Friends and family think of me as a “guru” when it comes to baking. I’m usually the person they look to when they have a question or — more often — when they need someone to whip up a yummy dessert. I quite enjoy being the go-to baker in my circle, and I’m always up for a good challenge. (Now, if only a network TV producer would recognize my dessert acumen, but I digress…)
At my sister’s recent wedding, a close friend of the family, who loves sweets even more than I do, approached me with a request. Could I “recreate” a delectable crumb cake he had sampled, if he brought me a piece? I was immediately intrigued, since this is my favorite type of baking challenge — the quest to replicate something delicious and make it your own.
Without the sample, I had little to go on, but there are certain mandatories for me when it comes to crumb cake: the moist, yet dense nature of the cake itself, and a TON of buttery, cinnamon-flavored crumbs on top. The recipe definitely had to have those. Being an action-oriented problem solver, I took matters into my own hands — and took to Pinterest, of course. Who has a recipe for “the perfect” crumb cake? And, what exactly would it entail?
As I perused the recipes in a “crumb cake” search, it became clear to me that no one recipe would do. The cake portion of some were better than others, while the ones with great, dense cake didn’t have toppings to fit my crumb-loving criteria. So, I did what I usually do — I combined two recipes for an awesome result. The cake comes from Martha Stewart via The Cottage Market blog, while the “double crumb” topping was featured on The Country Cook blog. In typical TRB fashion, I didn’t follow the cake recipe to the letter. (The Cottage Market recommended using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, but in this type of recipe — and when you are using two sticks of butter in the crumb topping — something seemed wrong about substituting it. However, I did only use a cup of “light” sour cream). What I like most about it, perhaps, is the fact that only simple ingredients are used, and the cake bakes for a total of about 35 minutes. It’s a keeper.
The most amazing part about crumb cake? It’s really tough to stop at just one piece. :)
“Crumb-ing to the Rescue” Crumb Cake
(Original recipes from Martha Stewart via The Cottage Market blog and The Country Cook blog)
For the Cake:
10 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup “light” sour cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 13″X9″ baking pan. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each one. Add vanilla. Add 1/2 of the flour and then the sour cream, finishing with flour, until the batter is blended nicely. Spread batter into prepared pan.
For the Topping:
2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup light brown sugar
1 and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
2. Combine all ingredients until crumbs begin to form. Sprinkle over top of cake batter. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely and sprinkle with powdered sugar to serve.
What’s your favorite thing about crumb cake? Post a comment below.