Coffee(cake) Talk & Recipe: Thai Iced Tea Coffeecake with Ginger-Cardamom Crumb

Coffee & curry = company’s coming over

Of cardamom & coffeetalk.

There are few things I crave more than the flavors of Thailand, so when I was trying to think of a nice, one layer cake I could make to follow a curry dinner with a friend a while back, and ‘coffeecake’ immediately popped into my head, I rolled with it. I had brief thoughts of a Thai iced tea-based agar dessert, which would be considerably more traditional, as would some mango and sticky rice, but that’s not quite as budget-friendly and pantry-utilizing — or seasonally inclined. So there I went, making a from-scratch batch of Thai iced tea the evening before. My kitchen smelled amazing. I turned to a favorite coffeecake recipe from Vegan Brunch (Fun fact: I was helping out and baked the coffeecake photographed in the actual cookbook!! Crazy talk.) and used the chilled, Thai iced tea and some coconut milk for the nondairy milk called for, broke out the fresh ginger and ground Thai cardamom to add to the crumb, and while I was at it (and low on both canola and coconut oil, on top of embarking on a soy-coconut yogurt-making streak), subbed in some homemade yogurt for half the oil called for.

A girl can dream.

I opted for a springform pan, simply because I’ve wanted to make a coffeecake in one for some time, so my cake is a tad short, but nevertheless, was a big hit with our dinner guests that week. Seriously, it was Thai curry one night and Pho chay, curry-style, the next. That’s what we get for playing hermit for a couple of months.

As for that coffeecake…

The consequent cake is wonderfully, aggressively spiced and easily envisioned as an ice cream flavor.
Ultimately, for someone who grew up sneaking the big crumbs off of my mom’s boxes of Entenmann’s, I have clearly not produced enough vegan coffeecake in my life and need to work on that.

Thai Iced Tea Coffeecake with Ginger-Cardamom Crumb

Adapted from Vegan Brunch by Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Topping adjustments:
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated, fresh ginger > Break out the microplane
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 cup canola or melted coconut oil, or mixture
Cake stuff:
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup brewed & cooled, Thai iced tea* > See note below
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup canola or melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup plain or unsweetened nondairy yogurt > Use coconut if you can, just to say you did
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm or dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
Sift on:
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
To sum up what Isa has written so well…Preheat your oven to 375F. In a medium sized bowl, mix together the first five topping ingredients with a fork, and slowly drizzle in the oil. Set aside.
In a small bowl,  whisk together the coconut milk, Thai iced tea, vinegar, oil, yogurt and extract. We’ll get back to that.
In a large bowl, sift in the spices, salt, baking powder and flour.  Whisk in the liquid mixture and incorporate well.
Add the mixture to a lightly greased 8 or 9 inch baking pan (or be like me, and go for a springform), sprinkle on the topping, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden. Err on the side of 30 minutes if your pan is wider.
Let cool, and sift on powdered sugar & spice mixture.
Slice & enjoy with coffee or even more tea.
Don’t mind the lighting, once the sun goes down, my apartment is no friend to attempts at fancy food photography. Here’s the cake, awaiting its initial post-Jungle Curry dinner showing:
*Thai iced tea note: You can find Thai iced tea sold in bags, powdered mix and cans (though those last two often contain milk products, so read carefully) at Asian supermarkets. Even better, with the right spices, you can super easily make it at home. I used this recipe from The Spice House, skipping the cream and easing up on the sweetener, and was quite happy with the results.  A bit of homemade, condensed coconut milk and some fresh lime would have made it even better.If you like to play speakeasy at home, this is also a lovely one to have cold in the fridge.


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