If you read my blog with any regularity, you know I’m a crumb fiend. I love piling crumbs on everything, like this. Or this. Or this.
There’s no exception to that rule on Passover. In fact, while some people call it the holiday of matza, I call it the holiday of crumbs. If you’re wondering why, think about what matza does. It crumbles everywhere. On floors. In hair. Between tiles. Atop light fixtures.
And there I am, broom and dustpan at the ready, to clean it all up. Which is actually a huge step for me, because I am not good at keeping the house clean, much as I try.
I have this theory that we’re all really good at organizing specific elements of life and total crap at getting others together. I’m sure you’re thinking, well, duh. But the people I know who have really clean and organized houses might not be able to get their work desks clean. And the people who get up at the crack of dawn every day to work out (ahem) might never clear out their cars. And the people who can plan out meals for the whole week and do the shopping in one go might not ever be able to work in the time to exercise.
In other words, we’re human. And we tend to focus on what we’re bad at instead of patting ourselves on the back for our natural skills. I mean, I have crazy strong willpower. I have to, for heaven’s sake. I’m a dessert blogger. But I can’t stop getting on my own case about the fact that my house always looks like a hurricane has gone through it.
So if I’m gonna give myself some props right now, let’s get to this crumb cake. It’s a Passover recipe, and it’s seriously the best one in my arsenal. This comes from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design cookbook. If you’re not familiar with her work, she has changed the face of kosher cooking in America. Her books are seriously amazing, and I can’t recommend them enough.
Every year when I bake this cake, it gets destroyed. Almost immediately. I make this for our family holiday meal, and I watch it disappear before my eyes. I have some very picky eaters at these get-togethers, and some people really hate Passover food. Regardless, they all love this cake.
It’s also blindingly easy to make. If you’re in a city where the lady finger cookies on top aren’t available, substitute any bland, vanilla-type cookie. The idea is to make a crumb topping without having to go through the usual process.
When you’re done, you have a cinnamon-studded cake that can give any non-Passover cake a run for its money. Truth be told, if I were being super hard on myself, I wouldn’t even post this recipe, since I didn’t make it up. But really, let’s be honest. My house is a mess. Sometimes I need a little help. None of that matters when you consider that I can bake up a crumb cake that anyone will eat on Passover. Now that’s something worth celebrating!
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla sugar (available in kosher specialty stores)
1 cup canola oil
1 cup potato starch
2 teaspoons cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1 8-oz. box Passover ladyfingers (I used the Oberlander brand, also called "baby fingers")
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350. Coat a 9 x 13-inch pan with cooking spray.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine all the cake ingredients and mix until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20 minutes.
- While the cake is baking, make the crumb topping. In a bowl, combine the topping ingredients and use your fingers to make crumbs.
- Spread the crumb mixture evenly over the cake and bake for 35 additional minutes.
- Cool and cut into squares.