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Cardamom Coffee Cake

I’m back in Brooklyn after a weekend in the Baltimore suburbs with Ramsey and his family. We enjoyed a great Thanksgiving dinner, watched terrible movies (Vampire’s Kiss starring Nicholas Cage) and charming ones (The Muppets), and walked around a massive outlet mall where a Medieval Times “castle” is just a few stores away from a Cinnabon. The internet also taught us a trick for opening a wine bottle without a corkscrew, which Ramsey put to use a few minutes before Thanksgiving dinner:


It felt good to wake up at home this morning, a familiar light fixture above my head and the Brooklyn streets still quiet outside. A perfect time to fill the apartment with the smells of baking and warm spices, like cardamom, cinnamon, and a dash of ground ginger. A perfect time for coffee cake with streusel.

I adapted a Martha Stewart recipe to fit the contents of my refrigerator and available baking pans.

Cardamom Coffee Cake with Streusel
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

For the Streusel

  • 1 tbs ground cardamom
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

For the Cake

  • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbs ground cardamom
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 350° F.

2. Start with the streusel. Combine cardamom, flour, brown sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles large crumbs. If you don’t have a pastry blender, you can use the double-knife method. Set aside.

3. For the cake, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time. Reduce the speed again and add the flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream.

4. Coat a large bunt pan with non-stick oil or butter. Add half of the batter to the pan and smooth with a spatula. Sprinkle with the streusel. Top with the remaining batter and smooth gently with a spatula.

5. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Keep a close eye on it to make sure it doesn’t brown too much. I made that mistake today, and while the crunchy exterior of the cake is nice, I wish I’d pulled the cake out at the proper time.

6. Cool the cake in the pan for 15-20 minutes on a wire rack. Invert the pan on the rack to remove the cake and cool for an additional 45 minutes or so. Serve with coffee, tea, or a mug of chai with milk and sugar.

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