Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins

Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins are layered with a cardamom streusel. These deliciously moist muffins are inspired by the famous Moosewood Cookbook Cardamom Coffee Cake!

Cardamom Coffee Cake is one of my all time favorite recipes 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 for baking cardamom coffee cake muffins ~

  • 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

4.15 from 64 votes

Cardamom Coffee Cake Muffins

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!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Yield 12 muffins
Author Sue Moran


  • 2 sticks or 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


  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    April 7, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Nice cakes.

  • Reply
    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
      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
    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
    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
    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
    April 7, 2012 at 1:20 pm

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

  • Reply
    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
    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!

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