Crumb Cake - October 29, 2009
In case you're wondering why I'm baking so much today when I said I wasn't really baking this week because I was on vacation and wouldn't have anyone to give the baked goods to, I was able to find some willing recipients today. My friend Karen and her husband Rex are building a house and their construction crews have been regular recipients of what I make. I was in a baking mood so I arranged for Karen to come pick up all the stuff I made today for the crew. Which was nice because it allowed me to try out several new recipes today.
One of those recipes was the Classic Crumb Cake recipe from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook. At first I was worried because the crumb topping recipe made a lot of crumb topping. As in, there was more crumb than cake when I was layering them in the pan. And the amount of butter listed for the crumb toppping is NOT a typo. I was worried Martha had gone off her rocker with that much crumb mixture but as it turned out, it actually worked. I guess that's why they call it crumb cake. This is not the same as streusel coffee cake which has a lighter layer of streusel on top. A crumb topping doesn't usually contain nuts whereas most streusel toppings do.
Watch the baking time on this cake. I actually timed this one and took it out when the recipe said to (and you know how haphazard I am sometimes about timing things). I almost didn't take it out on time because the middle part of the crumb topping still looked a bit wet and I thought it should be more crumby. But I also know a cake with this kind of texture should never be overbaked or it'll be dry. For my oven, it was the right call because the cake turned out moist with a nice soft texture. The crumb topping was delicious - just turn a blind eye to how much butter and sugar is in it (as I did with the shortbread).
1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sour cream
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and sour cream; beat just until combined.
3. Spoon the batter into the pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
3 ½ sticks (1 ¾ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, until large, moist clumps form. (Alternatively, mix together in a food processor.) Topping can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.