Diet, food, food allergy, recipe, Traditional Chinese Medicine

Cardamom coconut cake – gluten & dairy-free

cardamom coconut cakeLast weekend I made two after dinner sweets to follow a main course of several curries. I wanted the desserts to continue the fragrant spicy theme of the meal.

This cake was met with approval and so the recipe had to be shared. It has delicate spice and the perfect level of moisture due to the addition of coconut milk. The original recipe is here. I adapted it slightly to make it dairy-free, lower in sugar and to also make it with home made sweetened coconut as this ingredient is not easily found in Brisbane, Australia. I created my own cardamom glaze for decoration.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cardamom is considered to be warming, pungent and slightly bitter. Cardamom is an excellent digestive stimulant. It is sometimes termed the “Queen of the Spices” and is probably best known for its use in curries but can also be added to cakes and biscuits. For more on cardamom and my two other favourite warming spices click here. Here’s a rosewater, cardamom and pistachio shortbread recipe and another for cardamom cookies. Did I mention that I LOVE cardamom?

Cardamom coconut cake

Ingredients for cake

  • 2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cardamom (this can be increased to taste)
  • 1 cup of coconut milk (shaken well before measuring)
  • 5 tablespoons of dairy-free butter alternative (or butter if you tolerate dairy)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup prepared sugar/stevia blend (equivalent to two cups sugar)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons rum
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup of sweetened shredded coconut (made by mixing 35g shredded coconut with 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and 1 tablespoon of hot water – allow to sit for 10 minutes before using.)

Ingredients for glaze

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • a few pinches of ground cardamom, to taste
  • extra shredded coconut for decoration


  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Grease a Bundt cake tin.
  3. In a small bowl mix flour, baking powder, salt and cardamom together. Set aside.
  4. Melt butter into coconut milk in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside.
  5. With a mixer, beat eggs and sugar until pale, thick and doubled in size.  Add vanilla and rum.
  6. Add flour to the egg mix beating slowly until mixed through.
  7. Add shredded coconut and sweetened coconut and mix.
  8. Lastly, add coconut milk and mix through until mixture is smooth.
  9. Pour mixture into pan and bake for 1 hour or until cooked through (passing the skewer test).
  10. Leave in pan for 10 minutes before placing on a cooling rack.
  11. Glaze cake (to make glaze: sift icing sugar into a small bowl, add vanilla and cardamom, then add a little water at a time until glaze is the desired consistency to drizzle on the cake) and finish by sprinkling shredded coconut on top.
  12. Serve with strawberries or the fruit of your choice.
cardamom coconut cake
This time with seasonal stone fruit

To book an appointment at the clinic or further information on Chinese Medicine contact Dr Sarah George (Acupuncture).  Sarah is a practitioner of acupuncture (AHPRA registered), massage therapy and natural health.

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