Cardamom Coffee Cake Recipe | Bakepedia

Cardamom Coffee Cake

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This article is the first in our new Throwback Thursday series. Twice a month, the Bakepedia team will share recipes that we consider classics; our favorites from the past that we want to revive and share with our community. Bon appétit!

Cardamom Coffee Cake

In our inaugural Throwback Thursdays article, we present to you a recipe from the original The Moosewood Cookbook .

Did you know that it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary this year? Look for a special edition this coming fall.

I got my first copy when I was in college, probably around 1979. That copy got so used I had to buy a second one, which is in my cookbook library to this day. The pages are marked and worn. There are notations in pen and pencil, lots of grease stains and the book is now in three well-loved pieces. There were certain recipes that I turned to again and again – the Calzones, the Zucchini-Crusted Pizza, Spaghetti Squash, Carrot Soup (the ginger version) – the list goes on. As far as sweets are concerned, the Yogurt-Cream-Cheese Pie, Banana Bread and Carrot Cake were in heavy rotation, but none as much as this Cardamom Coffee Cake. It’s easy and different from coffee cakes where the dominant spice is cinnamon, but the main hallmark is that it is dense and rich (look at the amount of butter and sour cream) with a double swirl of crunchy, nutty streusel.

This coffee cake is more sophisticated than most, and it feeds a crowd. I can’t tell you how many times I have baked it, but it probably borders on 100 times. I used to make it in a classic Bundt pan, but I experienced one too many overflows, so now I make it in a loose-bottom angel-food-cake pan. The other change that I made over the years was to reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. I have found that such a large, dense cake bakes up more evenly at the lower temperature.

Our tips are at the top of this recipe so that we could preserve the feel of the original as much as possible. The entire cookbook was handwritten and illustrated by author Mollie Katzen, so our presentation might not be as artful, but the cake will have the same flavor and you will love it.

Cardamom Coffee Cake

Bakepedia Tips

  • Make sure your cardamom is fresh for maximum flavor impact.
  • Eggs should be large and at room temperature.
  • We suggest the tube pan over a Bundt pan.
  • You can use butter or nonstick spray to coat the pan. Cover every inch.
  • Bake at 325°F for about 1 hour 35 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes. Use visual cues as described in recipe.
  • The cake may be stored at room temperature wrapped well with plastic wrap for 4 days.

Below we present the Cardamom Coffee Cake as it was written in the original Moosewood Cookbook. We have tried to stick as closely to the original format as possible. The wording is all Mollie’s.


1 large tube or bundt pan
350° oven
1 – 1½ hours baking time

This is one of the world’s richest cakes.

2 cups soft butter
2 cups light brown sugar

Cream together until light and fluffy.

4 eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Add and beat in well.

2 cups sour cream
4 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. powdered cardamom
½ tsp. salt

Add sour cream and flour mixture alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in each addition just enough to blend. Don’t beat or otherwise overmix.

Nut Mixture
¼ cup light brown sugar
1 Tbs. cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts

Mix together.

Spoon 1/3 the batter into the (well-buttered) pan, then ½ the nut mixture, then 1/3 the batter, then remaining nuts, then remaining batter.

Bake 1 – 1½ hours – until brown on top and dry when you insert a probe all the way down.

Turn out onto a plate after 10 minutes of cooling.

Images: Peter Muka

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