Cardamom-Spice Gingerbread

The distinctive part of the Sainsbury's recipe is the overdose of cardamom; I think this works a treat. It really is worth the effort of grinding your own cardamom. Get about 30 pods of green cardamom, peel them, and grind the kernels in a pestle and mortar. It's fiddly, but the delicious, pungent odour of cardamom released by the labour of grinding is sufficient reward.

You might get away with substituting peeled and coarsely ground cardamom from packets that you can find in better Indian supermarkets. Don't stoop to the fine-ground stuff that comes in small jars at western supermarkets.

Substituting sultanas and/or dates for the raisins seems to work fine.

I haven't adjusted the quantities in any way. I did find that the batter is really thick, and difficult to stir and pour. But the end-result seems to work. I also had problems with the quoted baking time, which seems a little on the short side for my oven.


  • 1 x 284ml tub soured cream
  • 1 heaped teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 5oz (150g) caster sugar
  • 2 level tablespoons black treacle
  • teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • about 30 pods of green cardomom (enough to make up 2 teaspoons when ground in a pestle and mortar)
  • 4oz (110g) raisins
  • 6oz (175g) butter, melted
  • 12oz (350g) plain flour, sifted


Peel cardamom pods and grind in a pestle and mortar.

Lightly butter a 2lb (900g) loaf tin. Preheat the oven to gas mark 2, 300F, 150C.

In a large bowl, mix everything gently but thoroughly together, in the exact order given in the list of ingredients. Pour into the buttered loaf tin, and smooth the top.

Bake in the pre-heated oven until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (about 1 hour and 10 minutes, give or take rather a lot). If it begins to look dark (burned) around the edges, cover loosely with foil.

Place the tin on a wire rack and allow to cool for at least 30-40 minutes before turning out. Allow to cool completely before slicing. Keep well wrapped in foil.

-- StephenPickles - 21 Jul 2009

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Topic revision: r2 - 30 Mar 2010 - RobAllan
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