The first time this coffee cake was made, or at least the original from Mollie Katzen’s handwritten cookbook, was in 1986, by my mother. Carrying me in her belly, she marked the now yellowed page with the date, written European style, and also added, “Very good.”
For my mom, this was high praise.
By the time I actually remembered this recipe being baked, I was in my teens, and the aroma of cardamom warmed our busy kitchen. When we tried our first buttery bites, my sisters and I were hooked. It became one of our classics. We loved the outrageous richness, the crunch of walnuts, and the perfume and flavor that came from the spices.
To mesh with my health convictions I made a few adjustments but the texture is still tender and moist and the slightly exotic deliciousness of the cardamom remains the same.
Preheat oven to 350°
Prettiest presentation comes from using a tube or Bundt pan. We never had one and I still don’t have one!
2 cups softened unsalted butter
2 cups sucanat or unrefined organic sugar
2 cups organic sour cream
4 free-range eggs
2 tsp. pure vanilla
4 cups organic pastry (soft) flour
2 tsp. baking powder
2 ½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. ground cardamom
¼ cup sucanat, unrefined organic sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
½ cup walnuts
- Cream together sugar and butter until fluffy.
- Add eggs and vanilla, mix well.
- Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, and salt.
- Add ½ cup (ish) sour cream alternately with 1 cup (ish) flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
- Chop walnuts.
- Stir cinnamon, sugar, and walnuts together.
- Spread 1/3 of batter into a well-buttered pan, top with ½ of the nut mixture.
- Cover with the next 1/3 of the batter, dropping consistent spoonfuls over the top of the nuts for easy spreading.
- Top with second half of the nut mixture and spread the last 1/3 of the batter over the nuts.
- Bake 1- 1 ½ hours or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
As a note, do not overbake! The moist cake-like crumb will turn dry and crumbly. I know this from personal experience.