Yesterday I flew to St. Louis to attend my parents' retirement reception from the small university where they work. They didn't know I was coming.
I am not normally given to springing huge surprises on people--but in this case it seems to have been very effective, particularly since I walked into the party accompanied by a six foot tall purple and white griffin, presumably beet red. Did I also mention that despite my theatrical background, I am not given to grand entrances?
Although I loathe Starbucks on general principles, I will admit to a weakness for their reduced-fat cinnamon coffee cake. It's tender with a big cinnamon streusel stripe through the middle of it. This cake one-ups that by adding cardamom and orange zest. It smelled heavenly out of the oven, and my lucky husband tells me that his colleagues ate this cake in a hot second yesterday.
Cinnamon Swirl Buttermilk Pound Cake
Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. salted butter, melted
For the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. cardamom, preferably freshly ground
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. orange zest
1 cup buttermilk
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a bundt pan by spraying it liberally with baking spray.
In a small bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the streusel with a fork. Then add the melted butter--I found it worked easiest to mix it in with my fingers until it formed small clumps.
In a medium bowl, sift together the two flours, baking powder and soda, salt and cardamom.
Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is creamy and paler in color. Add the granulated sugar in three installments, continuously beating on medium speed until all the sugar is incorporated. Then add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each one. Scrape down the bowl and then add the vanilla and orange zest. Finally, turn the mixer to low and then add the flour mixture in three installments, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat until just incorporated.
Pour half the batter into the bundt pan, then cover with the cinnamon streusel--it doesn't matter if the streusel layer is precisely even. Then pour the remaining batter in, smoothing the top.
Bake until a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean, about 65 minutes. Turn the cake out onto a baker's rack and allow to cool, or in my case, snap a quick picture and then run out the door for the airport.
Makes 12-16 small slices.