Cardamom Kumquat Bars

Move over lemon bars. Everyone will swoon over these decadent Cardamom Kumquat Bars.

Cardamom Kumquat Bars by

Have you ever tried kumquats? I’m amazed that many of my friends know about kumquats, but have never tried them. I suppose a lot of the problem is the confusion on how to eat a kumquat. Because, the kumquat is opposite of the typical citrus fruit. It has a sweet skin and a sour center. I first encountered kumquats when I was a student at the University of Arizona. The campus had several kumquat trees and I frequently grabbed a handful on my walks to class. I still love snacking on kumquats, today.

As they are in season right now. My local market has them, and they don’t cost a fortune. I wanted to make some kumquat bars, instead of lemon bars. And I paired it with one of my favorite aromatic spices, cardamom.

Typically cardamom are in pods. They are great to soak into your tea pot to infuse your tea and tantalize your senses. You can also find ground cardamom, which is what I used in my kumquat bars’ crust.

I halved and seeded the kumquats and puréed it in the blender with a shot of orange blossom water – another wonderful Persian concoction. And my Cardamom Kumquat Bars were born.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t get it right the first time. In my usual distracted manner I accidentally used baking soda instead of baking powder. If you don’t know your chemistry, think homemade volcano. My bars gurgled and bubbled in the oven, spilling everywhere. I had to throw my pan out, too.

Cardamom Kumquat Bars by

The second time I made them, I accidentally turned the oven off midway baking when I meant to turn the timer off. It’s a new oven. I’m still working out the kinks. My kumquat bars were baked all the way and were runny. Duh.

Luckily, third time is a charm and I paid incredible attention to what I poured into the batter and what buttons I pushed on the oven.

A successful baking adventure is complete.


Cardamom Kumquat Bars

Sweet and tangy kumquats are a great twist to the classic lemon bar. Spread over a cardamom shortbread crust and your mouth will thank you! Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 22 kumquats, halved & seeded
  • 4 TBS orange blossom water, *
  • 3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted, melted
  • 6 TBS granulated sugar
  • 1 TBS cardamom, ground
  • 3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs, large
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TBS powdered sugar


  1. In a blender add:
    • 22 kumquats , halved & seeded
    • 4 TBS orange blossom water , *
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a 9x13 baking pan with aluminum foil and grease with non-stick spray.
  3. In a large bowl, mix with a scraper until fully incorporated:
    • 2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 cup butter, unsalted , melted
    • 6 TBS granulated sugar
    • 1 TBS cardamom, ground
  4. Press dough evenly onto the bottom of the foil-lined pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until edges start to turn golden brown.
  5. While the crust is in the oven, whisk in a bowl until incorporated, the kumquat purée and:
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3 cup granulated sugar
    • 3 eggs, large
    • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  6. Pour filling over hot crust and place back in the oven.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and let kumquat bars cool completely before removing from the pan.
  8. Top bars with:
    • 1 TBS powdered sugar


Cooking Tips: * If you can't find orange blossom water, substitute with orange extract or orange liquor like Grand Marnier.

Prep Time:

Yield: 12 servings

Cook Time:

Cardamom Kumquat Bars Detail

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10 Responses to Cardamom Kumquat Bars

  1. Looks delicious. Cardamom is one of my favorite spices. I had a cake overflow in my oven once, what a mess! I feel your pain on that one.

  2. Emily at #

    I can't wait to try these! I must admit, I've never eaten a kumquat, so I will use you as my inspiration to try them! Cardamom is one of my favorite flavors in the world, so this seems like a win-win for me. Thanks for the recipe, Laura!

  3. Tiffany at #

    I have baklava in the oven as we speak with cardamom in it!!! 😀 Your bars look fantastic!

  4. chef_d at #

    Yum, these bars look gorgeous and your flavor combination sounds delicious!

  5. I adore kumquats and always thought of them exactly as you describe, "inside out of a typical citrus." They can get pretty sour on the inside and it's fun to give one to someone for the first time. No matter how much you warn them that wall of tang hits like brick wall. Never thought of cardamom as a pairing but of course it sounds perfect. And why not? Cardamom is excellent with oranges and tangerines! I've never tried kumquats in a recipe before…can't wait to try this out!

  6. Thank you for directing me here vi my blog post. Delicious I am sure. The first time I ever tasted cardamom was in an Indian yogurt drink called a lassi. It was incredible

  7. Kimby at #

    Hi! Found you via your link on The Culinary Lens. 🙂 These bars look wonderful, and so does your bowl full of kumquats photo! My grandmother made cardamom bread during the holidays (with a bit of citrus — lemon zest, etc.), but I never thought to pair them like this. Delish!

  8. After reading your post I promised myself that it would be perfect thing to share for for a summer fruit and spice pairing post. I finally did it and featured a link to your recipe under kumquats and cardamom (of course).

  9. Spice Sherpa, I'm glad you liked the bars. Thanks so much for including me in your terrific round up of fruit & spice pairings!

  10. I have to make me one of those sometime, what a great combination, cardamom and kumquat, im a cardamom producer always looking for new ways to use this wonderful spice

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