Monday, 4 May 2015

Cardamom Crumb Cake

It is universal. That need for a 'pick-me-up' that strikes every day, around late afternoon-early evening. The English have made a ceremony around afternoon tea.  And they say for the Swedes, the concept of 'fika' is a social institution. It means taking a break from work, most often coffee, with one's colleagues, friends or family. And I don't need to explain how sacred 'chai-time' is for most Indians. Although I do feel sometimes, we take more chai breaks than are necessary!
No matter where in the world you are, no matter what you are doing, it was always nice to take a few minutes off mid-afternoon for a cuppa. And you know what goes best with it.. cake, of course!! Not everyday though. Metabolism is not what it used to be. But yes, every once in a while you can't beat the charm of a good, homemade, no-frills cake! 

And that's exactly what I thought when I came across this neat recipe by Dorie Greenspan. What drew me initially to the recipe was the mention of cardamom. Cardamom is one of my favourite spices. We use it extensively in Indian cooking but I haven't used it that much in my baking.
On a closer look, this cake is also flavoured with orange and coffee. While I am partial to all three flavours, I did wonder if they would come together or would one of them, say cardamom, dominate and obscure the others.
Well, no worries on that count. Warm out of the oven, this incredibly moist cake does justice to all three flavours. You will be able to taste all three with none overpowering the others.
The winning component of this cake, is of course, the crumb on top. It not only gives the cake character but also helps accentuate all three flavours that are present, which complement each other beautifully.
Another interesting facet of this recipe is that you have to rub the orange zest into the sugar so as to infuse that vibrant, citrusy note into the sugar. And it is that citrus scent and flavour that lingers on in your mouth, long after you've had your piece of cake!

On a separate note, I used demerara sugar instead of regular white sugar, keeping my New year's decision in mind to use a healthier alternative for my everyday, home baking. but, feel free to use regular, white sugar.  

As you can see from the photographs, this cake is not much of a looker. But, it more than makes up in the taste department. This is a very flavourful cake that I can't see how you can not enjoy! And it will taste even better the next day!

Cakes like this one are the reason why I bake. Something to share with family and friends over a cup of tea!
Do you have a treasured tea-time ritual?? Tell me! Have a lovely week ahead!!
Cardamom Crumb Cake

Source : Dorie Greenspan's recipe on 'Food 52'

I used a 6-inch round cake tin that served 3-4 persons. If you wish to make a larger cake, please do follow the link given above.


For the crumbs
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar ( I used demerara sugar, you can use regular white sugar)
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange zest (zest of 1 orange)
  • 1/4 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the cake
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar ( I used demerara sugar, you can use regular white sugar)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest (zest of 1-2 oranges)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup strong coffee, cooled
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Pre-heat the oven to 200 deg C. Butter an 6-inch round baking pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.
  • To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and toss them together. Add the butter and, using your fingers or a 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. (The crumbs can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.)
  • To make the 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 wax 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.
  • Put the remaining ingredients, the egg, melted butter, coffee and milk, 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 batter.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake has risen (it will crown), the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan before serving warm or at room temperature. It carries well into the next day too.


  1. You should start doing this professionally! I'd order from looks that gorgeous..and I loove your use of Good Earth things in almost every post :)

    1. Arre M..this is such a simple recipe! Someone like you who likes to bake...can easily make it!! Read the recipe.. it is really quite simple!

      As for the Good Earth stuff..its my indulgence .. I reckon that people will get so distracted by them that they won't notice my clumsy errors! But, these mugs were a generous gift from them. There were having some contest on their Facebook page and I sent in my answer and next thing I know these 2 mugs arrived in the post!! They sure know how to make loyal customers!! :)

    2. hahahah can't bake to save my soul! if you ever come across my blog www, (yesyes read it even though I haven't posted in months!! :P) you'll know! And there are no clumsy errors! i look forward to your posts :)

    3. What?!!! U write a blog and u tell me now!! (exasperated sigh!!) heading over right now... and thank you always for your lovely comments!! xx

  2. oh yessssssss the crumb on the cake...i would love to have this for my evening chai-time.
    Love your blog, do hop on at my blog :) Would love to stay in touch :)

    1. Hi Shweta.. Thank you so much for dropping by.. always great to meet another blogger! :) dropping by your blog right now! x


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