Monday, August 11, 2008

Classic Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake

Moving has been a good occasion to turn back to one of my favorite cookbooks: The Weekend Baker. It has plenty of recipes for those of us with little space, time, or equipment. I'm definitely hurting in the equipment department: my apron has been doubling as a dish towel, oven mitt, and pot-holder. I'm missing other important things, like silverware.

I decided to make this crumb cake to try out my tiny gas oven. It's easy to make, especially if you have a food scale. It was visually striking; the top browned well and the big crumbs held their shape. It looked like something you'd see at Starbucks.

Considering how easy it was to make, this cake was pretty good. The recipe isn't my favorite, but it's good in a pinch- especially if you're feeding a crowd.

Classic Crumb Cake
adapted from Abigail Johnson Dodge's The Weekend Baker

For the topping:
16 tbsp (227g) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup (113g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (170g) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch table salt
2 2/3 cups (340g) all purpose flour

For the cake:
3 cups (383g) all purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (284g) granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
12 tbsp (170g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. To make the topping: in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Slide the pan from the heat and add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Stir with a rubber spatula, pressing when necessary, until there are no lumps of sugar. Add the flour and mix until well blended and pasty. Set aside.

2. To make the cake: position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350F/180C degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 9x13in baking pan or dish.

3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until well blended. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.

4. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently stir with a rubber spatula just until blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Break up the topping mixture with your fingers into medium sized pieces and sprinkle evenly over the cake batter to form a generous layer.

5. Bake until the cake springs back lightly when pressed in the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Before serving, sift some confectioners' sugar over the top, if desired.


Christina said...

I really like the look of the crumb topping. I have a hard time getting mine to keep the big chunks, so I'll have to try this recipe.

Amanda said...

So did you move from Pittsburgh to LA? that's quite a stretch! Hopefully you are settling in nicely...

Patricia Scarpin said...

It looks delicious and I love how thick the crumb is.

Aran said...

you know, I make complex desserts but I can truly appreciate a great crumb cake. One of my favorites for sure.