Tuesdays with Dorie: Cardamom Crumb Cake (My pick!!!!)December 21, 2010
This week the Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) bakers made Cardamom Crumb Cake. I’ve been baking with the group for over two years, and this is the most exciting week yet. Why? Because I selected the recipe! I love cardamom, so when I saw this in the book, I decided it was the recipe for me. Well, for me and for the other bakers who are baking along with me this week.
Any other week, I probably would have cut the recipe in half, lightened it by replacing some of the butter with yogurt, and baked it as muffins instead of a cake. But this week, I made the recipe exactly as stated. It was easy to put together, I baked it for 30 minutes, and it was delicious. I couldn’t have asked for more. Cardamom’s mysterious spiciness paired wonderfully with the orange zest. This would be a great cake to serve at a holiday brunch; it’s a welcome twist on the expected gingerbread or cinnamon and nutmeg. I selected this for my tastes, and wasn’t sure how it would go over with my husband. I’m happy to report that he enjoyed it! He appreciated that the cardamom wasn’t overwhelming and he declared the crumbly top to be perfect.
You can find the recipe on page 38 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or scroll down to see the recipe right here. Thank you to everyone who baked with me this week!
Before you start, note that you’ll need melted and cooled butter, more butter at room temperature, and some cooled strong coffee (I put a note on my coffee maker so that I’d remember to save a little of my morning java!)
Cardamom Crumb Cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
For the crumbs:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.
To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and toss them together with a spatula just to blend. Add the butter and, using your fingers or the spatula, mix everything together until you’ve got crumbs of different sizes. It’s nice to have a few big pieces, so don’t overdo it. Set the crumbs aside. (The crumbs can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Turn the dry ingredients out onto a sheet of wax paper, and put the sugar and zest in the bowl. Rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong, then return the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk to blend.
Put the remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk them to blend. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir – don’t beat – to mix. Stir only until you’ve got an evenly moistened batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with a thick, even layer of the crumbs. Pat the crumbs ever so gently into the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake has risen (it will crown), the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan before serving warm or at room temperature.
You can unmold the cake if you want to, but you’ll lose some of the crumbs when you turn it over. I prefer to cut the cake in the pan, taking care not to nick the surface of the pan with my knife. (This is a good job for a plastic or silicone pie server.)
Makes 8 servings
Serving: Cut the cake into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
Storing: This cake is best served the day it is made. It can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; once it defrosts, it benefits from a quick warm-up in a 350-degree-F oven.
Playing Around: I often make just the crumbs and use them to top ice cream and desserts like Chocolate Pudding (page 383), Coffee Caramel Pots de Crème (page 389) or Lemon Cup Custard (page 387). Make the crumbs as directed and refrigerate them for 2 hours. Crumble up the mixture, spread the crumbs out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350-degree-F oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and baked through. Let cool. The crumbs can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.