We’re officially here– the day before Christmas! I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve heard people say ‘Christmas is just around the corner’ in the same way I kind of lost track of the countdown to Christmas, but when you wake up on the 24th, it’s pretty hard to deny that Christmas is officially HERE!
Tonight’s the night the gift wrappers go flying in every direction by the tree. Tonight’s the night kids place a plateful of cookies with milk for Santa in hopes they’ll pass for good instead of bad. Tonight’s the night the Noche Buena table will be laid out in every Filipino household. But before all that, I wanted to introduce you to this very unassuming but very delicious cake. (And by that I mean there’s still time to include this in your Christmas feast!)
‘Christmas in a cake’ is what I call this. I could’ve chosen something extravagant and impressive to write about today, but at the first whiff and taste of this Pistachio-Cardamom Coffee Cake, I knew I had to go with this as my final and most important Christmas post of the year. The scent of spice wafting through the house thanks to this cake gives off such a cozy feeling that I can only describe as appropriate for the season at hand.
I was surprised by how much impact this simple cake had on me. It’s nice to have something that’s differently amazing every once in a while, but at the end of the day it’s the things that evoke a feeling of warmth that we end up running back to. I can’t quite put to words how much this cake made me feel like it deserves to be recreated in every home to be shared by the whole family, but it is what it is.
Cardamom has been such a well-loved spice over the years, but to me it gained a new meaning– something that smells like Christmas! I found that the cardamom flavour here comes out more once the cake has taken time to settle at room temperature overnight. That’s not to say it’s not delicious freshly baked; in fact it’s incredibly hard not to cut into this cake even before it cools completely! Guess what I’m trying to say is: This is one of those times you’ll be more than happy to have leftovers for the day after Christmas. 🙂
The texture of this cake is pretty amazing too. The crumb is soft and fluffy, and it stays that way even after days. Of course, the icing on this cake (if you will), is definitely the pistachio streusel that sits on top. Crunchy, buttery, and filled with a pleasant spicy pistachio flavour, it turns this cake from humble to something that deserves to be displayed on a cake stand on that Christmas eve table. Alongside the prepared coffee and hot chocolate, everyone will be enjoying this cake as they count down to Christmas day.
Pistachio-Cardamom Coffee Cake
For the cake
- 12 tablespoons 1 1/2 sticks butter, room temperature
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain yogurt, regular or low-fat is fine
For the pistachio streusel
- ½ cup pistachios
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup butter, cold and cut into small cubes
Make the cake
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a tube pan with parchment paper on the bottom, then grease the parchment as well as all around the tube pan. Set aside.
- 2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cardamom, and salt, until well combined. Set aside.
- 3. In a large bowl (or using a mixer), beat the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and vanilla extract, then beat until incorporated.
- 4. Alternate folding in the flour mixture and the yogurt into the wet ingredients, starting and ending with the flour mixture, until everything is combined. (Start with a third of the flour mixture followed by half of the yoghurt, then add the second third of the flour and the last of the yoghurt, before finally folding in the last third of the flour.)
Make the streusel
- 5. Place the pistachios, cardamom, flour, and sugar in a food processor and pulse until the pistachios look well chopped. Pulse in the butter until just combined.
- 6. Squeeze the streusel in your hands until it becomes dense and resembles wet sand.
Bake the cake
- 7. Pour the batter into the prepared tube pan, then sprinkle the pistachio streusel evenly over the batter. Lightly tap the pan on the kitchen counter to make sure the batter fills into the shape of the tube pan. Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly before running a knife around and under the cake and removing from the tube pan. Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
Since this is called a coffee cake after all, I don’t suppose I have to mention this cake pairs perfectly with freshly brewed coffee? I just absolutely adore this cake to the last crumb.
This is probably going to be my last post for the year as I’ll be flying off in a few hours for a little vacation. To be honest, I’m pretty excited for 2016. I have so many ideas up my sleeve and so many things I want to try out next year! Anyway, we’ll talk about it come January. For now, I just want to wish everyone the warmest of holidays. Merry Christmas! <3