oh my, oh my, it seems like Spring might actually be here. the past few days have been really beautiful sunny days...still cold, but otherwise crisp and fresh and just really nice to be outdoors in. so in honorary celebration of the coming of Spring, i wanted to make some cupcakes. something exotic and spicy to put all and sundry in the mood. i found this recipe for pistachio cardamom cupcakes on vanilla garlic's blog (links on the menu to the right) and really wanted to try them. so, first let's talk about cardamom....cardamom, oh, cardamom, what do i think of thee? i'm very undecided on my feelings towards the mysterious cardamom....
1.the aromatic seed capsules of a tropical Asian plant, Elettaria cardamomum, of the ginger family, used as a spice or condiment and in medicine.
2.the plant itself.
3.a related plant, Amomum compactum, or its seeds, used as a substitute for true cardamom.
so this is what the online dictionary tells us about it but, me...personally, well, i think when i was younger and living somewhere or other i had a very bad experience with the cardamom in that i ate a whole pod and decided it wasn't for me....the taste seemed too strong and pungent and left a very lasting impression (and not one of the good 'uns either!) however, never one to let past experiences rule the kitchen cake mixer, i decided to bite the bullet (not the cardamom!) and make some cupcakes using them. ok, ok, so i have to admit when i opened the spice jar and took a whiff i had a moment of post traumatic smell syndrome as memories came flooding back. but i baked on and followed the recipe and made the cupcakes (not exactly as listed though...recipe said 2 teaspoons of cardamom and i'm afraid i punked out...and put only 1...i know, i'm a lightweight...but once cardamom'd, twice shy!) smell when they were in the oven was very good...warm, aromatic and exotic. i was pleasantly surprised...could i finally be overcoming years of cardamom-phobia? once cooled, i iced them with a vanilla buttercream. i am currently in love with vanilla buttercream and how good it looks when squeezed out the piping bag and after the valentine cupcake incident, i wanted these ones to look....cupcake-tastic.
best of all, with the cometh of Spring, i had beautiful natural sunlight to bathe my cupcakes in...and i took so many photos...i just went wild...i couldn't help myself! it's the joy of seeing sunshine again! and cupcakes and sunshine, well, it doesn't get much better than that! so after all the hard work was done, it was time for the taste-test...i took a bite...and...i could really taste the cardamom (phew! to only putting in one teaspoon) but it seemed to blend really well with the pistachio and the overall flavour was very reminiscent of india. to my surprise though, everyone else just gobbled them up - even my brother who i always thought was pretty fussy on foods and who i suspected would be the first one to complain...didn't. so, in conclusion, i think it's just me. i'm guessing i must be super-sensitive to cardamom. but at least i can say today that i came, i saw, i cardamom'd!