French Pound Cake With Cardamom, Espresso & Chocolate Chips From Aleksandra Crapanzano

November 23, 2022
1 Ratings
Photo by Aleksandra Crapanzano
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 55 minutes
  • makes 1 (9x5-inch) loaf cake
Author Notes

This is flavorful, fragrant loaf. A few notes for success:

• Using European butter, which has a higher fat content, makes a difference.
• If you are using ground cardamom, grind the black seeds from green pods right before using them. Burlap & Barrel makes a cardamom extract that I often use for speed.
• The recipe calls for espresso powder, which is used for baking. This is different from finely ground espresso that is usually used for making coffee. I use one sold by King Arthur Flour.
• To measure the cake flour, fluff it up with a fork, lightly spoon it into a measuring cup, then level the top off with the flat side of a knife. Do not pack it in or you will end up using too much.
• If you have a scale, you can decrease or increase this recipe easily.
• Measure the eggs in their shell and use that weight for the butter, sugar and flour.
• If you’d like to glaze this cake, mix 2 teaspoons of strong espresso with ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar and drizzle this over the top of the room-temperature cake.
• For a citrus version, replace the cardamom and espresso powder with the zest of 1 lemon. —Adapted from Gâteau: The Surprising Simplicity of French Cakes by Aleksandra Crapanzano —Food52

Test Kitchen Notes

To hear more from Aleksandra Crapanzano, make sure to check out her episode of our podcast, Play Me a Recipe. —Food52

What You'll Need
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
  • 14 tablespoons (200 grams) unsalted European or European-style butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons Burlap & Barrel cardamom extract (or 2 teaspoons ground cardamom seeds)
  • 1 tablespoon espresso powder, preferably King Arthur Flour’s
  • 1 orange, zested
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, preferably Valrhona
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (200 grams) cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Either butter and flour a 9x5-inch loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and pour it into a wide, shallow bowl to cool slightly.
  3. Separate the eggs. In a good-sized mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks to break them up a bit. Add the sugar and whisk until they are thick and pale. (This can be done by hand, with handheld electric beaters, or in a stand mixer.)
  4. Add the melted butter, vanilla, cardamom, espresso powder, and orange zest, and whisk until smooth. Fold in the flour with a rubber spatula until no streaks of white remain.
  5. Using electric beaters or in a stand mixer, beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the salt and beat until they form stiff peaks. Stir a quarter of the whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold the remaining eggs whites into the batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out nearly clean. Allow the cake to cool for ten minutes in the pan, then remove to a wire rack.
  7. Serve at room temperature. If not eating the cake until later, allow it to cool all the way to room temperature, then wrap it in plastic wrap and store at room temperature.

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