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Jan 22, 2011 12:19 AM

What exactly do the spices cardamom and coriander taste like?

I am planning out my wedding cake, and wanted to make a delicious vanilla spice cake however I wanted to do something special to take it up a notch. I have been doing some research, and quite a few recipes suggest cardamom, and coriander; however I do not have any experience with these spices.
Does anyone have an exact description of what they taste like? Has anyone ever used them in desserts before,and if so how did the dish turn out?

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  1. I don't prefer cardamom and coriander in my sweets, I mostly prefer themin savory foods. Heavily prevalent in Indian cooking. I'd suggest you make something as a trial first. Only your taste buds will be able to describe the flavor. My in laws ALL love cardamom in their sweets. You really need to try something for yourself.

    1. I happen to love cardamom. Some people think it tastes like fennel but I believe it has its own unique flavor. I love corriander (the spice from the same plant as cilantro) which is slightly citrussy, but I wouldn't think to put it in a dessert (my personal taste). First off, it's your wedding cake so you should put in flavors you enjoy. Try them both; don't go by opinions on CH.
      That being said, from personal planning experience, while in an ideal world your wedding would just be about you, you also have to consider the family if you want to "keep the peace". If I served a wedding cake with cardamom, my mom would have a fit. It just wouldn't even be worth it to consider:}

      2 Replies
      1. re: NicoleFriedman

        I love cardamom in cakes, but you really need to taste for yourself . I hate fennel, so it must not taste like fennel. Buy some and smell and taste is the only way.

        1. re: magiesmom

          I agree. I HATE fennel but LOVE cardamom. If you've ever had chai tea its one of the predominant flavors (other than cinnamon). I like cardamom in teas and in desserts - we use it a lot in Persian cooking. But I don't know about coriander for a desserts - I've never heard of it (not to say it isn't done, I've just never tried it).

      2. I am not particularly fond of sweets and generally find wedding cake to be the insult to injury that is the dining experience at a wedding. I. however, love the idea of a spiced wedding cake. Scandinavians employ cardamom and coriander in their cuisine (and booze), both savory and sweet, showing that those spices have an appeal much beyond their native Southern Asia.

        Cardamom is deep and earthy in flavor, sharp, spicy with a crisp hint of sweet. I do not ascribe the anise notes of fennel seeds to it, but they are employed together sometimes and quite complimentary. The following description is pretty good:

        Coriander seeds are fragrant and floral with discernable citrus notes. They are from the same plant as coriander leaves (cilantro) but they do not share much by way of flavors.

        As I said, a spiced wedding cake sounds great to me. The fact that these spices are traditional digestifs is part of their appeal. It’s your wedding, your “Garden Party,” and since “you can’t please everyone, you got to please yourself.” (Yeah, Ricky Nelson, I did it . . . )

        1. I like cardamom in sweets, in balance with other spices. I add to just about any baked good that calls for cinnamon, along with nutmeg, cloves, etc. I don't like it when the cardamom is totally overwhelming, because all I can think is "chai tea mix". In fact, that's one easy way for you try a sweet flavoured with cardamom: go to Starbucks or the like and try a chai tea latte. You can also make chai tea at home with whole cardomom, cloves etc - I find this comes out more balanced in flavour than the commercial preparations. You may actually find that cardamom is quite familiar to you, if you've had chai tea, Indian sweets, or Scandanavian pastries.
          I think coriander is less common in sweets, it's not something I've run into myself.
          If I were you I would actually experiment with a basic vanilla cake/cupcake recipe and add different spices & combos thereof. Sounds like fun to me!

          1. I use both regularly and in ways that I very much enjoy. That's no guarantee you would enjoy them too. I urge you to go to the store, try them out for yourself and then make up your mind. There is no substitute for experience.