Cardamom Crumb Cake

By • December 16, 2012 15 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe comes from Baking: From My Home to Yours.Dorie Greenspan

Makes 8 servings

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
  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  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 batter.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.)
  7. Serving: Cut the cake into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

More Great Recipes: Breakfast & Brunch|Cakes|Desserts|Breakfast

Topics: Cake

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Comments (15) Questions (0)


4 months ago CH-4500

I have to weigh my butter as I live overseas so it comes in grams.
FYI 120g is too much (David lebovitz conversion).


6 months ago amie minnick

i think the lack of salt makes this cake taste blah. i would either substitute salted butter in place of the unsalted butter or i would add a 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt next time.


over 1 year ago ayana crichlow

I have chopped hazelnuts that are leftover from another recipe. Do you think this would be a good substitute for the walnuts


over 1 year ago DAVILCHICK

So I made this for our Xmas Day Dinner dessert but after I put it in the oven my husband confessed that when I asked him to hand me the cardamom he handed me the ground coriander instead. DUH DUH DUH....Turned out magnificently! However, I was dying to make it again only THIS time with the actual CARDAMOM. So for last night's dinner party I did, in fact, make it correctly and it was also very yum. The Coriander Crumb Cake was more citrus-y flavored and with the Cardamom (original) version we could taste a little more of the coffee. Total yum either way but lesson learned - never ask my husband to hand me a spice. :)


almost 2 years ago ENunn

I'm going to make this tonight. Citrus + coffee = love.


almost 2 years ago Golab

I wanted to make this tonight but had a question for you! In "1", what do you mean by " Put the pan on a baking sheet."? o_O


over 2 years ago PMarie

Love cardomom, orange zest and ginger with it, coffee TOO WEIRD, spoils it all.


over 2 years ago Davis Bliss

LOVE cardamom! Can't wait to try this. Made your rugelach again last night & added cardamom to the filling.


over 2 years ago phoebe's pure food

in love! easy and the scent while baking divine. i substituted 1/2c applesauce for the eggs and still perfect texture.


over 2 years ago Audrey

Oh my gosh, I love this crumb cake. My best friend's mother has made it a handful of times and I've been totally enamored-- so glad I have the recipe now, thank you Dorie for publishing it on Food52!


over 2 years ago Windtryst

I made this yesterday for a Christmas treat at work, I was a bit nervous about the coffee,but followed the recipe to a "T" as I firmly believe you should if you are going to comment on it.
This was a " 10" so good! Everyone loved it,I was proud :) moist & flavorful, you must make this for a gift or Christmas morning. Note, I made this in a larger pan and it was perfect. 12.5x10 .


over 2 years ago CarlaCooks

I made this last night and it's a delicious cake. I only had cardamom seeds (whole seeds, not ground), so I did my best to grind them in my mortar. I was afraid the cardamom would end up with too much of a bite, but they turned out fine. I didn't have an orange around, so I used a lime. The zest went into the crumb, and the juice went into the sugar (not enough zest on a little lime for both the batter and the crumb). Thank you for a wonderful recipe, Dorie! I'm a huge fan :)


over 2 years ago CarlaCooks

PS. there's a slight problem with the amount of butter listed under the ingredients from the crumb. It should be 1/2 stick, not 1/2 tablespoon stick.


over 2 years ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Ooh, this will happen soon!


over 2 years ago fhp

OK I don't really like to bake because I haven't done it enough but I love cardamom and the idea of instant espresso and orange zest is so weird and marvelous that I think I'm going to roll up my sleeves and jump in. Thanks for the life line.