Cardamom Walnut Coffee Cake

All hail the 6″ cake pan. I love me some cake and I like to make other people happy with cake. But I do not want cake lingering around like that last glass of wine I didn’t need. Enter this lovely little coffee cake adapted from Cook’s Illustrated. It was amazing. The family downed it on Sunday. And it was gone. The perfect guest, it knew how to choose it’s moment to exit before I regretted extending the invitation. Decadence and restraint all in one recipe.

I will be experimenting with all my cake recipes to pare down to this size. I think most 9 inch cake pan recipes will actually  make two 6 inch cakes so I might do that and freeze one. Did you know cake freezes well? I didn’t. But that’s because I never had enough leftover cake for it to matter.

The other great thing about this coffee cake is that you can make it ahead so it’s perfect for holiday breakfasts. No need to wake up early to pull off something impressive. You can even freeze it and it goes straight into the oven to bake. My husband is not a fan of cinnamon so I subbed out the cinnamon for cardamom but if you prefer cinnamon you can use the same amounts instead. I also subbed out light brown sugar for dark to get a little more richness.

Cardamom and Walnut Make Ahead Coffee Cake (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

Serves 4-6

1 tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces and chilled

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

2 tablespoons chopped walnuts

2/3 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup sour cream

1 large egg at room temperature

3 tablespoons dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and cooled

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To make the streusel topping, combine the brown and white sugar, butter, flour and cardamom in a bowl. Using your fingers, combine the ingredients, coating and pinching the butter until it looks like coarse meal. Stir in the nuts and put in the refrigerator.

Grease a 6 inch cake pan and cut a circle of parchment paper to line the bottom. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cardamom together. In a separate bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, butter and sugars. Gently fold the wet ingredients into to dry until combined but do not over mix. Some lumps are fine.

If you are cooking right away, sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the top and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean.

If you are cooking within 24 hours, wrap cake tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove the cake when you want to bake it, sprinkle with streusel topping and bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

If you are going to freeze it, wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze for up to one month. Do not thaw before baking. Sprinkle the streusel topping on and bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.