Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins




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Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins are light, moist and rich.  The scent of these spiced muffins baking in the kitchen will coax even the sleepiest of sleepyheads out of bed!

Cardamom Coffee Cake is one of my all time favorite things ever.  It’s from the original Moosewood Cookbook, written by Mollie Katzen in 1977.  The hand lettering and hand drawn illustrations make it seem downright quaint next to today’s flashy publications, but the humble collection of vegetarian recipes became one of the top ten best selling cookbooks of all time and was one of the first cookbooks I ever owned.  The other day while I was trying to think of something to make for breakfast, a little light bulb went off in my head…why not halve the recipe and make muffins?!

I’m eating the first muffin fresh out of the oven right now as I’m typing this and all I can say is OMG.  I know, you’re a seasoned blog reader and you’ve heard all this before. You know that bloggers are forever claiming they’ve made the perfect this or that, just to up their readership or go viral on Pinterest.  I don’t blame you if you just go on with your day and don’t give me and my muffin another thought.  Of course if you do, you just might be missing the muffin of a lifetime. Anyway, whether you believe me or not doesn’t really alter the fact: this is the perfect muffin.

Just look at that golden crumb. The aromatic taste of cardamom lingers on the taste buds and that little layer of streusel explodes with flavor when you bite into it.  I was surprised to read that cardamom, which is native to India, is the third most expensive spice in the world, following saffron and vanilla. You can grind it fresh from the pods or buy it already ground.  I’ve used it in both sweet and savory dishes and it’s a regular ingredient in Indian, Middle Eastern, and Nordic cuisine, so it’s worth having around.

Notes ~

  • This batter is thick, so when you put the first scoop into the muffin cup, be sure to gently spread it out to more or less cover the bottom so the first layer of streusel doesn’t fall down and make it difficult to remove the muffin after it’s baked.  Or you can just use paper liners.
  • Make sure your walnuts are finely chopped so the streusel isn’t too heavy.  I used my trusty small food processor.
  • You could leave out the cardamom and use all cinnamon, but don’t.  The unique floral flavor of the cardamom is what makes these muffins stand out from the pack.

Reader Rave ~

“Cardamom has been calling to me and I am so happy I found your recipe! It was easy to follow and I like how all the ingredients are likely to be in the pantry, I was able to make it with what I had on hand. Definitely saving this new favorite recipe and making these again.  I’m not ashamed to say I scarfed down three of these before bed time.  Thanks for sharing!”  ~ Kate


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3.49 from 29 votes

Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks 1/2 lb, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Tbs cardamom
  • 1 cup sour cream or buttermilk I used 1/2 cup sour cream, 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • for the streusel
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 cup walnuts finely chopped

Instructions

  • set oven to 350F
  • Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray, or use muffin liners.
  • Mix the streusel in a small bowl and set aside. Make sure your walnuts are finely chopped, and that you get the lumps of brown sugar broken down.
  • Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom in another small bowl and set aside.
  • Measure out the sour cream or buttermilk, or mix the two if you are using both, and set aside.
  • Cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy.
  • Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Blend in the vanilla.
  • Fold the flour into the butter mixture in thirds, alternating with the sour cream/buttermilk. Just stir enough to blend, don't beat or over mix.
  • Spoon a small scoop of batter into the bottom of 12 muffin cups. Top with a teaspoon or so of streusel mix. Scoop the remaining batter on top and then top with another teaspoon of streusel, use up all the streusel.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool for a few minutes before removing them from the pan to a rack.

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48 Comments

    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    Jeannette Stebbins
    May 17, 2019 at 12:23 pm

    I made these yesterday in anticipation of guests. I had them warm from the oven and without tasting, grabbed three and took them with me to the gym. The three trainers I work with are all there on that day. They were mumbling these are really good! I tried one once back home . WOW. You are right BEST MUFFINS EVER. Love these! Thank you for this recipe! This is an unassuming muffin till…Two left now. None for tomorrow I’m sure. Helps with the lousy NE weather were having.

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 17, 2019 at 2:43 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry about your weather, but thrilled that you loved these muffins. I’m going to have to bake a new batch myself!

  • Reply
    Rea
    May 4, 2019 at 6:49 pm

    5 stars
    Can confirm that these are the “best muffins ever”! I made them last minute for a baby shower (trusting they’d be good as I’ve loved all of Sue’s recipes so far). They were a hit – some of the ladies ate multiple muffins and even more were asking for the recipe and actually called them “the best muffins ever”. Thanks, Sue!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      May 4, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      Haha, I absolutely love this Rea ~ so glad those ladies were pleased :)

  • Reply
    Charlene L-S
    April 10, 2019 at 6:29 am

    5 stars
    Wow, what an amazing recipe! Thank you for sharing. We have celiac disease and are allergic to dairy so we made substitutes for the flour and buttermilk and they came out beautifully and delicious. This is the first recipe I’ve tried from your website – can’t wait to try others!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 10, 2019 at 6:59 am

      I’m happy to hear that the substitutions worked Charlene, and welcome in, you’ll find lots of inspiration here :)

  • Reply
    Phil
    March 28, 2019 at 6:19 am

    5 stars
    Oh my god, I’ve been making this recipe for a year. It is one of my favorite things to bake, by far, and is always a huge hit.

  • Reply
    Crystal Bach
    January 28, 2019 at 1:14 pm

    What adjustments do I need to make if using salted butter? My husband refuses to have unsalted butter in the house! Thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 28, 2019 at 1:33 pm

      The only thing is to leave out the salt in the recipe Crystal. I’m not sure if the result will be a little too salty or not, I always buy unsalted butter, and don’t have much experience baking with anything else. But I think you should be fine just leaving out the extra salt.

  • Reply
    Kate Brinkerhoff
    January 21, 2019 at 11:10 am

    5 stars
    Cardamom has been calling to me and I am so happy I found your recipe! It was easy to follow and I like how all the ingredients are likely to be in the pantry, I was able to make it with what I had on hand. Definitely saving this new favorite recipe and making these again. I made these last night on the coldest day of our winter, and it was also the full moon! I’m not ashamed to say I scarfed down three of these before bed time. I used a standard size muffin tin and was able to make about 20 muffins by filling them half to three quarters full. I used type 00 flour, sour cream, and subbed cinnamon pecans for walnuts. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 21, 2019 at 11:50 am

      Hey Kate ~ I love to think of you baking these on such a cold, moonlit night. So glad you enjoyed them :)

  • Reply
    Carol
    January 17, 2019 at 2:29 am

    I love these homey, delicious types of muffins. I can imagine the lovely smell these will create and cannot wait to try this recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 17, 2019 at 7:05 am

      It’s been too long since I made a batch :)

  • Reply
    Kathy
    November 2, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Oh! Never mind! I had a brain fade. Please disregard my question. I love cardamom and will be making these this weekend! Thank you for the recipe!

    • Reply
      Sue
      November 2, 2018 at 8:47 pm

      lol, I do that all the time, especially with butter measurements! So funny that you commented on this recipe because I was just bookmarking it to remake, it’s been a while!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    November 2, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    1 stick of butter is 1/2 lb. The recipe calls for “2 sticks butter, 1/2 lb.” Can you please clarify?

  • Reply
    Kay
    July 3, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    5 stars
    This was easy to follow and my muffins were to die for….thanks for the recipe! So pleased that I’m now able to make my favourite muffins. Might I add that my guests were impressed, they thought I had bought them from the supermarket…;-)

    • Reply
      Sue
      July 4, 2018 at 7:54 am

      Cardamom coffee cake was probably one of the very first things that I made for myself when I moved out on my own, and it remains one of my absolute favorites, glad you loved these muffins Kay :)

  • Reply
    Chris E
    June 2, 2018 at 10:20 am

    You rock! I was thinking of making the cardomom coffee cake for a party since one of the hosts loves cardomom. I thought about adapting it to a cupcake recipe and wondered if anybody else thought of it. Sure enough- I found your recipe. Thank you – I will have to make a “test” batch first for my family to try.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 2, 2018 at 12:20 pm

      Enjoy :)

  • Reply
    Kristen
    December 29, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    5 stars
    I made these today! DELICIOUS!!!! I ground the cardamom fresh and simmered the pods. My house smells divine!

    • Reply
      Sue
      December 30, 2016 at 8:57 am

      I haven’t made these in years, but now I’m craving them…might just have to be today’s baking project. Have you tried the Moosewood coffee cake?

  • Reply
    Raquel lee
    April 12, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    This is a coffee muffin recipe but there is no coffee listed in the ingredients, should there be?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 13, 2016 at 6:34 am

      Sorry that’s confusing Raquel, but these muffins are based on a coffee cake, they’re not flavored with coffee.

  • Reply
    Lisa from Seattle
    April 6, 2015 at 9:24 am

    5 stars
    I loved the Moosewood recipe back in the day. I just made these muffins for Easter Brunch. They were delcious!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 6, 2015 at 10:21 am

      Oh thanks Lisa, I’m so glad they worked out for you. I love those old 70s era cookbooks, they’re the best!

  • Reply
    diana
    January 4, 2013 at 12:16 am

    Indian spice shops are the cheapest place to get big bags o’cardamom….at least here in Berkeley!

  • Reply
    Christina Rusnock
    August 17, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    There were great! I can’t bear the thought of all of that butter, so I swapped out 1/2 of it for applesauce. Also, used all buttermilk and no sour cream.

  • Reply
    Courtney J
    April 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    Wow!!! These muffins look incredibly delicious!!! Love cardamom :)

  • Reply
    grace
    April 9, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    i LOVE that swirl of streusel! after cinnamon, cardamom is probably my favorite spice. nice. :)

  • Reply
    Katie
    April 9, 2012 at 1:01 am

    I’ve never tried that coffee cake but I’m such a huge fan of that cookbook. These look delicious!

  • Reply
    Barbara
    April 8, 2012 at 11:30 am

    I don’t have that cookbook, Sue, but the recipe is sure familiar! But I usually make it in bundt cake form. The cardamom in this is perfect.
    Happy Easter!

  • Reply
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious
    April 8, 2012 at 4:37 am

    These really do look like the perfect muffins! And that middle streusel layer is incredibly inviting. Yum!

  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Dallas
    April 7, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    I remember that cookbook! I loved it when it first came out and I know I have a copy of it still packed in a box.. might be worth going through a few boxes just to find it.

    You picked a wonderful recipe!

  • Reply
    Miranda
    April 7, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    These look absolutely scrumptious and I can’t wait to try it. THe flavors sound perfect.

  • Reply
    Hungry Dog
    April 7, 2012 at 9:38 pm

    These do sound fantastic. I make a lot of muffins and it’s always nice to venture into new territory. And I am a sucker for anything with cardamom!

  • Reply
    From Beyond My Kitchen Window
    April 7, 2012 at 9:06 pm

    I love coffee cake and coffee in muffin size is just the right amount. These look so moist and delicious. I don’t have any cardamon in my cupboard and now I guess I will have to buy a jar the next time I go to the store.

  • Reply
    Janice
    April 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Nice cakes.

  • Reply
    Amy
    April 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Hmm there is a really great, a bit hippie coffee shop in seattle that sells stellar cardamom coffee cake. I wonder if the moosewood cookbook (actually one of my first cookbooks, too) is where they got it from! And Sue, when you say something is the best, I believe you. :) These look perfect. Bookmarking these for later.

    • Reply
      Anonymous
      July 1, 2012 at 12:06 am

      Which coffee place are you referring to? I would like to check it out

  • Reply
    Inside a British Mum's Kitchen
    April 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Oh these look amazing!! such lovely flavors – I LOVE cardamon – they look so crumbly and moist and delicious :)
    Mary x

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 7, 2012 at 3:23 pm

    Ive always heard the best things about the Moosewood cookbook. I need to pick up a copy. Great looking pics and recipe!

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    April 7, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Of course they’re good – the butter quantity is twice the usual amount. Indulgence is great but one muffin adds up to a THIRD of an adult woman’s calories for an entire day. This has always been my issue with Moosewood recipes, eating them will kill you.

  • Reply
    Heather @girlichef.com
    April 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Oh, I believe you – JUST LOOK AT THOSE!! Cardamom is one of my favorite flavors (and scents, actually). Sometimes I’ll go through big phases where I want cardamom in EVERYTHING! I know I’d love these.

  • Reply
    Mary
    April 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Sue, these really look amazing and they sound delicious. I love the flavor of cardamom. I became acquainted with it as a child and always make it a point to have a supply in my kitchen. I hope you have a wonderful holiday. Blessings…Mary

  • Reply
    Rose
    April 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Moosewood Cookbook & The Enchanted Broccoli Forest are my all time favourite cookbooks.

  • Reply
    annie
    April 7, 2012 at 1:01 pm

    Oh these look so good…I completely forgot about this recipe. I used to make it all the time. Now I’ll be making muffins!

  • Reply
    DaniBP
    April 7, 2012 at 11:29 am

    Thanks for this. I’ve made this in cake form many times, and like you the Moosewood was one of my first cookbooks, actually the very first one I ever owned all by myself at age 20. It taught me to cook!
    Perfect for Easter morning!