Wednesday, June 17, 2015

New York-Style Crumb Cake

It has been a rough couple of nights with little Lucy. She has a posterior tongue tie that causes her to gulp a lot of air when she eats. As a result, her poor bloated little tummy causes her a lot of anguish. She has been sleeping for only very short little stints and crying hysterically when she awakes. I feel so bad for her - she seems so uncomfortable!

Thankfully, I saw the doctor the other day and she recommended another medication to help break up the bubbles in her stomach. We tried it for the first time last night and already saw a remarkable improvement. Hopefully, our little girl will continue to find some relief!

Since Paul and I have been averaging about three hours of sleep each night, coffee has been a greater friend to us than ever before. And what goes better with coffee than a slice of cake? Especially one with a soft, spongy buttermilk base and a topping of sugary, buttery crumbles. This coffee cake has almost twice as many crumbles as it does cake - and that is exactly what makes it so delectable.

A slice of crumb cake with your morning cup of coffee is a perfectly cozy breakfast to enjoy after a not-so-restful night. Paul loved it. The kids loved it - although their fork-to-mouth-skills leave a lot to be desired - my floor and table was littered with crumbs. An edible battle zone indeed. I had to sweep up quickly before Emma "the Human Vacuum" licked them  off the floor. That goes to show how much she enjoyed the cake - good to the last crumb!

New York-Style Crumb Cake
from Baking Illustrated

Note: Do NOT substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour. It will not bake up the same and the cake will be very heavy and dense.

For the Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
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

To make the Topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, 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.

To make 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.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt 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.

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.


  1. My son had colic. The first night we had him home from the hospital he cried/screamed on and off from 10 at night until 4 in the morning. That was the worst, but he had problems for a a couple of months after that. It was a stressful time for us so I know what you and Paul are going through, and poor Lucy with the pain. It's wonderful that the medicine is helping Lucy. My doctor prescribed "sedadrops" for Chris. I wonder if it's even around today? The cake looks so good. I'll have to give it a try.

  2. I love coffee cake, seems healthier than a donut so a slightly better breakfast choice?? Once I get cake flour I will have to try this out (thanks for your note above, I would have definitely just used AP flour otherwise!)