Monday, March 4, 2013

Coffee Crumb Cake

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...The coffee cake we know today was not a unique creation.  It evolved in progressions that began with ancient honey cakes and galettes and  morphed into the yeasty sweet rolls, crisp Danish and quick breads that we've come to associate with our breakfast and morning coffee today.  The concept of a coffee cake, or sweet cake that is served with coffee, probably originated in Europe during the 17th century. We have the Germans, Dutch and Scandinavians to thank for them and immigrants from those countries brought their cakes with them to the new world.  The Scandinavians, however, were the group most responsible for making American's a nation of coffee drinkers and coming up with the kind of food that goes well with pots of the steaming brew. While German women brought the Kaffeeklatcsh, an occasion that combined gossip and coffee drinking to the new world, the pot of coffee brewing on the back of stoves in Scandinavian kitchens became synonymous with hospitality and became America's version of England's tea. Despite waves of immigration the term coffee cake  was not used until 1879 when it began to appear now historic cookbooks. Following World War II, promotional campaigns sponsored by organizations representing coffee importers highlighted coffee breaks and the assortment of plain cakes served during those breaks were renamed coffee cakes and  recipes for them became popular in home kitchens.  The recipe I'm featuring today is one of those recipes. It was developed by Nick Malgieri for Saveur magazine. It is a lovely cake and very easy to make.The cake layer is topped by a thick, almost obscene, layer of crumb topping that I think you will love. The crumb layer is so thick that it is hard to tell when the cake is done and I let mine bake for an additional 10 minutes. The next time I make this cake I plan to use a larger pan and cut back on the amount of streusel I place on top of it.  There is such a thing as wretched excess. Having said that, I must again say this cake is delicious and I think those of you try this recipe will be more than happy with the results. Easter is coming and this would be  a great addition to your breakfast or brunch table. Here is how the cake is made. 

Coffee Crumb Cake...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nick Malgieri and Saveur magazine

Crumb Topping
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pan
2 cups flour, plus more for pan
1 tablespoon  baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4  cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
2/3 cup milk

1) To make  crumb topping: Whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Add butter, and rub into flour mixture with your fingers until large clumps form. Stir in walnuts, and refrigerate until ready to use.
2) To make cake layer:  Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8 x 8-inch baking pan and set aside. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in another  bowl on medium-high speed with a hand mixer until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add egg; beat until smooth. Alternately add dry ingredients and milk in 3 batches, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and beating after each addition until just  combined. Scrape batter into pan. Smooth top. Break topping up into large clumps and sprinkle  evenly over batter. Bake until topping is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in  middle comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Yield: 10 servings.

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Priya Suresh said...

Fantabulous cake, who can resist to it.

Alicia Foodycat said...

I could just go for a slice of that now!

Diane said...

This looks wonderful but it will have to wait. I have decided that I must get off the weight I put on in Casablanca, therefore I am being very strict with myself to what I eat :( Have a great week Diane

Manu said...

I love coffee cake...
Have a nice week

Unknown said...

Oooohhh Yum! Coffee crumb cake has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. I wish I had a nice LARGE piece to go with my coffee :)

Susan..... said...

Every Sunday after church, everyone would cross the street to Mazur's Bakery to buy a bag of crumb buns to take home and everyone I still see has then spent their adult life trying to replicate those "crumbs". This looks like it might just come very close. Would be nice to make a batch for Easter and see how many "days I have just made........"

Unknown said...

Perfect for breakfast!

pam said...

I agree that is a lot of topping!! But I am all for wretched excess!

Kim said...

I think, I never had a crumb cake... and I saw a lot when I go to NYC! This looks good and I would too cut back on the crumb... Have a nice monday!

David said...

Mary, Thanks for the Coffee Crumb Cake! Now I'm ready for my coffee and my orange juice so I can start out my morning in a positive frame of mind... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh this cake looks amazing!!

Unknown said...

Wow, that crumb topping is amazing and the cake looks so moist! I probably wouldn't eat anything else on the brunch table.

Joanne said...

I love a good coffee cake! Especially one with a crust that deliciously thick!

Laura Dembowski said...

Love, love, love crumb cake! Yours looks incredible. The layers are perfect!

Unknown said...

I actually love the thick crumb on the top, would love to try this recipe, as soon as I get the conversion of the measurement done..

Whitney @ The Newlywed Chefs said...

Yum! I love crumb cake. This recipe looks fabulous!

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert said...

However it morphed - it look amazing! How do you do this day after day? You are a rock star!

teresa said...

mmm, these with a nice cup of tea equals a perfect afternoon.

Tanna said...

The wretched excess of this one sounds out of this world. LOL! I'm pretty sure I would enjoy every obscene bite! Seems perfect for Easter morning. Thank you, Mary. blessings ~ tanna
ps the red beans and rice will be before Easter. ;)

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