In The Violet Bakery Cookbook, Claire Ptak shares this coffee cake recipe with an earthy, autumnal spin. Ptak says she’s long loved English coffee walnut cakes, and “adding cardamom to the sponge gives this walnut cake another depth.”
Cardamom Walnut Sponge Cake
2½ oz. walnuts
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¾ tsp. baking powder
¾ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground pink peppercorns
¾ cup plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1½ tsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. crème fraîche
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
2 Tbsp. freshly brewed strong coffee or espresso
Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F (150°C/300°F convection). Brush a 12-cup muffin pan with melted butter.
First, warm the walnuts through on a baking sheet in the oven. Do not toast them; you just want to bring out the fragrant oils. This should take less than 5 minutes. Let the nuts cool slightly, then chop fine. Set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices, then whisk this mixture through the chopped nuts. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, whisk the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until each one is fully incorporated, then add the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour and nut mixture and then the crème fraîche.
Divide the batter among the 12 wells and bake for 20 minutes until the cakes spring back to the touch.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then gently pop them out (you may need to run a small paring knife around the insides of the wells to ease the cakes out). Place the cooled cakes upside down on a wire rack.
Whisk together the ingredients for the icing and spoon it over the cakes. Use the back of a spoon to gently guide it to the edges so that it willingly drips down the sides.
Makes 12 individual cakes.
Reprinted with permission from The Violet Bakery Cookbook by Claire Ptak, copyright 2015, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.