Cardamom and white chocolate sponge

Cardamom with white chocolate is a surprisingly good combination in a sponge cake.

Equipment: You will need two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed sandwich tins, and a dove-shaped stencil to decorate.


  • 225g/8oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 225g/8oz caster sugar
  • 225g/8oz self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 12 cardamom pods

For the icing

  • 100g/3½oz white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, softened
  • 75g/2½oz cream cheese
  • 200g/7oz icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • icing sugar and dove stencil, to decorate (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven 180C/160C Fan/Gas4. Grease two 20cm/8in loose-bottomed sandwich tins and line with baking paper.
  2. Put the butter, eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder in a large bowl and beat together (using an electric hand whisk if you have one) until well combined.
  3. Bash the cardamom pods with a rolling pin to release the seeds. Tip the seeds in a pestle and mortar and mash until fine. (Be sure to crush the cardamom seeds only, not the pods as these do not tenderize down.) Stir the crushed seeds into the cake batter, then pour the mixture into the tins.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden-brown and springy to the touch. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then run a small palette or rounded butter around the edge of the tins and carefully turn the cakes out onto a wire rack. Peel off the paper and leave to cool completely.
  5. For the icing, gently melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of just simmering water, making sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water. (Do not overheat the white chocolate or it will not set.) Stir until runny, then set aside to cool and thicken a little.
  6. Whisk the butter and cream cheese together until fluffy and soft. Add half the icing sugar, whisk again, add the vanilla and the remaining icing sugar and whisk again. Stir in the white chocolate until combined. Transfer to the fridge for about 20 minutes, or until thickened to a spreading consistency.
  7. Slice each cake in half horizontally to give four thin sponges. Sandwich together with the icing and arrange on a cake stand so you have four layers of cake and three layers of icing, leaving the top of the cake plain.
  8. Sprinkle with icing sugar, using a decorative dove stencil if you have one.