The Moosewood Cookbook–Cardamom Coffee Cake

I have definitely enjoyed cooking my way through The Moosewood Cookbook because it lets me be more adventurous with vegetables in dishes and allows me to explore some healthy vegetarian options.  However, every once in a while, we all just need to make some comfort food.  The desserts section of the cookbook has the following as part of its introduction: “The idea is to present people with a choice which acknowledges the fact that we are all human beings whose sensuality and sensibility take turns dictating tastes [as] harmoniously as possible.  Variety without too huge a dose of dogma is a goal.”  With that in mind, I wanted to try the cardamom coffee cake recipe because my husband always enjoys something sweet and bread-y in the mornings, and I think this recipe helps show the variety of options in the book.

The Recipe:

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The Ingredients:

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The recipe called for a large bundt pan and I got all excited to go out and get one for making this recipe.  However, seeing how a new one cost $30 at Target, I opted for using what I already had.  This recipe fills two tea-bread-sized loaf pans perfectly, so I had one coffee cake to enjoy now and one to freeze for later.  Here are some photos of the layering process of the batter and the cinnamon-nut-brown-sugar “swirl.”

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Here is the yummy finished product:

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The recipe claims that “this is one of the world´s richest cakes” and from reading the recipe (ALL that sour cream?  ALL that butter?) it seems like it should be.  I was expecting to have the recipe come out like pound cake, but it was more like any normal tea bread or banana bread.  Still very good, but I would not call it “one of the world´s richest cakes.”

Education notes:

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When I studied abroad in Costa Rica at the Center for Sustainable Development Studies, I had a major awakening when it came to where our food comes from.  I was so used to seeing brown, hairy coconuts in the supermarket that I assumed that´s how they grew on trees (and they even appear that way in many cartoon shows!).  However, I remember being surprised when I learned how coconuts, pineapples, and brussel sprouts really grow on their respective plants.  10 years later, while living in Honduras, I saw a cardamom plant for the first time (I had only previously seen the pods dried and out of context).  When I saw this drawing, it wasn´t exactly how I remembered, but immediately I thought of how important it is to know our food in context.  I would love to see more agriculturally-based field trips worked into school curriculum (it seems to be more popular at the elementary level) and see our kids get a deeper sense of appreciation for where food comes from and how it grows.

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