cardamom coffee cake with bulletproof frosting

i am on my way to la jolla right now for my family's kind-of-annual gathering of playing music at the la jolla summerfest! my suitcase is packed with:

1) stretchy pants and flowy dresses for eating maximum animal style in-n-out and tacos

2) drum sticks, timpani mallets, a pencil (a pencil! haven't used one of those in ages!), and concert black outfits

3) my new wedge sneakers that i was inspired to get because of sarah lynn's shoes on bojack horseman and i'm so obsessed with them. i feel like i'm in back to the future and i never want to take them off. 

being in la jolla always takes me back to the days when my name is yeh was a newborn, when i'd interview my family and friends and take pictures of night time tacos with my little point and shoot. did you know my name is yeh was born in los angeles...7 years ago?? and then when it was just a few days old we drove down to la jolla and i blogged up a storm while my dad was in rehearsal. i think i made like 30 blog posts in that one week i was there. including one about shopping lololololol. 

for this trip, i'm excited to play castanets in some prokofiev, go to a padres game, see my san diego homies, run outside without getting avalanched by mosquitos, and maybe make a mini cake with mia because she is apparently becoming quite the cake stylist these days! 


when i was in tel aviv earlier this month, shiran so sweetly schlepped all of the ingredients for this tiramisu ombre cake over to my airbnb. i was so stinkin excited for this cake but then my stupid airbnb oven didn't work!!! i was so sad and couldn't shake my new craving for coffee in a cake, so this is one of the first things i made when i got home and then i brought it to my friend emily's birthday party. i put cardamom in it because cardamom and coffee are like potato chips and ketchup. potato chips (and coffee) are great on their own but adding ketchup (or cardamom) takes things over the top, am i right?? and it's dressed in an outfit of coffee buttercream, aka bulletproof frosting. (it's really just coffee and butter and sugar but bulletproof sounds really cool (to get actually bulletproof-y, make sure you use grassfed butter (well, you should do that anyway since it tastes good))). so go on, get buzzed on caffeine and have your cake too! 

cardamom coffee cake with bulletproof frosting

makes one two-layer, 8-inch cake



1 3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp ground cardamom

2 large eggs

1 c buttermilk

1/2 c flavorless oil, like canola

1 tb vanilla extract

3/4 c strong coffee, cold or at room temp


1 c unsalted butter, softened

3 c powdered sugar

1 tb instant espresso dissolved in 2 tb water 

1 tb vanilla extract

a pinch of kosher salt

a pinch of cardamom

sprinkles, coffee beans, and cardamom pods (optional, for decorating)



preheat oven to 350.

grease two 8-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment.

in a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. in a medium bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients. whisk the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. pour into cake pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. begin checking for doneness at 28 minutes.

let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, and then turn the cakes onto a lightly greased cooling rack.


use an electric mixer to beat all ingredients together until smooth.


once your cakes are fully cooled, level them. place one layer on a cake board, spread a thick layer of frosting on top, and then place the other layer on top of that. use an offset spatula to frost the cake smoothly all over. top with sprinkles, coffee beans and cardamom pods.