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.