A few months back, I was Netflix bingeing episodes of Cake Boss when Buddy and his crew had yet another challenge. A woman came to the bakery from somewhere far away just to pick up her pre-ordered crumb cake, and (gasp!) it wasn’t there. In an exciting and conflict-ridden turn of events, Buddy’s sister sold it by accident.
So Buddy, ever the obliging baker, set about making another crumb cake as fast as he could, promising to be done within the hour. And I watched. Fascinated. Enthralled. I’d kind of forgotten, until that episode, how much I love crumb cake.
My ode to crumbs continues today with this crumb cake. You see, it’s kind of an obsession. In my single days, I used to buy an Entenmann’s Ultimate Crumb Cake, sit down at my tiny kitchen table, and eat the crumbs off the top of the cake. Why? Because I could. I would eventually get around to the rest of the cake, but it wasn’t as much fun. I just couldn’t resist all those crumbs.
Since those crazy times, I haven’t had much crumb cake. That is, until the fateful episode of Cake Boss. In the months since, I’ve baked a lot of different crumb cakes. Some have stuff inside, like apples and cinnamon. Some are plain, like this one. But they are all delicious and deserve to be given lots of attention.
The most important thing to keep in mind when making a crumb cake is to keep that crumb layer as thick as possible. You want the crumbs to overwhelm the cake. Just be careful if you’re playing around. I was making a crumb cake a few months ago while experimenting with oat flour, and the crumb part was so heavy that the top layer sunk down into the cake. It was kind of like an upside-down cake, but not. Epic fail, people.
But failure is a part of life. Without it, we would never know success. And that is my wise nugget of the day.
And here’s some bonus wisdom: go make some crumb cake. Crumb cake makes life worth living!
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup milk (I used 2 percent)
- 1 and 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 and 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- powdered sugar, for dusting after baking (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 8-inch round or square pan with parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, lighly beat the egg. Add the milk and set aside.
In a larger bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture and butter, mixing thoroughly until a smooth batter forms. Pour the batter into the cake pan.
Make the crumb topping. Combine the dry ingredietns and mix well. Add the butter and vanilla and, using your fingers, mix the ingredients until crumbs start to form. Making sure to leave the crumbs nice and big, layer on top of the cake batter.
Put the cake in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the crumbs are golden. Let the cake cool, and then dust the top with powdered sugar if desired. Remove from the pan and place on a plate or cake stand. If you want to save some, double-wrap the cake in foil and a freezer bag. It will freeze well for up to one month!