Orange Cardamom Cake with Orange Blossom Salted Caramel Sauce

Since I was a child, I did not enjoy orange flavoured candy or anything orange flavoured to be honest. Be it juice, cake, gummy bears, biscuits and even the orange flavoured Flintstones vitamins, were unpleasant to me. Growing up, I felt as if I was going to indulge myself, it might as well be something richer, more decadent because for some reason every time I tried an orange cake, cookie or biscuit, the flavour was either underwhelming or too bitter for my taste.

Later on, I started eating more oranges and savoury dishes, salads or sauces with oranges in them but orange flavoured desserts were still not worthy enough and then came this recipe.

While I have been working on different flavour pairings for the cakes I'm baking for Les Etages every Saturday, I wanted to give oranges a shot and I am so glad I did. The cardamom gives this cake a wonderful little spice kick we all crave for during colder months. You can adjust the amount of cardamom you want as you wish but for me, this was the perfect measurement before it turned the cake slightly bitter. The orange blossom water in the caramel sauce completes this cake and just like when you're sipping a great cocktail, with each bite, you'll taste the subtle aromas of cardamom, orange and orange blossom without any of them overpowering the other.

Other spices like cinnamon or pumpkin spice could also pair nicely with this cake but I haven't got a chance to experiment with them yet so leave a comment if you do!

Maybe the only tricky part of this recipe is getting the caramel right and measuring the temperature of the sugar (which is recommended in most recipes) can be a daunting task. That's why in this recipe, I will try to give you the necessary tips, key points and possible ways of saving your caramel, so hopefully after 1 or 2 tries, you'll be able to make it by simply trusting your culinary instincts.

This caramel takes 15 minutes to make, its simple, fills a whole jar and keeps in the fridge for up to a week. If you do a single layer cake like me, you will use about half of the caramel for the cake. Leftover caramel can be used as a sauce for crepes, ice cream, waffles, pancakes, churros, puddings or can be spooned straight out of the jar like a dear friend of mine did yesterday.

This cake is easy, delicious, quick to make and will leave your kitchen smelling wonderful. It's perfect for a lazy winter afternoon so make sure you enjoy your slice while cosying up under the blanket with a book or your favourite Netflix show.

Tips and tricks:

- When you are mixing the dry and wet ingredients, stop the moment everything is mixed together. Little lumps are welcome. Don't try to get a silky smooth batter. Whisking too much will result in a hard, flat cake. It will lose its fluffiness.

- This cake really is soft on the inside so before you cut through it, make sure you let it cool for about 30 minutes at room temperature.

- For a two layer cake, simply double the recipe and pour the batter in two tins separately or use one large tin and cut the cake in two horizontally later. I recommend doing the first one because of the cakes texture.

- For the caramel make sure your pot is spotless and clean. Weigh and measure your ingredients beforehand, timing is important for a good caramel.

- Make sure your butter and cream are at room temperature. This might prevent the caramel from seizing when you add the cream. If it does, don't worry. You probably added it too quickly or it was too cold. Just keep stirring with a whisk until the seized caramel dissolves.

- If the butter is separating from the sugar in the caramel, it means the temperature change was too drastic after you took it off the heat. Keep stirring, off the heat then back on the heat gradually with a whisk to incorporate the butter back in the caramel until it stabilises.

To prevent this from happening in the first place, let the caramel cool gently first in the pot, then pour it in the jar.

- To prevent any separation or crystallisation, let it cool in room temperature and then move it to the fridge.

Bon Appétit!









100 gr sugar

Zest of 3 oranges

210 gr all purpose flour

1,5 tsp ground cardamom

1,5 tsp (6 gr) baking powder

1 pinch of salt

2 eggs

180 gr freshly squeezed orange juice

3 tbsp milk

100 gr vegetable oil (or olive oil)

1 tsp vanilla extract


200 gr sugar

80 gr salted butter

40 cl heavy cream

1 tbsp orange blossom water

A pinch of fleur de sel or sea salt


1. Preheat the oven to 170°C.

2. Grease the cake tin (22 cm/8 inch round) with butter.

3. In a medium sized bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together until fully mixed. This will flavour the sugar itself, creating a homogenous distribution of the zest in the batter.

4. Into the same bowl, add your flour, baking powder, salt and ground cardamom. Mix all the ingredients together.

5. In another smaller mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, oil, orange juice and vanilla together.

6. Pour your wet mixture on the dry mixture, and try to whisk gently until you have a batter. The moment, all your ingredients are If you whisk too much, your cake will lose all its softness fluffiness.

7. Bake for 30 minutes if you're using a small cake tin like me. Increase the baking time by 15-20 minutes if you're doubling the recipe.

8. While your cake is in the oven, you can start your caramel sauce by putting the sugar in the pot and let it melt. Don't disturb the sugar with a spoon and don't stir it. If needed you can give the pot a swirl.

9. When your sugar is all melted and has reached a bright amber colour (important here to note longer you cook the sugar, darker it will get and darker means more bitter tasting) add the butter in, whisking constantly. Be careful to your hands. The butter will splash.

10. After you have added all your butter, start adding your cream very slowly, whisking constantly.

11. Add the orange blossom water and the pinch of salt, keep whisking until it gets thick enough to cover and stay on the back of a spoon. You don't want it to be too thin nor too thick as it will thicken further once its cooled.

12. Let your cake and your caramel cool for about 20 minutes in room temperature, then pour the sauce on top of the cake to serve. You can also serve the caramel sauce on the side.

at Les Etages, Paris

Recipe for the cake adapted from

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