The Moosewood Cookbook Cardamom Coffee Cake is a classic 70’s era rich sour cream bundt cake swirled with ribbons of sweet nutty cardamom.
The Moosewood Cookbook’s cardamom coffee cake
One of my favorite things about running a website like this one is revisiting treasured old recipes from my earliest days This cardamom coffee cake has always loomed large in my memory as one of the great breakfast cakes of all time. As a new baker I thought of it as a monumental project, but while it’s not the quickest coffee cake in the world, it’s totally do-able. I’m bumping up this wonderful breakfast bundt cake in case you’ve never run across it. It’s a winner!
what you’ll need for cardamom coffee cake
This cake is rich (and large!) so a perfect choice for special occasions and entertaining. It has a plain exterior, but you can dust it with powdered sugar to dress it up. The party is all on the inside with this cake, and that’s fine with me.
- brown sugar
- sour cream
- vanilla extract
- baking powder, baking soda, salt
how to layer your cardamom coffee cake
- Once your batter and your streusel are made, the layering begins.
- Begin with a well prepped nonstick pan. I like to spray and flour the pan, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
- Put down 1/3 of the batter into your pan.
- Top with 1/2 of your nut mixture.
- Add another 1/3 of the batter.
- Sprinkle the rest of the nuts.
- Finally all the rest of the batter. Spread out gently.
storage and freezing
The cake will last about a week under a glass cake dome, or covered with foil. It freezes beautifully, too. You can freeze individual slices, just wrap the completely cooled slices in plastic, then in foil.
can you make cardamom coffee cake muffins?
Yes, I have a recipe for them here. You can also bake this in two standard sized loaf pans.
the richest cake in the world?
This cardamom coffee cake comes straight from the 1970s ~ the lineage is impeccable but humble. The recipe is from the hand-written and illustrated Moosewood Cookbook which was self published in 1974 by Mollie Katzen and the other members of the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, NY. The book went on to become one of the top ten top selling cookbooks of all time and one of the earliest examples of the plant based movement. But the cookbook was a child of its times ~ many of the recipes are fairly heavy by today’s standards, and by current standards interpretation of ethnic recipes is crude. Mollie herself calls this cake “the richest cake in the world.” But this is one recipe that will remain with me forever, heavy or not 🙂 and I highly recommend you give it a go. I think this was the first time I ever baked with sour cream and the most I’ve ever used in a single cake, but the results are worth it.
what does cardamom coffee cake taste like?
Cardamom is one of the key spices I’ve celebrated on this site from the very beginning. You might think of it as a variation of cinnamon, but it’s not at all related.
Cardamom is a spice plant in the ginger family native to India and Indonesia. It forms little pods that contain tiny black seeds. Lower quality cardamom is made from grinding both pods and seeds, but top notch cardamom is ground from the seeds only and is quite intense. Both green and black cardamom are used in cooking, but green is the one we use in sweet recipes and baking.
The flavor is unlike any baking spice we commonly use, very aromatic with a slight resin or piney note. While it doesn’t taste like cinnamon, you can definitely get your feet wet with this spice by using it in recipes that call for cinnamon. If you’re still unsure, you can mix it with cinnamon!
more coffee cakes!
- Easy Rhubarb Breakfast Cake
- Lemon Blueberry Bundt Cake
- Apple Cider Doughnut Cake
- Glazed Gingerbread Bundt Cake
- Authentic Irish Apple Cake
- Easy Cinnamon Coffee Cake
- Blackberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Cardamom Coffee Cake
- Full sized non-stick 12-14 cup bundt pan. You can also use a tube pan. this is the one I use
- 2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups golden brown sugar
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 cups sour cream
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup golden brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cardamom
- 1 cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, or both)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter and flour every nook and cranny of a full sized 12-14 cup non-stick bundt pan.
- In a stand mixer (or with electric beaters) cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl as you go, and then the vanilla.
- Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients.
- With the mixer on a medium-low speed, add the dry ingredients to the wet, alternately with the sour cream. You want to begin and end with the dry ingredients. Give everything a final mix with a silicone spoon to insure that everything is well combined.
- Toss the nut mixture togther with a fork.
- Begin layering your coffee cake with 1/3 of the batter into your prepared pan. Top with 1/2 of the nut mixture. Then add another 1/3 of the batter. Finally add the rest of the nut mixture, topped with the rest of the batter. Gently spread the batter across the top surface.
- This epic cake will bake for 1 to 1 1 /2 hours. The type of bundt pan and your oven will determine exactly how long your cake will take. Definitely use the toothpick test, and lay a loose piece of foil over the top if your cake seems to be browning too quickly at the end of baking. Be sure to check in on your cake at one hour.
- Let the cake cool on a rack for 10 minutes, then gently probe around the edges and neck of the pan with a flexible spreader to loosen the cake a bit. Invert the cake onto a plate or the cooling rack.
- The cake is amazing warm, by the way, but will slice neater if you let it cool.
Questions and Reviews
This is a big, buttery crunchy bundt. I used pistachios in the struesel instead of pecans. My struesel did fall through to the bottom—perhaps because the batter was so warm from mixing? I’d love to avoid that from happening when I make it again. The cardamom and pistachios are a great flavor combo.
Love the idea of pistachios!
Sue, I am not to familiar with cardamom. I really would like to try this 2 weekends from now. I have some here from something else I made but nowhere on it does it say green or brown ; ) Can you recommend one? Thank you!
Green cardamom is the one used for baking, and brown cardamom is used for savory recipes like curries. The ground cardamom you see in the spice aisle is green cardamom.
These recipes need to be METRIC as well as cups… we don’t all use cups
There’s a metric toggle in the recipe card, across from the ingredients list.
Could you please explain what golden brown sugar is? I am only familiar with light or dark brown sugar. I am excited to try this recipe it sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing it!!
Golden brown is the same as light brown sugar.