Thursday, September 29, 2011

Seaside Crumbcake

the product = more crumb than cake!
One of my first summer jobs as a teenager was working at a seaside bakery on the coast of New Jersey. It's hard now to imagine myself getting up at 4 AM to go to work, but at the time, the pre-dawn (and pre-humid) walk along the lake was whirring with the sounds of night bugs and getting off work at 10 or 11 made for a lovely afternoon snoozing and swimming in the ocean. One of the most common sales at this shop was their amazing crumbcake - we would sell out of it almost every day. Though I don't work there anymore or live enough close to it to get a fix every now and again, I like to make it occasionally (though no more than occasionally - you'll understand when you see the butter content!). I worried that something about the salty sea air is what made the crumbcake so amazing, but I'm happy to say that I've been able to closely approximate the delicious texture of the seaside crumbcake at home! This recipe is a lot of fun to make!

Seaside Crumbcake

Use a 9 x 12 glass pyrex pan.

3 tbl canola oil
the batter phase
4 1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp allspice
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter (told you there was a lot in here!)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325. Melt butter in a saucepan and set aside to cool.
2. Brush 1 tbl of canola oil in the pan and sprinkle about 1/4 cup flour over it. Shake the pan gently over the trash/sink to remove the extra flour
3. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.
4. In a separate medium bowl, mix egg, milk, canola oil, and vanilla. Add dry ingredients to this mixture.
5. Spread batter into the pan - it should just form a thin layer at the base of the pyrex.
6. In a small bowl, mix 2 1/2 cups of flour, brown sugar, and spices. Some recipes call for cinnamon alone, but I prefer the more complex flavor of having sprinkles of some additional spices.
7. Pour butter over mixture, and mix with a fork to form crumbles.
8. Sprinkle the large crumbles over the batter (this is my favorite part of this recipe).
9. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
10. Cool completely. Once cooled, sift powdered sugar over the cake. Cut into slices and enjoy!!

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