This fragrant cardamom bread is flavored with orange zest and swirled with frangipane and sliced almonds. It’s made with olive oil and honey for extra flavor and makes for a perfect celebration loaf!
Cardamom, orange, and almond are flavors that are just meant to go together, and they create a perfect symphony in this soft, sweet loaf. It’s perfect for eating plain at breakfast or turning into hearty slices of French toast!
My boyfriend said that this is the “best-smelling thing you’ve ever baked,” so you know I’m not exaggerating when I say that this loaf will make your whole house smell like orange blossoms and sweet cream. It is AMAZING.
What makes this loaf the best spiced bread?
One word – cardamom. Cardamom is a floral, nutty spice that goes so perfectly with the fresh orange zest and almond. We use a heaping teaspoon in this loaf so you definitely won’t miss it’s distinct and wonderful flavor!
We also use olive oil instead of butter and honey instead of white sugar. These ingredients create an additional medley of flavors that go so well with the cardamom and make a super soft, supple bread.
What is frangipane?
Along with the cardamom and orange, we also fill this loaf with frangipane. Frangipane is a sweet almond cream made primarily from butter, sugar, eggs, and almond flour. It comes together in minutes and adds a beautiful, sweet twist to the bread.
To make the frangipane, we’ll first cream together butter and sugar. We’ll then add the almond flour, vanilla, and egg. Finally, we’ll add some flour to thicken up the consistency. The trick here is to pop the frangipane in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before spreading on your dough. Chilling the frangipane slightly solidifies it, which makes it much easier to spread and handle. Otherwise, you might find frangipane oozing all over your countertop!
How to shape and swirl the dough
This shaping technique allows the almond cream to be swirled evenly throughout the entire loaf so that there is almond cream in every bite.
Steps for shaping the loaf:
- Roll out the dough into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle.
- Spread the chilled frangipane evenly across the dough
- Roll up the dough so you have a 12 inch long tube. Cut in half long-way and then twist the two halves together, making sure that the side with filling is facing up. Tuck the ends under and place in the loaf tin.
Tips for perfect orange cardamom bread
If you’re new to baking bread, check out my bread baking guide. It walks you through the different steps for making perfect enriched bread, from mixing to baking. I’m including some general tips here as well:
- If you have a food scale, I highly recommend using one. One cup of flour can vary quite a bit depending on how you scoop the flour, which can lead to imprecise measurements. If you do use cups, make sure that you are spooning and leveling your flour for the most accurate measurement – do not just scoop it out of the bag.
- Make sure your water is warm but not hot. Hot liquids can kill your yeast.
- The room temperature affects rise time. If the room is too cold, your dough may struggle to rise. If you find that happening, you can read my guide to speeding up bread proofing.
- Because of the sugar in the frangipane and the dough, the top of the bread will begin browning quickly in the oven. Gently tent it with aluminum foil halfway through the bake to prevent over-browning.
I love this recipe because it makes me think of warm, spring weather and tea time out in the sun. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do!
Other bread recipes to try:
- Japanese milk bread by hand (no milk powder)
- Cream cheese bread
- Fluffy coffee bread: brown sugar latte rolls
If you make this recipe, please let me know! I always love to see what my readers are baking. You can comment below or tag me on Instagram @halicopteraway.
Orange cardamom bread with almond cream
- Mixing bowl
- stand mixer (optional)
- 9 x 5 inch loaf tin
- 1/4 cup (60g) water, lukewarm
- 2 tbsp (42g) honey
- 2 tsp instant or active dry yeast
- 3 tbsp (37g) olive oil
- 2 cups (240g) all purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- zest of 1 medium orange
- 1 egg
- 3/4 tsp salt
Frangipane (almond cream)
- 3 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup (56g) almond flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp all purpose flour
Egg wash and topping
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp milk or water
- sliced almond or other crushed nuts
Make the dough
- In a medium bowl, mix together lukewarm water, honey, and yeast. Let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is frothy and bubbly. If there are no signs of activity, your yeast may be dead. Start over with fresh yeast.
- Add olive oil, flour, cardamom, orange zest, egg, and salt. Use a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook to knead at medium-low speed for 10 – 15 minutes until the dough is smooth and passes the window pane test. If you don't have a stand mixer, you can also mix and knead by hand. The dough should be slightly sticky, heavy, and smooth.
- Place dough in a greased bowl and let rise for 90 minutes to 2 hours until doubled in size.
Make the frangipane
- While the dough is proofing, make the frangipane. In a medium bowl, use a hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment to cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the almond flour, mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Mix in the egg and vanilla extract until well combined. Mix in 2 tbsp of flour.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge to chill until ready to use. Chilling the frangipane will make it easier to spread over the dough.
Shape and bake
- Grease a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down to release air and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a 12 inch by 10 inch rectangle. If the dough is shrinking and you're struggling to roll it out, let it rest for 5 – 10 minutes to help the gluten relax.
- Spread the surface of the dough evenly with the frangipane and sprinkle with almond slices or crushed nuts. Roll the dough lengthwise, so you have a 12 inch tube. Cut the tube in half and twist the two halves together, making sure that the filling side is facing up. Place the dough braid in the greased loaf tin.
- Cover and let rise for another 90 minutes. When you press your finger into the dough, the indent should fill halfway. If it fills all the way, let the dough proof for longer. If it doesn't fill at all and stays indented, bake immediately.
- Towards the end of the proof, preheat the oven to 375°F. Beat together the egg and milk to create an egg wash. Once the loaf is finished proofing, brush the top with egg wash, avoiding the frangipane. Sprinkle with sliced almonds or crushed nuts.
- Place the loaf in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Check the loaf – if the top of the loaf is browning, tent with aluminum foil. Continue baking for another 15 – 20 minutes, for a total bake time of 30 – 35 minutes. The loaf should be golden brown and make a hollow noise when tapped. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes in the tin.
- A 9 x 5 inch loaf tin is slightly large for this recipe, so if you have a smaller tin that would work just as well.