Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Scent of Cardamom

cardamom coffee cake

The taste and scent of cardamom is hard to describe. It's very distinct and unique. If you're familiar with it, there is no mistaking it. If you're not familiar, then you might say it's floral with a hint a ginger. I would never describe it as spicy. Cinnamon is spicy. Ginger is spicy. Cardamom is not. I am at a loss for how else to describe the mysterious and exotic cardamom.

The yogurt along with the half pound of butter makes this coffee cake moist and definitely not low in calories. But the cardamom permeates each bite and gives the illusion of something bright and fresh that belies any sense of heaviness. The sweet filling is the perfect counterpoint to the fragrant cake. The cinnamon scented walnut filling holds its own yet does not compete against the cardamom infused cake. If you like cardamom chances are you'll love this coffee cake.

Cardamom Coffee Cake
(adapted from "The Bake Sale Cookbook" by Sally Sampson)
(makes one Bundt cake)

3/4 cup chopped walnuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp salt
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole milk plain yogurt (or sour cream)

Preheat oven to 350F. Generously butter and flour a 12-cup capacity Bundt pan.

To make the filling:
Combine walnuts, both sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. Mix well. Set aside.

To make the cake:
Sift together flour, baking powder, cardamom, and salt. Set aside.

Place butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl before each addition. Beat in vanilla.

Add half the flour mixture and beat well. Add 1 cup of the yogurt, continuing to beat. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat in the remaining half of the flour mixture. Add the remaining 1 cup of the yogurt and beat well.

Pour one-third of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Sprinkle with half of the filling mixture. Repeat and top with remaining one-third batter. Bake at 350F until the cake pulls away from the sides of the pan and a tester comes out clean, about 60 minutes.

Cool for 20 minutes in the pan and then invert on a rack. Cool to room temperature. Dust lightly with powdered sugar if desired.


Allison said...

I think cardamom can be often overlooked in baking for the exact reasons you describe. But it adds such complexity and uniqueness to whatever you use it in. I, for one, love the spice. My favorite combo is orange-cardamom. Sounds different at first, but once you try it, its awesome!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A delightful cake! Cardamom is such a wonderful spice!



Yosha said...

I LOVE cardamom in cakes! This looks delicious will have to give it a try.

Pam said...

Yum, this cake looks delicious :) great recipe...


chriesi said...

What a wonderful a cake!

lisa @ dandysugar said...

Cardamom is my favorite spice. I love how you described it- it's such a complex flavor. This cake looks so moist. What a treat!

Angie said...

Mary ~ Thank you for sharing! This looks beautiful. I'm going to make it next week for a ladies gathering. How long would you say it keeps?

ambrosia ananas said...

Cardamom reminds me a bit of pine, with the coolness of mint.

Beautiful cake! My aunt-in-law loves cardamom; I'm excited to make this for her.

Mary said...

Angie - If you wrap it well it would keep for 4 days (at room temp). My cake gets devoured within a day so I have never tested that theory. :)

Mary said...

Ambrosia ananas - I like your description of pine and mint. Cardamom does seems to have a "coolness" to it.

Peabody said...

It was over used for a while and now people hardly use it anymore. Which is sad, because it is a great spice.
Your cake looks moist and yummy.

Angie said...

Thank you, Mary! I will be making this very soon.

suzanacolon said...

Sounds like a great recipe! I love cardamom--I use it in my homemade chai, and I even put it in the banana muffins I wrote about in O, the Oprah Magazine.
Thanks for the great idea, and let me know if you'd like a copy of my book, "Cherries in Winter," which was excerpted in the November issue of O and which features my Nana's recipes (nothing as exotic as cardamom bundt cake, but comfort food is still good!).
All the best,

pynnkpanther said...

A very unique and delicious cake. I just made it and had some with my husband and son. We all loved it along with the Earl Grey tea I made. They were perfect together. Thanks so very much for sharing. Oh, I also want to say I made half with pecans and half with walnuts.

Pynnk :-D

Sean said...

Bookmarked! Yum.

Heavenly Housewife said...

What an absolutely wonderful cake. I love the flavours. Cardamom is a huge favourite of mine.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic cake! I also threw in some raisins on top of the filling at each layer.