Buttermilk Cardamom Coffee Cake

We’ve lost the coffee cake, somehow.  I rarely see it on menus at breakfast restaurants.  And it’s such a yummy and easy thing to make.  I’ll make an attempt at revitalizing interest in coffee cake by coming up with some new, inventive flavors, and this is my first…featuring my favorite spice, cardamom.  So many fans question my use of cardamom in my Pumpkin Carrot Cake and wonder if they can get by without it.  It’s the signature flavor, and it’s critical.  But if you’re going to spend $10 on a small bottle of cardamom, then it’s just going to sit in your spice cabinet, losing flavor, until you bake the cake again.  So many of them have asked me for other recipes that include cardamom, and here’s one!  (This coffee cake, like all coffee cakes should, goes brilliantly with coffee.  Coffee and cardamom is a legendary pairing!)

1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
12 Tbsp (1 and a half sticks, or 6 ounces) unsalted butter, melted

Combine these ingredients in a bowl and stir with a fork until all the dry ingredients are moistened.  You may then need to work the mixture with your fingers to evenly distribute the butter.  Then fill a 1 cup measuring cup with the mixture and firmly pack it, just like you measure brown sugar.  Place this in a separate bowl on the side.

Into the main bowl with the remainder of the mixture, add:

1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (substitute 1/2 cup yogurt or sour cream mixed with 1/2 cup milk, or 1 cup milk with 1 Tablespoon white vinegar whisked in)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla

Mix thoroughly with a fork.  There will still be some lumps due to the nature of the melted butter addition into the dry ingredients…don’t worry about them.  They will end up as little “streusel” bits scattered throughout the cake.

Into the separate bowl with the cup of packed flour/sugar mixture, add:

1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped nuts (hazelnuts, pecans, etc.)
1/2 cup old fashioned oats

Mix well.  Prepare an 8″ square baking dish (I use glass) by spraying it with cooking spray or buttering it, and then dusting lightly with flour.  Pour the batter into the pan, and then top with the crumbled nut topping.  Bake on the center rack of a preheated 350F oven for 45 minutes.  The cake is done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out without any streaks of wet batter.  Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving!

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