Tuesdays with Dorie: Cardamom Crumb Cake (My pick!!!!)

December 21, 2010

This week the Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) bakers made Cardamom Crumb Cake. I’ve been baking with the group for over two years, and this is the most exciting week yet. Why? Because I selected the recipe! I love cardamom, so when I saw this in the book, I decided it was the recipe for me. Well, for me and for the other bakers who are baking along with me this week.

It was a piece of cake to make this!

Any other week, I probably would have cut the recipe in half, lightened it by replacing some of the butter with yogurt, and baked it as muffins instead of a cake. But this week, I made the recipe exactly as stated. It was easy to put together, I baked it for 30 minutes, and it was delicious. I couldn’t have asked for more. Cardamom’s mysterious spiciness paired wonderfully with the orange zest. This would be a great cake to serve at a holiday brunch; it’s a welcome twist on the expected gingerbread or cinnamon and nutmeg. I selected this for my tastes, and wasn’t sure how it would go over with my husband. I’m happy to report that he enjoyed it! He appreciated that the cardamom wasn’t overwhelming and he declared the crumbly top to be perfect.

You can find the recipe on page 38 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or scroll down to see the recipe right here.  Thank you to everyone who baked with me this week!

Crumbs before mixing in the butter

The crumbs

Dry ingredients

Orange zest and sugar, looking pretty groovy

Ready to bake

Hot out of the oven!

Before you start, note that you’ll need melted and cooled butter, more butter at room temperature, and some cooled strong coffee (I put a note on my coffee maker so that I’d remember to save a little of my morning java!)

Cardamom Crumb Cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the crumbs:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square 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 with a spatula just to blend. Add the butter and, using your fingers or the 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 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 center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan before serving warm or at room temperature.

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. (This is a good job for a plastic or silicone pie server.)

Makes 8 servings

Serving: Cut the cake into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Storing: This cake is best served the day it is made. It can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; once it defrosts, it benefits from a quick warm-up in a 350-degree-F oven.

Playing Around: I often make just the crumbs and use them to top ice cream and desserts like Chocolate Pudding (page 383), Coffee Caramel Pots de Crème (page 389) or Lemon Cup Custard (page 387). Make the crumbs as directed and refrigerate them for 2 hours. Crumble up the mixture, spread the crumbs out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350-degree-F oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and baked through. Let cool. The crumbs can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.



  1. This looks so delicious

  2. How exciting that it’s finally your pick, Jill! This looks like a terrific cake, and I’ll try it out sometime after the Christmas rush is over. Just wondering: if I replaced some of the butter with yogurt, what proportions would you suggest?

    • Hi Beth, I often substitute plain yogurt in equal amounts for melted butter or oil. The final product won’t be quite as tender. I usually replace half of the butter or oil, but you might want to try a lesser amount if you’re concerned about losing the tender texture of the cake or muffin.

  3. I’m so excited that your week is finally here! I love all of your pictures-especially the one of all of the spices and the orange zest and sugar.

    Cardamom is a spice I don’t get to use very often-but I do love it and we really loved these (I made them into muffins!)

    What a great two years it has been baking along with you and the rest of the TWD’ers!!! I am so thankful for your friendship!

    GREAT pick Jill!!!!!!

  4. Beautiful cake, wonderful pick.

    I was thinking that this would be great for Christmas breakfast.

  5. […] the complete recipe, go to Jill’s Blog or check out page 38 of Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenpsan. To see other Cardamom […]

  6. I *loved* this crumb cake!! Thanks for selecting this one!! Yours looks wonderful–fantastic photos!! Happy Holidays!!

  7. Hi Jill, I made this months ago but I must have done something wrong because mine wasn’t great but everyone’s posts say otherwise. Guess I should have made it again! Happy holidays, thanks for posting

  8. Wonderful pick, Jill! I absolutely loved this – simple, easy and fantastic! 🙂

  9. This cake made a huge hit around my house; all 4 of us loved it! I’m glad that you chose it (have been eyeing the recipe for awhile) and that your husband liked it too.

  10. One of my favorite parts is grinding up the cardomom seeds, they smell so great! Fun pick, thanks for making it.

  11. Great pick, Jill! Yours looks delicious, and I’m so glad the hubs liked it too. Enjoy your week, it’s so much fun to host!

  12. Your cake looks great – what a fantastic pick for the holidays! I didn’t get a chance to make it this week, but I’m already thinking it will be my rewind next week.

  13. I am very happy,you picked this recipe. It was a great success. It is an easy recipe and one that is a surprise as far how good it is. Delicious.

    Yours turned out great. Thanks for hosting.


  14. Thank you for a great pick. Cardamom made it just different enough to be cool and I can’t wait to make it again. You are right, it would be a great holiday cake. Maybe later this week for Christmas?! Happy Holidays to you and yours.

  15. […] can find the recipe on her blog. Click here to be taken directly to it. This entry was posted in Cakes, Coffee/Espresso, Crumble, […]

  16. moist and fluffy cake, can’t ask for more than that! great pick!! it is now featured as day 21 of my extravaganza 🙂

  17. Thanks for the fun pick! Mine are going out as gifts!

  18. Yay! This was a great choice Jill. Love your streusel topping – mine never quite looks like that.

  19. Thanks for a great pick, Jill!

  20. Great pick, Jill! I am going to give this another try, as cardamom is my favourite spice. Maybe for Christmas morning, as Chocolatechic said.

  21. Thanks for hosting this week Jill! I’m sorry I didn’t bake along today, but I do plan to make this one as soon as I have more time and get my hands on some cardamom. I’m glad you were a big fan of your pick, it looks great 🙂

    Happy Holidays!

  22. Im going to bake this soon! I didn’t have time this past week. Thanks for hosting this week!

  23. Loved this cake. Love cardamom so no problem making the whole recipe. But in little cake form.

    GREAT pick this week.

  24. Your cake looks great, Jill! Nice job picking one that you wanted to try (but it’s good your husband liked it, too). We loved this one at my house; I made the full cake and it’s disappearing fast. The only change I made was using a quarter whole wheat flour and thought it was nice in this cake.

  25. This was such a delicious cake! It kept getting tastier and tastier every day. Love the cardamom flavor. Have a great holiday.

  26. Great pick, Jill! Glad I made it.
    Happy Holidays to you!

  27. This cake looks yummy. I will make it in the near future. I had surgery last week (neck fusion) so I’m not doing much cooking. It looks delicious.

  28. This looks wonderful. And, yes, yes, yes, I am feeling so guilty that I did not make this one because I try to make all the recipes that my good blogging friends pick, but I have to say we are just plain dessert-ed out at the moment, this happens every single year and it takes a bit for it to return. When it returns, I will make it!

  29. If I would have realized you were hosting this week, I would have tried harder to get this made. I love cardamom too and you make me want to try this cake soon.

  30. What a great pick – I found out about grinding cardamom pods (which I was told) would make a big difference – loved the flavor of these Jill! I totally agree – love anything that doesn’t use the kitchenaid! Quick breads are so easy!

  31. Great pick! I think this cake looks so delicious and very easy to make!

  32. happy new year! this was a great pick…i had a little bit stashed in the freezer, and we polished it off yesterday. so tasty for breakfast!

  33. […] dear readers, what I’m trying to tell you is that I made a foodie cake.  And I didn’t love it.  This pains me, because it came from Dorie, the queen of baking and […]

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