Coffee and Cardamom Crumb Cake

Coffee and Cardamom Crumb Cake

My favorite food group is “breakfast dessert”. These are lightly sweetened pastries that pair exceptionally well with a cup of coffee and are ideally meant to be a follow up to an egg sandwich. Since I try to eat fruits and vegetables about 80% of the time, I don’t often indulge in breakfast dessert, but when I do, I take it very seriously. Let me introduce you to the prime breakfast dessert exemplar- coffee and cardamom crumb cake.

I’ve been dreaming about making a super traditional NY-style crumb cake, one that is moist and sour cream based with a crumb layer equally as thick as the cake layer itself for the last few months. I’ve recently been drawing a lot of inspiration from Saveur Magazine’s special “Global Baking” issue and they included a crumb cake recipe that looked like it checked all my boxes so I decided to play around with it and ended up with this coffee and cardamom crumb cake. I made a base batter that I flavored with a little extra ground cardamom and then divided 1/3 of the batter out. I then made a paste with espresso and cocoa powder and mixed it in to the smaller amount of batter, swirling it in to plain batter. The whole thing is then covered with an extra buttery crumb topping. As your sprinkling, it’s going to feel like it’s too much crumb topping- it’s not, I promise. Keep going. Your half finished cup of coffee will thank you later.

Coffee and Cardamom Crumb Cake

Yield: 1 9x13 cake 


for the crumb topping: 

2 c all purpose flour

1 c brown sugar

1/4 c sugar

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/2 tsp cardamom

1 tsp salt 

1 cup + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and slightly softened

for the cake: 

2 1/4 c all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cardamom

3/4 c + 2 tbsp unsalted butter, softened 

1 1/2 c sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

1 c sour cream

2 tbsp ground espresso

2 tsp dark cocoa powder

1-2 tbsp hot water


to make the crumb topping: 

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, cinnamon, cardamom, and salt. 

  2. Add cubed butter pieces and use your fingers to work butter into dry ingredients until evenly distributed. Refrigerate while you make the rest of the cake. 

to make the cake: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 cake pan and line with parchment paper. Set aside. 

  2. In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom. Set aside. 

  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. 

  4. Add eggs and vanilla extract and mix until combined, making sure to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. 

  5. With the mixer on low speed, add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 of the sour cream. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add another 1/3 of the dry ingredients, mix to combine, followed by the other half of the sour cream. Add the last 1/3 of the dry ingredients and then scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that everything is combined. 

  6. Spread 2/3 of the batter evenly into the prepared pan. 

  7. In a small bowl, combine espresso and cocoa powder. Add hot water and stir together to make a paste. Add this paste to the remaining 1/3 of the cake batter. Return to the mixer and mix on medium speed until completely combined (about 30 seconds). Scrape the sides/bottom of the bowl again. 

  8. Dollop the espresso cocoa batter evenly over the top of the cake. Use a knife or a toothpick to swirl batters together. 

  9. Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the top of the cake. Bake for 50-55 minutes, until the cake begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

  10. Let cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes before using the parchment paper to lift the cake out of the pan.