Cardamom, Walnut & Coffee Loaf //

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I don’t know about where you are, but it feels like spring is finally springing in Glasgow. Daffodils are blooming, buds are budding, and sometimes the sun even shines. Amazing! I’m trying to bake more appropriately for the weather, which in this case means something a bit lighter and more delicate for a springtime treat (though that will need to be disregarded totally for my next post)…

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This lightly spiced loaf uses cinnamon and cardamom, an uncommon spice to use in British baking, but it lends itself very well to a variety of things (it’s an excellent addiction to cinnamon buns). It can be tricky to find, but you can usually get it at Tiger if you’re lucky enough to have one in your city, or most supermarkets sell the pods, you’ll just need to grind them yourself! This makes a delightfully light loaf, with a gentle flavour from within, and the coffee icing compliments it very well!

This recipe has been adapted from the Violet Bakery cookbook, which I am currently obsessed with and would highly recommend. I made this in a long loaf tin, approx 35cm x 12cm, but you could make it as 12 cupcakes, or a cake.

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Ingredients:

210g plain flour

180g unsalted butter

150g caster sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp bicarb of soda

Pinch of salt

1 tbsp cinnamon

1 tbsp cardamom

1 tbsp vanilla essence

210g creme fraiche or natural yoghurt

75g walnuts, broken up and lightly toasted, plus extra to decorate

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. Pre-heat oven 170c/gas mark 3, line your loaf tin/whatever and grease.

. Mix together the butter, sugar and vanilla in an electric mixer until light and fluffy.

. Whilst butter is mixing, combine your flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and spices, then mix the nuts through.

. Add the eggs one at a time, adding a couple of spoonfuls of flour mix to stop it splitting. Fold the creme fraiche through gently with a spatula, until all combined.

. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove and leave on a cooling rack until completely cooled, then turn out.

. For the coffee icing, mix together 200g sifted icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of strong instant coffee or espresso until its of a good texture to pour over the cake, but not too runny. Use the back of a spoon to guide it to the edges to get some elegant drips. Crumble some extra walnuts on the top and a pinch of cinnamon to decorate.

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