Key Lime & Coconut

My adventures in the world of food & wine

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Sign Me Up for the Dorie Greenspan Cult

Tonight I got the baking bug at midnight (a not infrequent occurrence) and decided to make my first recipe from Dorie Greenspan's oh-so-praised tome Baking: From My Home to Yours. I chose the Cardamom Crumb Cake because for some reason I crave breakfast goods at night, and also because I had all the ingredients on hand.

Let me just say -- all you bloggers who rave about Dorie constantly, you were right, she is a freaking genius. To be fair, this crumb cake was bound to be an instant hit with me because cardamom is far and away my favorite spice. But adding orange zest? And espresso? What seemed like a strange combination of flavors melded together into a miraculous epiphany in my mouth.

Not only is the cake to-die-for delicious, but the recipe was extremely clear and easy to follow -- no guesswork required. I am eagerly looking forward to trying more of Dorie's recipes in the very near future. For now, I've officially joined the cult following.

Cardamom Crumb Cake

For the Crumbs:
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/2 stick (4 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature
For the Cake:
  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1+1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp. instant espresso powder
  • 2/3 c. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 stick (8 Tbsp.) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. whole milk
  • 1/2 c. strong coffee, cooled
  • 1+1/2 tsp. 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 (I used a 9-inch round--BH), 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 to 35 minutes, or until the cake has risen (it will crown), the crumbs are golden, and a thin knife in the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan before serving warm or at room temperature.

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Blogger Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

So glad you have found Dorie! Even I, who never ever bake, have this wonderful book -- and even better, my husband has taken to baking from it almost every weekend. What I love is that her recipes always work -- they are well conceived and well tested. I'm sure you will have many happy days in the kitchen as you work your way through the book.

6:36 AM  
Blogger slush said...

Im glad you joined "the cult" too! If you become hardcore, check out TWD.

11:58 AM  
Blogger Rosie said...

Just found you blog by chance and I am so glad I have. What wonderful cake & great pic :)


1:02 PM  

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