Just Coffee Cake
Sometimes the old recipes are the best. Old is a relative term, of course. To me, old recipes are the ones you've been making for years and years, and although, if you're lucky, they've been handed down to you through your family, not all of us have a rich culinary tradition from which to draw.
Rich and packed with lots of butter, sour cream, and nuts, this particular coffee cake stays profoundly, deeply dense and moist for over a week (if it lasts that long). The unexpected perfume of cardamom laced with cinammon gives this cake an exotic glamour that ordinary coffee cakes, languishing in their little Sara Lee boxes, can only imagine in their dusty daydreams. Gratitude will involuntarily overflow if you make this cake ahead and slice into it on the first morning of the new year.
Cardamom Coffee Cake
- 1 lb. unsalted butter, softened
- 2 c. packed light brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 t. vanilla extract
- 4 c. (1 lb., 5 oz.) unbleached flour
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1 1/2 t. baking soda
- 1/2 t. salt
- 1 T. powdered cardamom
- 2 c. sour cream
- 1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
- 1 T. cinnamon
- 1/2 c. finely chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter or oil a 10-inch bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with 2 cups brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Mix in the vanilla.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, soda, salt, and cardamom in a separate bowl.
Add the flour mixture, 1/3 of it at a time, to the butter mixture, alternating with the sour cream. Mix and, if using a stand mixer, scrape down the sides with each additon.
In another, smaller bowl, combine 1/4 c. brown sugar, cinnamon, and walnuts.
Spoon approximately 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half the nut mixture, then add another third of the batter. Cover with remaining nut mixture, then top with remaining batter. Lightly spread into place.
Bake approximately 1-1/4 hours (85 minutes) or until a knife inserted all the way in comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Cool completely, wrap tightly, and serve the next day--when it's even better than the first.
Seves many for several days.
CINNAMON COFFEE CAKES
125 g butter, 1 cup sugar, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoured sugar,
1 cup sour cream, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 cups flour, 1/4 cups chopped nuts (I used the walnuts), 1/4 cups brown sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon cardamom.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well. Stir in the sour cream, mix well. Mix the flour and baking powder and fold gently into the sour cream mixture. Do not beat. Place half the mixture in a well greased 22cm ring tin or 12 small muffin tins. Mix the nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and spoon half on batter in pan. Place remaining cake mixture over the nuts. Sprinkle the remaining nut mix on top of the cake. Bake at 180C for 45 min or for 30 if you make small cakes. Let stand for 5 min before taking out.
Cakes keep well for 3 days in a tightly closed tin.