/8 t salt

1/2 t vanilla

Whip until cream holds its shape a bit for a filling.

To assemble, spread over cooled cake and re-roll.

For a garnish, use supremed blood orange slices and/or reduce the juice from two blood oranges over medium low heat adding sugar to taste.

Playlist included Happy Birthday, playfully covered by the Ting Tings.

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