One of the things I’ve missed the most about living on the East Coast is crumb cake. As weird as it may sound, I associate life in New York and the East Coast with crumb cake. Maybe it’s because of the German immigrants that influenced that region and brought their baked goods with them, that you can find crumb cake in every bakery and corner store there.
Elsewhere in America, crumb cake gets called coffee cake and is merely vanilla cake covered with a little crumble topping. And while those cakes are fine, the real crumb cake should be packed with buttery crumbs of topping, virtually the same thickness as the cake it covers. This cake is one of my favorite breakfast foods; a simple delight when eaten fresh with hot tea or coffee.
The great thing about this cake is that it actually gets better the longer it sits. It’s a cinch to throw together and bake, and then will keep for days, wrapped in plastic, and get better in taste and texture over time. And once you see the crumb on top and get a taste for the real deal, you’ll never go back to the wimpy, store-bought kind again.
To get the recipe and shopping list on your smartphone (iPhone, BlackBerry, Android device) or PC, click here.
Crumb Cake with Cinnamon Streusel
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
5 tablespoons plus 1 cup sugar, divided
6 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon packed light brown sugar, divided
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
3-1/2 cups flour, divided
1/4 cup finely chopped hazelnuts, walnuts or pecans
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- First, make the crumb topping: Combine the 8 tablespoons softened butter, 4 tablespoons of the sugar, 6 tablespoons of the brown sugar, 3 teaspoons of the cinnamon, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and 1 1/4 cups of the flour in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, rub the ingredients together until they form uniform crumbs. Press some of the mixture into large, walnut-sized chunks, and then refrigerate the crumb until ready to use. You can make this topping up to 1 month in advance, and store in the freezer.
- Next, make the streusel: Combine 1 tablespoon of the sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon brown sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon and nuts in a small bowl, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Heat the oven to 325°F. Combine remaining 1 cup sugar, remaining 1 teaspoon salt and remaining 2 ¼ cups flour with baking powder in a large bowl and whisk to combine. In another bowl, whisk together melted butter, milk, buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs until smooth. Pour over dry ingredients and whisk until batter just comes together.
- Pour half the batter into a greased and floured 9-inch springform pan and spread evenly over the bottom. Sprinkle batter with streusel, and then pour remaining batter over streusel, spreading it evenly to cover. Break up crumb topping and sprinkle it evenly over batter, keeping some pieces in very large chunks. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let cool completely, and then unmold before serving.
Special Fork is a recipe website for your smartphone and PC that solves the daily dinnertime dilemma: what to cook now! Our bloggers blog Monday through Friday to give you cooking inspiration. Check out our recipe database for quick ideas that take no more than 30 minutes of prep time. Follow us on Facebook , Twitter, Pinterest, and YouTube.