Orange Cardamom Bread with a sweet orange glaze has a tender crumb and is fabulously aromatic. Friends and family will love this unique quick bread!
Before you make another lemon bread or banana bread this fall, try something different! This orange cardamom bread is deliciously fragrant and oozes comfy Fall vibes. It might be a new flavor combination to you, although if you’re a loyal reader you may already love my Orange and Cardamom Muffins.
did you know?
The combination of orange and cardamom is a favorite in Middle Eastern, Indian, and Scandinavian cuisines. Cardamom, from the ginger family, is a warm highly aromatic spice that pairs so well with sweet orange. The pods can be used whole in savory foods like curries and rice dishes, but the little black seeds are ground for baking and can be used in much the same way as cinnamon.
ingredients for orange cardamom bread
- a fresh orange
- you’ll be using the zest and the juice of your orange. Choose a nice sized navel or Minneola orange. I recommend a classic orange for this recipe, not a tangerine, blood orange, or clementine.
- white sugar and confectioner’s sugar
- white sugar for the bread and confectioner’s sugar for the glaze.
- salted butter
- large eggs
- buttermilk is a hero ingredient, making this bread moist and tender.
- all purpose flour
- adding cornstarch along with all purpose flour approximates cake flour, which makes an extra tender bread. Want to use cake flour instead? Use 3/4 cups.
- baking powder
- ground cardamom
why make orange sugar?
Blending citrus peel with sugar is a favorite technique of mine that helps to get the most bang for my buck out of citrus fruits in baking. The power of a food processor fuses orange peel and sugar together into one incredibly aromatic substance that simultaneously sweetens and flavors my cardamom bread with a lovely orange essence. Roughly speaking about 70-80% of the essential oils and flavor compounds in a citrus fruit can be found in its peel. Citrus peels contain essential oils, which are rich in aromatic compounds such as limonene and citral, responsible for the characteristic citrus aroma and flavor. This method extracts the most from that peel, and it’s so easy!
*If you do not own a food processor you will just grate your orange zest and add it to the sugar before the creaming in step 4 of the recipe below.
why we love this quick bread
This is a delicious bread with a fine, delicate texture. The mingling of the cardamom with the orange is so enticing I found myself constantly pausing my photo shoot to bend down and inhale the aroma. The unusual flavor profile makes this a good recipe for gifting and sharing. (Most likely your friends and family won’t have had it before and it will be a yummy new discovery for them.) It’s a great one for the holidays, too!
orange cardamom bread faqs
What does cardamom taste like?
- Cardamom, like all spices, has a unique flavor that’s difficult to describe. It’s a rounder, less strident flavor than cinnamon, but with a similar warming effect in foods. It features in my Cardamom Coffee Cake and Cardamom Sugar Cookies.
Can orange cardamom bread be frozen?
- Yes, it freezes well. Let it cool completely and then wrap once in plastic, then in foil. Or pop in a heavy duty freezer bag and force out air before zipping closed. You may want to save the glaze for after you thaw the bread.
Can I use gluten free flour?
- Yes, use a good gf baking mix in place of the cake flour.
What can I use instead of cardamom?
- I recommend making this bread with cardamom, but if you must substitute, use ginger, or cinnamon.
What can I use instead of buttermilk?
- You can make a quick buttermilk replacement by adding a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to whole milk and letting it sit on the counter for 10 minutes. You might also use yogurt or sour cream thinned down with a little milk to better approximate the texture of buttermilk.
Can I use oil instead of butter?
- Yes, you’d simply whisk together your wet ingredients instead of creaming. I think orange cardamom bread might be delicious made with olive oil!
Do I have to make the orange sugar?
- The orange sugar will give your bread the best most vivid orange flavor. You can simply zest your orange and mix it into your batter, but the results won’t be as delicious.
Can I leave off the glaze?
- You could, but this is a pretty simple bread and I think it really benefits from the sweet tangy pop from the glaze.
Can this orange cardamom bread be made into mini loaves for gifts?
- Yes but mini loaves vary greatly in size, so use your judgement on baking time. They can take anywhere from 18 minutes (for very small loaves) on up to 40 minutes for larger mini loaves. Mini loaves can easily over bake, so be vigilant.
Orange Cardamom Bread
- 9×5 loaf pan
- parchment paper (optional)
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
- 3 Tbsp orange juice to thin, start with 2 tablespoons and add more as necessary
- Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9×5 loaf pan and line it with parchment paper with long ends so you can lift the bread out later for glazing and slicing.
- Wash and dry the orange. Remove the peel with a vegetable peeler. A serrated peeler works best for this. You want to remove just the orange part of the peel, with little of the bitter white pith underneath.
- Put the sugar and orange peelings in a food processor and process until the peels are completely incorporated into the sugar. You may want to pulse as well as process to get all the chunks of peel broken down. The sugar will be pale orange, and incredibly fragrant with a moist texture similar to brown sugar. Note: do not make your orange sugar ahead of time, use right away.
- Put the orange sugar and butter into a stand mixer and cream until light and fluffy ~ a full 5 minutes.
- Beat in each of the eggs, one by one, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the vanilla.
- Whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cardamom and add to the mixer, alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Finish mixing by hand, to make sure everything is thoroughly mixed, but don't over beat.
- Turn the batter into the prepared pan, spread out evenly, and bake on the center rack for 55-60 minutes, or until fully risen and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out without wet batter clinging to it (moist crumbs are fine.) Ovens and pans vary so check your bread on the early side.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then remove, using the parchment paper handles, and remove to a cooling rack.
- Meanwhile whisk together the sugar with enough orange juice to make a thick glaze. Spread the glaze over the slightly warm or cooled bread. Wait until the glaze sets up before slicing.