August 20, 2012
Crumb cake was a staple, yes a staple, in my home when I was a teenager. My father always had two Entemann's cakes on hand as he liked to pack a piece in his lunchbox for his coffee break at work. For my father, gathering for coffee with relatives was a not only a childhood constant but it was also a constant in his adult life. His father had 10 siblings while his mother had 3 and they often gathered with coffee and pastry of some kind. I remember gathering at my grandmother's table and she would set out cold cut, rolls, butter, and some kind of pastry. She had a large table and I remember my uncles and aunts talking and my grandfather's accented voice. Granny's house was the only place I had butter and lunch meat sandwiches. I would listen to the voices in the room, with Pop's voice rising up in octaves then falling down and his conversation was peppered with Slovakian words. I would sit across from a framed picture of DaVinci's Last Supper eating my sandwich, pastry, and drinking orange soda and contemplating the depth of that picture.
I have noticed a common thread in my posts and I realize that many of my posts are rememberances of the past and how I am remaking the recipes that shaped my life, my experiences, my perceptions, and my tastes. I am grateful to my parents and family for giving me this nutrition and sustenance of my soul. My parents' were always putting a pot of coffee on and sharing a coffee cake and conversation with family and friends that stopped over. So much of life is gathered around the table and sharing in whatever way that a family system shares life as it unfolds, often good sometimes not so good, but the family table is always there. I am fortunate to still have that family table to go home to and I cherish it when I am there.
Preheat oven to 325F
Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, butter or spray the pan before you put parchment if you would like a perfect square shape - I just manipulate the parchment - I don't mind an imperfect square.
Streusel Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granualted sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces butter) melted and still warm
1 3/4 cup cake flour
Whisk to combine sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a medium bowl.
Add flour and stir until dough combines together, set aside to cool.
1 1/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup granualated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons slightly softened butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
In bowl for stand mixer bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low until just combined.
Add butter pieces one at a time as the mixer is running at low speed.
Continute until mixture resembles moist crumbs 1 1/2 minutes.
Add egg, yolk, vanilla and buttermilk and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy around 1 minute.
Scrape batter into paking pan spreading into an even layer.
Break apart the streusel topping into pea sized pellets and spread evenly over the cake working from the outside to the middle.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until a cake tester inserted into center is crumb free.
Cool on wire rack for 20 minutes.
Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
adapted from CI