Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cardamom Crumb Cake

Sometimes my DH doesn't give me much notice that the guys are coming to our home the next morning for Bible Study. He knew two weeks ago but neglected to tell me. So, yesterday afternoon about 3:00 he just happened to mention it in passing. I said, when were you going to tell me about this, dearest? He said, well, I just did [big, apologetic grin].
So, wanting to do something new (the guys have had all of my regular repertoire of morning coffee cakes more than once) I swiftly turned to my latest favorite baking book, Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My House to Yours. I do love that book. Not wanting to make a trip to the grocery store, I actually found several "Morning Cakes" I could make, but settled on this one.

Out came all the ingredients and this pulled together fairly quickly. I liked the crumb topping - it's a bit different - well, similar to others - but different because of the orange zest - and the espresso powder in it. Oops, I opened my jar of espresso powder that's been languishing in the pantry for at least a year without any use, and uh, it's a solid mass. Oh, da--! Usually I'll just make some very strong espresso instead to substitute in a recipe, but this was in a dry topping, so I couldn't do that. What to do? I had no instant coffee (we don't drink the stuff). So, out came the Dutch-process cocoa. It worked just fine, although I suppose Dorie might not like my substitution. She obviously was going for a cardamom and coffee pairing here. The batter is hand mixed, which gives the finished cake a little bit of irregular texture - not a bad thing. It's not like a dessert cake that's beat with a mixer until totally smooth.
The coffeecake/crumb cake was very nice. This isn't a wow kind of cake - just good home made flavors, perfect with a hot cup of coffee. Luckily there were leftovers, so when the boys come next week I'll pop it in the oven for a little re-heat.

Cardamom Crumb Cake
Recipe By Dorie Greenspan - Baking: From My House to Yours
Servings: 9
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup walnuts -- coarsely chopped
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest -- finely grated
1/2 teaspoon instant coffee granules -- preferably espresso [or cocoa]
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 tablespoons unsalted butter -- at room temperature
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules -- preferably espresso [or cocoa]
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons orange zest -- finely grated
8 tablespoons unsalted butter -- melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup espresso coffee -- cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 400 and arrange rack in center of oven. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.
2. CRUMBS: Put all the ingredients except butter in a bowl and toss them together with a spatula just to blend. Add the butter, in small little pieces, and using your fingers or spatula, mix everything together until you've got crumbs of different sizes. It's nice to have a few big pieces, so don't overdo it. Set the crumbs aside (up to 3 days ahead).
3. CAKE: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom and espresso powder in a large bowl. Turn the dry ingredients out onto a sheet of waxed paper, and put the sugar and zest in the bowl. Rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong, then return the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk to blend.
4. Put the remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk them to blend. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir - DON'T BEAT - to mix. Stir ONLY until you've got an evenly moistened batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with a thick, even layer of the crumbs. Pat the crumbs ever so gently into the top of the batter.
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake has risen (it will crown the pan), the crumbs are golden brown and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan, before serving warm or at room temperature.
7. You can unmold the cake if you want to, but you'll lose some of the crumbs when you turn it over. I prefer to cut the cake in the pan, taking care not to nick the surface of the pan with my knife. Use a silicone spatula if possible.
NOTES : This cake is best served warm the day it's baked. If you must make it ahead, freeze it. Defrost and reheat in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes to warm it.
Per Serving: 422 Calories; 21g Fat (44.6% calories from fat); 7g Protein; 52g Carbohydrate; 1g Dietary Fiber; 90mg Cholesterol; 195mg Sodium. Exchanges: 2 Grain(Starch); 1/2 Lean Meat; 0 Fruit; 0 Non-Fat Milk; 4 Fat; 1 1/2 Other Carbohydrates.
To print a PDF recipe, click title at top.

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