Cardamon Coffee Cake. Sour Cream Cardamom Coffee Cake.
I first had this cake maybe thirty years ago, and I remember it as if it were yesterday….and the memory still makes my mouth water.
It was a cold, crisp day in the fall…a day much like today.
Pat and Troy, two excellent bakers, were at work standing with a cake dish that had the most amazing cake smell coming from it.
I immediately became so focused on the CAKE that I can’t remember who made that particular cake, but it did inspire the other to make a second cake a few weeks later, so I had this cake twice in a month, lucky lucky lucky me…
Back to that first CAKE.
Don’t be deceived by appearances, it’s not just the look – which is that of a very nice coffee cake – but the aroma,
Oh, The AROMA!
And thus I smelled cardamom (or evidently, as the English call it cardamon , which must be why I am going back and forth between the two spellings) for the very first time.
Troy and Pat were discussing pre-ground cardamon versus buying the pod and grinding your own, as well as the expense….for the money, buy the pods and grind your own, it doesn’t take that much time or effort and it is 100 times better at much less then 100 times the cost.
Then the conversation went to the vast amount of butter – a POUND – that goes in, as well as the vast amount of sour cream that goes in – a POUND – ….
This is not a cake to make impulsively, or for yourself.
This is a cake for an OCCASION, an EVENT, a HOLIDAY, a GATHERING, a CROWD.
You will need a big bowl.
But first, you will need a recipe.
So did I.
It took me a while to find the recipes. Every time I got into a bookstore, I couldn’t remember WHICH of the Mollie Katzan
books it was, and when I got one I made soups and salads, because REALLY how is a dessert vegetarian??????Most desserts don’t have meat in them….and I had cake and cookie and dessert cookbooks to give me all the sugar and spice and everything nice recipes that I could make.
When I finally brought the right cookbook home, and got past the Gypsy Soup – this is SUCH Gypsy Soup weather….
I bought the cardamon and copious amounts of sour cream and butter and got everything mise-en-place, I went to bed to get up early, make coffee and make the cake. Had to use my trusty Kitchen-Aid, my biggest Budnt pan, which I put on a baking sheet, just in case there was overflow……it’s a LONG bake, but after about 25 minutes….back to
Oh, The AROMA!
It was a downright cold day the day I baked, and I hesitated to take it out of the pan because I didn’t want it to collapse, so I popped the pan, on the baking sheet in the back seat of the car, the one that smelled like baked beans in the hot summer sun, and set off to work. Once more,
Oh, The AROMA!
and when I arrived at work, before I could find a plate big enough to turn the cake out of the pan on, I found myself surround by curious co-workers, and conversation about cardamon being so important to Finnish Christmas cooking, and the secret ingredient of really good Chai …..and when the cake came out, a little slumped under the weight of the sour cream and the butter and the sugar and the spice…..and there were pieces of cake and plates and all passed around and then….silence.
A moment of silence.
We don’t get many of those in the workplace, so I wasn’t sure if it was endorsement or disappointment.
More plates, pieces saved for lunch, pieces saved for those not in quite yet…..
I’ve made this cake several times, always the same reception. But I haven’t made it recently.
But a lunchtime conversation about cardamom with someone named Molly….cardamon flashback
I will be making this coffee cake sooner rather then later…..
Being separated from my cookbooks only makes things more interesting.
What I’ve found on the Internet:
- This is an Occasional Cake – crave it occasionally, make it for a special occasion. This is not an everyday cake.
- There are some who would cut back on the butter and/or the sour cream or shrink the volume to fit into an 8×8 pan- IGNORE THEM. They are idiots. They have completely missed the point. If you want low fat make an angelfood cake or eat a piece of fruit.
- You will need a big bowl, a big pan and some big time. It’s 90 minutes, at least, in the oven alone.
- It will be totally worth it.
And now for the links:
- Bakepedia – Cardomom Coffee Cake – the first of their Throwback Thursday posts, and Mollie in her own words
- Enchanted Fig Huge and Beautiful Cardamom Coffee Cake: Momma Diaries 2
- Art of Gluten-free Baking – Coffee Cake Friday: Cardamom Coffee Cake, Gluten-Free