Orange, yoghurt and cardamom cake

orange, yoghurt and cardamon cake

This would have to be one of the easiest cakes in the world to make. It’s simple enough to whip up for an afternoon tea but spectacular enough to shape shift into a celebration cake. The lightly sweetened cream cheese icing and chopped pistachios give a slight, savoury contrast to the sweetness of the cake. This is a velvety, moist cake that keeps superbly for days. In fact I think it could be even better after a few days in the cake tin, the orange and cardamom meld and become more intense.  I love cakes that can be forgotten about and discovered a few days later, for a delicious surprise afternoon tea.

This is a very low tech cake and doesn’t require a mix master or any fancy equipment. It’s a cake you could easily make in a holiday house. I’m big on cakes you make in holiday houses. I’ve had a few disasters making ‘away’ birthday cakes, most memorably a caramel, soccer theme cake for a ten-year-old, that was basically inedible. The moral is never get too ambitious baking away from home and never commit to doing theme cakes – period.

orange, yoghurt and cardamon cake

Notes on Ingredients – The original recipe calls for orange blossom water but I’ve made that optional, because  the cake works just as well without it.  The first time I made it, I couldn’t find granulated raw sugar so I used ordinary chunky raw sugar which didn’t dissolve as well but it was still delicious with slight crunchy sugar bits in it. I’ve since managed to track down Billington’s granulated golden sugar from my local Woolworths. You can use melted butter or macadamia oil but I prefer the texture and enhanced keeping qualities of the macadamia oil.  If you don’t have macadamia oil a light olive oil would be a good substitute.

Orange, yoghurt and cardamon cake

Adapted from Neighbourhood by Hetty Mckinnon

  • 250 mls ( 1 cup) macadamia oil or 250 grams butter melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • zest of one orange
  • 3 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 250 grams ( 1 cup ) Greek yoghurt
  • 2 teaspoons orange blossom water (optional)
  • 300 grams ( 2 cups) self-raising flour ( or 2 cups of plain flour with 4 teaspoons of baking powder)
  • 330 grams (1 1/2 cups) raw granulated sugar ( I used Billingtons golden granulated)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios, to decorate

Orange and cream cheese icing

  • 125 grams cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 90 grams (3/4 cup) icing sugar
  • dash of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of orange zest (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C
  2. Grease and line a 22 cm springform tin with baking paper ( I use a 23 cm tube tin)
  3. Whisk together flour, sugar, and cardamom in a bowl
  4. In another bowl whisk together wet ingredients – oil (or butter) yoghurt, eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest, orange juice and orange blossom water (if using)
  5. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared tin and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in tin for ten minutes before turning onto cooling rack to cool completely.
  6. To prepare icing – Whisk together cream cheese, icing sugar, vanilla extract and orange juice. Beat until there are no lumps and the icing is smooth.
  7. Spread icing over cake and decorate with chopped pistachios



  1. Looks great and I bet it tastes great, too, Elizabeth.

  2. This sounds divine Elizabeth – I can almost taste it. Might try it as a way to use up that unopened bottle of orange blossom water I bought about two years ago…

  3. Glad I’ve inspired you to open the orange blossom water.
    I have a very overcrowded pantry and am loathe to buy more new ingredients.

  4. Going to try this today! Sounds too yum to wait!

  5. You say in the method to add orange juice but I can’t find the amount , it’s after the zest ??? Also the sugar seems really high is that correct ???

  6. Splendid! Just presented this as a birthday cake to my partner. Added in a small sprinkle of lavender flowers with the pistachios. We love it. Thank you Elizabeth.

  7. No beaters needed! This is definitely my kind of cake.


  1. […] McKinnon of Arthur Street Kitchen, but I first saw it featured on Elizabeth’s lovely blog, The Backyard Lemon Tree. I’ve made a couple of tiny adjustments to the original (more juice in the icing to make it […]

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