Thursday, December 28, 2006

Holiday Baking Recap Part 1: New York Crumb Cake

For some reason, I couldn't get all that excited about Christmas this year. I have a hunch it had to do with the weather. It was very mild, with more rain than snow (I guess all our snow went to Denver). We only had one snow that covered the grass, and it didn't last for very long. I'm not complaining -- it was quite pleasant -- but it just didn't seem like the holidays. The good news is that I didn't get my usual Christmas cold, and the whole family was healthy throughout the holiday.

The boys didn't seem to miss the decorations that didn't get put up or the baked goods that didn't get made. And perhaps I was a little more easy going throughout the season. Anyway, I thought I'd recap the baking I did manage to do in a few posts.

I told my mother-in-law I'd bring some kind of a baked good for Christmas breakfast. I thought I'd bake a crumb cake like the ones they sell at Wegmans and Starbuck's. (The Wegmans ones are better than the ones at Starbuck's.) The consist of a moist yellow cake base, with a cinnamony crumb topping that's twice as thick as the cake.

I found the recipe on one of the online food boards, and it came from Martha Stewart Living. The only hitch in this recipe is that it said to use a 9 by 12 1/2-inch pan. Well, what the heck is that? Isn't that about the same as a 9 by 13-inch pan, which most people have? That is what I decided to use -- in fact, I used my 9 by 13-inch Kaiser Bakeware springform pan. When I spread the batter on the pan, it was really thin and I contemplated scraping it out of that pan and moving it to a smaller pan. But the cake part is pretty thin in the cakes I like, so I fearlessly moved ahead with the recipe.

The cake ended up tasting good, but it was too thin. I may try the recipe again, but use a smaller pan. I have to say, though, that I loved the Kaiser springform pan. The cake was perfectly level, and using the springform pan made every piece come out perfectly.

New York Crumb Cake

2 tablespoons canola oil -- plus more for pan
4 cups all-purpose flour -- plus more for dusting pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar -- firmly packed
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsalted butter -- (2 sticks) melted and cooled
Confectioners' sugar -- for dusting

Place rack in center of oven and heat to 325 degrees.

Lightly brush a 9 by 12 1/2-inch baking pan with canola oil, dust with flour and tap to remove excess. Set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a second bowl, whisk together egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients into egg mixture until just combined.

Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside. In a medium bowl, combine remaining 2 1/2 cups flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Pour melted butter over flour mixture and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form.

Sprinkle crumbs over batter and bake, rotating pan after 10 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester comes out clean, about 10 minutes more.

Transfer baking pan to a wire rack to cool. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Using a serrated knife or bench scraper, cut into 3-inch squares. Store in an airtight container up to 3 days.

2 comments:

Joe said...

I love that 9 x 13" springform... I find myself using it often. It is larger though, than most traditional pans and I've not always been pleased with how thin some things get.

Tracy said...

Hmmm ... it never occurred to me that the problem might be the pan. I haven't used it much, so I'll have to watch out for that.
Thanks, Joe!

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