Coconut, cardamom and caramel cake for a crowd

Coconut and cardamom cake with caramel cream topping and toasted pumpkin seeds and coconut

Nigel Slater taught us: what grows together goes together (like tomatoes and basil; seafood and samphire; and…some others). But is there also some culinary law that states: ingredients that alliterate make foods you wanna ate (ok, eat)?

I promise I don’t do it on purpose, but coconut, cardamom and caramel just jumped out as obvious flavour chums – they weren’t merely grouped together in my alphabetised larder. (I don’t have an alphabetised larder – honest). So after my initial delight at noticing the C connection, I cringed a little. The Sticky Fig does feature quite a lot of alliteration. But I won’t apologise cos it’s a mighty fine combo – at least it is in cake form.

tin of caramel with cardamom seeds and sea salt

I discovered this fact whilst making a whopper of a cake for the office last week (for t’was my birthday dontcha know). People usually bring in a nice selection of sweet treats, but I fancied a spot of baking and decided to make one monster cake instead. I doubled the quantities of a recipe for a coconut loaf cake, but used a roasting tin to bake it in…it worked quite well!



  • 350g soft unsalted butter
  • 350ml coconut milk
  • 580g caster sugar
  • 12-15 cardamom pods
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 10 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 430g plain flour mixed with 20g corn flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt


  • 300ml double cream
  • ¾ tin of caramel or coconut caramel
  • ½ tsp mixed spice (optional)
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Handful of toasted pumkin seeds (to sprinkle)
  • Handful of toasted desiccated/shredded coconut (to sprinkle)


Preheat oven to 160 FAN 

green pumpkin seeds dry roasting in pan

Line a large tin (I used 40 x 26 x 6cm) with baking paper and butter the sides, just to be sure.

Remove the seeds from the cardamom pods and pound them into a few spoonfuls of the sugar in a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder, or summat). Add this spicey sugar mix back into the rest of the sugar.

Stir the salt and baking powder into the flour and corn flour mixture and make sure it’s evenly combined.

Make the batter by creaming the butter and cardamom sugar til pale and fluff-like (a stand mixer is great for this, but obvs you can use an electric hand whisk or – heaven forbid – an arm with hand and wooden spoon attachment).

Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, followed by half the coconut milk, then half the flour mixture.

Stir in the desiccated coconut, then the remaining half of coconut milk and flour.

The batter might seem a bit dry, but that’s correct – fear not.

Spoon into the tin and smooth the top with a palette knife.

Bake for 40-50 mins but check after 40 mins for the usual signs of ‘done-ness’…i.e, golden top, bounce-back after pressing and clean inserted skewer. 

While the cake is cooling, whisk together the cream, caramel and mixed spice if using. Add sea salt to taste – you want to take the edge off the sweetness. Use this to ‘ice’ the cake once cooled, then sprinkle with the seeds and toasted coconut.


4 thoughts on “Coconut, cardamom and caramel cake for a crowd

  1. Alix Merriman

    Yay, she’s back in’t kitchen! (And what a kitchen ;-)!) Brilliant post, as usual, honey, and I wholeheartedly concur with your alliteration/culinary philosophy. A genius combo of flavourings to be sure! And the pics are just as droolsome – nice one, darlin’!

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