Monday, June 16, 2008

Cinnamon Crumb Cake aka Not Wearing a Swimsuit Anytime Soon...

That's right. All over the country, bloggers are posting healthy recipes as "It's swimsuit season!" Well, I'm here to sabotage your diet, since I myself may need to shy away from the glorious California sunshine. The culprit? Take a looky here:

Hubby doesn't request many sweets; I'm usually the instigator (and creator) of sweets in our household. However, the other day he simply and randomly requested a crumb cake, and a plain one at that. Having never seen him eat one in my life, I wasn't sure where this request came from but how could I resist a culinary challenge?

If you're going to splurge, you might as well go all out. I toyed with making a 'light' recipe, but wanting to create the best recipe, I went straight to the recipe experts: Cook's Illustrated. If you've never had the treat of enjoying their recipes, check out The New Best Recipe; it's literally a Cook's bible. The Cook's Illustrated recipe testers take a methodical and almost scientific approach to recipe testing, substituting ingredients and cooking methods until a recipe is perfected. Straight out of the oven, I knew America's Test Kitchen wasn't lying when they claimed this recipe had been perfected:

As much as I may drool over Entenmanns in the store, we agreed that this crumb cake is far superior and thankfully minus all the weird chemical ingredients. Using cake flour, this cake has a delicate and moist crumb unlike anything I've ever baked. The cinnamon brown sugar crumb topping piles up high, in almost a 50:50 ratio to the cake. Best of all, the cake is not overly sweet and would be perfect with a cup of coffee and as a very nutritious start to your day ;) I also spotted this recipe on Sugar & Spice where Chelley had cut these bad boys into little bite sized pieces and served them in cupcake liners - very cute!

Oh, and for all you Tastespotting lovers, a couple of sites have gone up in their honor. Go check 'em out:

Cinnamon Crumb Cake
(adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (I forgot this step!)

1. FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, cardamom, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Following photos below, break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.


Aimee said...

Another delicious sounding recipe! :-)

Emily said...

I love crumb cake!

Everyone talks about "swimsuit seasn" lately, but I have yet to wear a swimsuit this year. No pool.... :(

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

Fully savor and enjoy that cinnamon crumb cake - it looks/sounds too delicious NOT to!! :0)

La Bella Cooks said...

You can't go wrong with crumb cake and the topping on yours is worth forgoing the swimsuit for a while! Enjoy :)

Anonymous said...

I could eat those crumbs right off the page! Beautiful!

Anonymous said...

I need to get away from teh computer, stop cooking/eating & exercise!!!! looks fab though.

cakewardrobe said...

Boys just aren't really into sweets. I don't consider myself a bad influence though, just broadening their palette :) I wouldn't be able to wear a swimsuit if I made that! YUMMM!!

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this just wonderful?? I loved it so much, it's a good thing I didn't leave much in my house ;-)

Elle said...

I want this! I used to love the little Entenmann's ones! Well, the top, anyway. The cake was always kind of dry.

I'm going to bookmark this one to try!

Julia Goolia said...

LOVE the title of this one. And I love sweets even more:)

test it comm said...

That cinnamon crumb cake looks and sounds really good!

Anonymous said...

Try using real Cinnamon in your recipe and reduce on the sugar. You could also avoid the toxic effects of Coumarin in Cassia.

The Cinnamon that we buy in the US is actually Cassia which could be toxic.

Please click the below link to learn how to identify real Cinnamon.

coffee and queso said...

mmm... looks delish! I, too, have been neglecting my over-30-and-not-getting-any-younger bod in lieu of tasty treats (took a class on brioche , including some to-die-for cinnamon rolls.) here's to newlyweds! must be something about all that new cookware: I've been cooking up a storm since I got married last year!

grace said...

that is one heck of a crumb topping! this is a keeper recipe for me because i greatly prefer the topping to the actual cake. yes, i've been known to nibble on the top and leave the bottom...but don't worry, the cake portion can be saved for trifles! :)

Jessy and her dog Winnie said...

Looks delicious! Crumb cake is definitly the best breakfast food!

Sophie said...

yes, i love that this doesn't have funky ingredients ;). and i'd rather eat dessert than go swimming any day! hehe :D

kat said...

cinnamon crumb cake is a favorite around here though I usually just cheat & do a Bisquick recipe.

I think I'd rather eat sweets than look good in a swimsuit. Heck I live in MN how long is swimsuit season anyway & sweater hide a lot of flaws

Leslie said...

ya, that looks sooo good! The swimsuit season is out for me!!!
As for my Whopper cupcakes..they are more like a CUTE army of cupcakes!

Laura said...

First of all, this looks fabulous. Second of all, your observation of everyone else's blogs and swimsuit season cracked me up. We're not worrying much about swimsuits around here either. What else did I get married and have 2 kids for if not the right to stop trying to look amazing in the summer? ;)

(OK I am not sure I ever qualified as amazing, but you get the drift... bring on the dessert!)

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Oh, I love crumbcake and I think I will have to make this one. And then run a few extra mile :)

Adrianna said...

yum yum yum! thanks for the great looking recipe!

Patricia Scarpin said...

That looks super yummy! I love cinnamon.

Anonymous said...

screw the bikini body!

i'd make that without even thinkin twice about the bod...seems i'm beyond hope :)

Clumbsy Cookie said...

But how cares about a swimsuit if we can eat these delicious looking bars?!

Anonymous said...

Oh that sounds so good, I'd just forget the bikini I think.