The Cardamom TrailChetna Bakes with Flavours of the East

Explore a myriad of flavours in this vibrant baking book from Chetna Makan of BBC1’s The Great British Bake Off

Chetna Makan is known for her unique recipes, which introduce colourful spices, aromatic herbs and other Indian ingredients into traditional Western baked favourites.

Whether it’s a sponge cake with a cardamom and coffee filling; puff pastry bites filled with fenugreek paneer; a swirly bread rolled with citrusy coriander, mint and green mango chutney; or a steamed strawberry pudding flavoured with cinnamon, Chetna’s Indian influences will transform your baking from the familiar to the exotic, from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Discover rare but precious traditional bakes from India, as well as new spice-infused recipes. Delve into the history of Indian herbs and spices and learn how to match foods and flavours.


Chetna Makan was born in Jabalpur, an ancient city in central India. She has a degree in fashion and worked in Mumbai as a fashion designer before moving to the UK in 2003. Chetna reached the semi-final in The Great British Bake Off 2014.

Pistachio, cardamom and white chocolate cakeChocCard

Serves 10–12

I like to encourage people to bake with the ingredients they 
love, but to use them with innovation. For this cake I use one of my favourite spices, cardamom, which has a floral, citrusy quality that combines gorgeously with pistachios and milky white chocolate. This flavour combination reminds me of sweet, spicy, milky Indian desserts. They’re lovely and comforting… 
just like this cake.

For the cake:

225g (8oz) unsalted butter, softened

225g (8oz) caster sugar

4 large eggs

250g (9oz) self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cardamom seeds, crushed to a fine powder

100ml (31/2fl oz) milk

50g (13/4oz) pistachio nuts, roughly chopped

50g (13/4oz) white chocolate chips

For the icing and decoration:

150g (51/2oz) white chocolate

150g (51/2oz) unsalted butter, softened

few drops of vanilla extract

handful of pistachio nuts, 
finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF), Gas Mark 4. Grease 2 × 20cm (8in) 
round cake tins and line them with nonstick baking paper.

To make the cake, cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk or a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, ensuring that each addition is well incorporated before adding the next. Now add the flour, baking powder, cardamom and milk. Beat for 1 minute until the mixture is light and creamy. Now fold in the pistachios and white chocolate chips with a spatula. Once mixed, fill the prepared tins equally with the batter. Bake for 30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Leave the cakes to cool in the tins.

Once the cakes are completely cool, make the icing. Break the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl and set it over a pan of steaming water until melted, ensuring that the base of the bowl doesn’t touch the water beneath it. Leave it to cool slightly. Now cream the butter in a separate bowl and add the melted chocolate and vanilla extract. Mix well until light and creamy.

Spread half the icing on 1 cake, then align the second layer on top. Spread the remaining icing on top and sprinkle with the chopped pistachios. This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to 4 days.


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