On the weekends I like to prepare something special for breakfast. Sometimes it is home-cured bacon and scrambled eggs, maybe a breakfast bread pudding, a simple Dutch baby, or fresh blueberry muffins. During holidays and family brunches I often make a pecan-buttermilk coffeecake that feeds a crowd. But it is one of the few coffeecakes I have ever made, mostly because it is a beloved recipe and it is so easy. But when I ran across this cardamom crumb coffeecake recipe in the May/June Eating Well magazine, I was instantly drawn to it.
I love cardamom. I love chai. I even make a chai bread pudding and chai cinnamon rolls. (Baking these perfumes my whole kitchen for hours. It is heaven!) Cardamom is not a common household spice, nor is it native to the U.S. You can buy cardamom either in the pod or ground. I tend to keep the pods on hand and use them lightly crushed in chai or I grind them when needed for recipes. It is also cheaper this way. A spicy aromatic, cardamom can be pretty pricey in your grocery store. Spice Islands and McCormick charge about $12 for a 2-ounce jar, which will last forever. Of course, having it last forever is not a good thing. Once ground, cardamom begins to lose its oomph. So, I recommend you purchase the pods (Cost Plus is a cheaper resource for these) and grind them in your coffee or spice grinder when needed. You will get the most flavor and bang for your buck. And, if you are anything like me, you will find other uses for those little green pods.
This tasty coffeecake requires only about 10 minutes (or less) of your time to prepare and 35-40 minutes to bake. No special equipment is necessary. Items that you may not have on hand are the aforementioned cardamom, whole wheat flour and buttermilk, but everything else is usually found in your pantry or fridge.
The coffeecake has a nice crumb and the spiciness of the cardamom is toned down so it is very subtle.
So come Saturday, think about trying this out. You (and your family) will be happy you did.
Cardamom Crumb Coffeecake
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, divided
1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour*
3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups white whole-wheat flour*
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup nonfat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For crumb, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cardamom and 1/2 cup of the oats in a food processor. Process until the mixture is crumbly. Turn out into a bowl and add the remaining 1/2 cup oats and nuts. Combine with fingertips or a fork until blended.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.
Sift flour, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until well blended, gradually whisk in buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 2 additions, stirring each time to thoroughly blend.
Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half the oatmeal crumb evenly on top. Spoon the remaining batter over the crumbs and gently spread in an even layer. Top with the remaining oatmeal crumb.
Bake the coffee cake until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm.
*You can also use whole wheat pastry flour
Yield: 9 servings