Recipe: Mocha-Cardamom Snack Cake

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Ever since our winter vacation back in February, when we drove across the border to do some exploring in France, I’ve been wanting to make a chocolate cake flavored with coffee and cardamom. I discovered this wonderful combination at a French chocolate shop in Morteau: Chocolaterie Klaus. After baking many test cakes, I’ve found an easy recipe to share that’s dairy, egg and nut-free.

I’m trying very hard not to eat cake for my second breakfast this morning…


The French Village of Lods

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When we originally planned our little excursion to France, the intent was to visit Lods. This small village alongside the Doubs river has been designated as one of the France’s Plus Beaux Villages (most beautiful villages). In all, 157 villages have this title and receive support from a nonprofit association working to maintain the character of these historic places.

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While we enjoyed walking through this quiet town, I didn’t find many options for a fancy French pastry. Instead, I bought some treats in Morteau, a larger town on the border with Switzerland. From what we’ve heard, it’s a common stop for Swiss residents seeking cheaper groceries in France.


Chocolaterie Klaus

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As we drove through Morteau on the way back to Switzerland, I spotted a “chocolaterie” sign and requested my husband take a quick turn. Soon after, we arrived at Chocolaterie Klaus. I ran into the small factory store, while my youngest napped in the back seat.

Inside, I found piles of delicious chocolate bars with small dishes of broken pieces to sample. While they had the typical flavor combinations, I saw some new ones too, like grapefruit and piment d’Espelette—a chili pepper grown in Spain and France. I bought some cookies and caramels, and two bars of chocolate, including a milk chocolate one with coffee and cardamom.

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Inspired by this chocolate bar, I began experimenting to create an allergy-friendly chocolate cake with the same flavors of coffee and cardamom. After several attempts, I found a quick recipe from my favorite ol’ Betty Crocker cookbook. My mother’s recent visit included a delivery of allergy-friendly mini-chocolate chips from Enjoy Life, so I had everything I needed to make a safe cake for my son (dairy/egg/nut-free). This recipe is incredibly fast and easy—and similar to the one for Crazy Cake. My 6-year old enjoyed helping to mix all the ingredients in the pan.


Mocha-Cardamom Snack Cake

Adapted from my favorite Betty Crocker cookbook, 7th edition (1991).

(dairy/egg/nut-free)

Dry ingredients:
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients:
1 cup strong coffee
1/3 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon white or cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used dark rum instead)

Topping (added before baking):
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

Use an ungreased square pan, 8×8 inches or about 20×20 cm.

1. Sift dry ingredients directly into the square pan, and stir together with a fork.

2. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and use the fork to combine them, just until blended.

3. Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top of the cake batter.

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4. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 180°C/350°F until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the center. Cool on a wire rack in the pan. Serve sprinkled with powdered sugar, if desired.

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In the United States, May is Food Allergy Action Month. Check out FARE’s calendar of activities which have the purpose to:

“go beyond raising awareness in order to inspire action so that we can improve understanding of the disease, advance the search for a cure, create safer environments and help people live well with food allergies.”

Bon week-end, everyone!

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6 thoughts on “Recipe: Mocha-Cardamom Snack Cake

  1. Stephanie says:

    I have often made a vegan coffee and chocolate cake but never thought to add cardamom! I think I know what I’m making for our next potluck!

    • H. Elise says:

      Hi Stephanie! Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. The coffee flavor isn’t too strong in this recipe b/c the kids don’t love it as much. Maybe I need to try your recipe!? 😉 Have a good weekend. Best wishes, Heddi

      • Stephanie says:

        I made it this weekend to take to some friends with whom we were sharing lunch. It turned out very nicely! I didn’t have choc. chips, so I just chopped up some MBudget dark chocolate for the top. I also added coffee powder to the liquid coffee to really amp up the flavor.

        My husband ate two pieces and says I can make it again! 😉

      • H. Elise says:

        Stephanie, That’s great news. I’ll definitely have to try the coffee/espresso powder next time and will update the recipe to include it! Hope you’re enjoying this beautiful spring day. Thanks so much, and best wishes. -Heddi

  2. sophie says:

    Lods is looking like a pretty place to visit! Lovely views too! This snack cake with lots of cardamom looks freaking delicious,….Yum Yum Yummm! Xxx

    • H. Elise says:

      Hi Sophie! So many wonderful places to visit in France. For the cake, if you want a stronger coffee flavor, you may have noticed another kind reader suggested adding some espresso powder to the coffee. I haven’t tried it yet, but will be doing so the next time I make this cake (which will hopefully be soon!). 🙂 Best wishes, Heddi

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