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Cardamom is one of those things that goes sweet or savory. When you use it in savory dishes the heat that comes of its relationship to ginger really comes out and gives your mouth that zing we usually think of in Mexican and Indian foods. The ginger factor leaves a resinous feeling that makes the heat last a little longer than you think it will. You found that out if you made the pork marinade from the last post. I wasn’t expecting it to have that kind of lasting effect. But it made the meal fun. So after I wrote the post and remembered its inclusion in Lebkuchen, I wondered just what it would do to some thing sweet.

Cardamom is the thing in Turkish coffee that gives it a sweetness that bursts rather than slithers across the tongue and Chai the sweet tangy perk you want in a morning warm milk drink. As an ingredient in Lebkuchen it rather loses itself with its partner Coriander. But what if you used it as the only spice element? How exactly would that work? And what would you pair it with so that you don’t overpower the rest of the ingredients?

The answer I came up with was coconut… mostly because that was what was in the pantry when the heat broke. We’ve had far too many humid and close feeling days to run the oven. And humidity and baking as we all know are only tenuous neighbors. Coconut and Lime scream Summer. Cardamon and Coconut indicate an easterly direction… considering the close relationship that Germany has with Turkey in culinary realms (Dönerkabab anyone?) I couldn’t think of any thing more appropriate. So here we go….


Gather your ingredients and a few specialty decorator items. I used Wilton’s eclair piping tip and a really big bag for the filling, printed cupcake liners that are all the rage and the flakey sparkles in green rather than any kind of non-perel. It’s summer, its hot and I didn’t want to have this dessert be heavy since they were going to work with me for our company’s birthday lunch. Well… belated birthday lunch….

this to that collage

So here we go, getting from this cluster of ingredients to that moist bundle of yum!


  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 TBS shredded coconut
  • ½ tsp cardamom
  • Whisk ingredients together in a heavy sauce pan on medium to medium low heat. Reduce with a gently rolling boil until the mixture is the consistency of cooked pudding. Remove from heat and pour into a cool mixing bowl. A metal bowl left in the freezer for a few hours is perfect. Refrigerate overnight.


  • box of preferred yellow mix
  • ¾ jar Lime Curd
  • ingredients listed on box + 2 egg whites
  • zest of one lime
  • pinch of cardamom (less than 1/8th tsp)

Zest the lime then prepare the cake mix as per directions. Blend in the lime curd. Whip the two egg whites and fold into the batter. Skip this step if you like a more dense cake. Spoon into prepared muffin tin.Bake per box instructions and cool completely.

Filling and frosting should be done the next day to let the cakes rest properly and make the filling process easier.


  • use the Wilton buttercream recipe substituting 2 TBS of the coconut mixture for the 2 TBS of milk
  • ¼ tsp cardamom
  • put bowl in the fridge to set a little. The frosting can get sloppy in Summer heat and humidity.

Fill the cupcakes using Wilton’s eclair piping tip (It looks like a ginormous version of the needles phlebotomists use). The trick with the tip is to push it all the way to the bottom of the cake without piercing the bottom crust (or the paper liner if using one) and squeeze the bag a little. You will feel some resistance at this point. Continue squeezing and raising the tip out of the cupcake. The hole that the tapered piping tip makes when it goes in is the area that will be filled.

Use what ever tip you like to pipe your frosting on top but use a clean bag… you want the frosting to be smooth. Stray bits of coconut will feel like a stray hair… not fun!


In the end what you have is essentially something like a vanilla chai frosting. The cardamom cuts the overt sweetness of coconut that leaves some people with that shaggy-toothed feeling. The cardamom tempers the recipe from the Dickinson’s brand, leveling out the sweetness and actually balances the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the processed coconut milk. It really is a lot lighter than I thought it would be.