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Valentine's aphrodisiac snack: Cardamom coffee cake

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Aphrodisiacs have always been associated with love, romance, sex, and Valentine's Day. Their historical significance goes back thousands of years to biblical times, and many of them, like cardamom, are still used today.

Cardamom is a warming and pungent spice in Ayurvedic medicine, and increases blood flow to the tissues (hence its classification as an aphrodisiac). This spice was mentioned in ancient Arabian texts for use in sultans' private harems, so a little bit of cardamom in your sweetheart's morning coffee cake might prove beneficial to you both. What better way to start the day than with this rich, aromatic, and delicious cake.

Cardamom Coffee Cake (from Mollie Katzen's Moosewood Cookbook - 350 degree oven, serves 16)

Ingredients

  • 4 sticks butter
  • 2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. cardamom powder
  • 2 cups sour cream, buttermilk, or plain yogurt
  • For nut crumbles: 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cup walnuts (chopped fine), 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Lightly grease a 10 inch bundt pan, and preheat your oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy, then add eggs one at a time. Add vanilla after batter is smooth.
  3. Sift together the dry cake ingredients in a separate bowl. Alternate adding the flour and sour cream/buttermilk/yogurt gradually to the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Stir these in by hand, just enough to blend everything (if you mix it too much, the cake will be tough).
  4. Combine the nut mixture in a small bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into the pan evenly. Sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the batter, and cover with another 1/3 of the batter. Finally, sprinkle the last of the nut mixture and cover with the last of the batter. Even out the top of the batter with the back of a spoon or spatula.
  5. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the center is cooked (when a skewer inserted in the center comes out dry). Rest cake for 20 minutes in the pan, then invert onto a plate. Allow 30 minutes before slicing.

In addition to being an aphrodisiac, cardamom also helps to alleviate depression, detoxify the body, and aids in digestion. Because of all those fine benefits, this coffee cake is worth making for yourself, especially if you are single. After all, it's best to love yourself first; and besides, there might not be any of this decadent cake left to share with anyone else!

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