The other day I looked at two words: an athlete.
I think I like the adjective, athletic, better. An athlete sounds too sporty for what I do.
Today, my two words are life changing. Seriously.
(Hey! They were for us. )
I have crumb cake on my 100 Things to Cook Before I Die list because for me, crumb cake means decadence (all of that butter and sugar is scary!). I love crumb on cake, muffins, Danish or whatever baked good comes my way.
I’ve been known to save the crumb topping for last and eat every morsel slowly and fastidiously. I even added crumb to things that didn’t call for it. But I knew that all that yummy crumb wasn’t wholly good for me. So, when I looked up the ingredients for a crumb cake, it didn’t really surprise me that there was a whole stick of butter just in the crumb alone
I don’t bake with margarine anymore given the artificial nature of it. I used to bake with margarine all the time, but now I basically only cook with a little olive oil nonstick spray for my pans and unsalted butter in my baking. I don’t bake all the time, so our consumption of regular butter isn’t enough to tilt the scales.
Unless it’s in crumb cake.
But the other weekend called for desperate measures!
I hadn’t baked anything “for fun” in ages, and I really felt out of touch with my kitchen. There were new gadgets and cookbooks just taunting me with their shiny surfaces and stiff spines.
Working “full” time as a part-timer meant a severe cut in my “fun” time, so baking was the first thing to go. I still technically baked (granola bars still need to be ate!), but it wasn’t the same. Pouring over food blogs, recipe books and clippings, trying to find the perfect recipe is what I love about baking. The entire experience right down to getting your hands all floured, is the best feeling in the world.
So, this was a “do or die” baking situation. I was either going to bake or be really disappointed in myself and the weekend.
And we can’t have that, now can we?
I looked over some of my favorite cookbooks but nothing struck my eye. I wanted something cakey, but all of the cake recipes I saw were too involved (I didn’t have a stocked refrigerator for the kinds of ingredients they called for) and nothing seemed “it”.
And then I came across this old link to a recipe of New York Style Crumb Cake by The Brown-eyed Baker.
If the pics on her own blog don’t make you drool, then there’s no helping you!
Gosh, look at that crumb!
Anyways, I was sold. Crumb cake it would be and crumb cake I would make.
Hubby’s verdict? “This is really good!” Tee! That’s saying a lot since this little cake doesn’t have a smidge of chocolate and no icing (usually two musts in his book).
I tell ya, wars could be solved with crumb cake (unless someone tried to steal my piece, in which case…).
I followed her recipe exactly except for a couple of things:
- I used 1 tsp of cinnamon vs the ¾ tsp listed. I usually just go for the whole spoon when these pesky fractions pop up with regard to cinnamon since I LOVE cinnamon and at that point, it’s not like you’ll notice too much of a difference.
- The recipe called for using a mixer to mix the butter into the flour – I tried this and ended up coating my surfaces with a fine mist of flour. I ditched the mixer until later. Instead, get your hands right into it and rub the flour and butter together. Not only do your hands warm the butter to mix it together more easily, but it’s all a part of baking!
- This recipe is really forgiving. I accidentally left out the vanilla, so I had to scoop out the dough from the prepared pan (btw, I didn’t do the fancy parchment layering described in the instructions – I just cut a sheet to fit and it worked just fine) and mixed the vanilla in before I re-scooped it back into the pan. I thought for sure that this would result in a flat or stiff cake, but the cake was soft and dense with a very fine crumb.
- I also used greek yogurt (Chobani Plain) in place of the buttermilk and the cake was still soft, moist and delicious.
You’ve got to give this recipe a go at least once in your life. Store bought cakes don’t live up to home-baked and you’ll love how easy this recipe is to put together. I honestly had this baked and ready to eat in about two hours.
Making the crumb cake was easy. I’m glad I decided to take the plunge. It won’t be on our list of “regular” goodies due to the butter and sugar content, but it’ll definitely go into my book for future baking.