The last sweet treat I brought in to work was this cake. My supervisor had requested a coffee cake, and given my new destination, I couldn't think of a better recipe to use than this New York-Style cake.
Since it was my last hurrah of sorts, I wanted to bring something in that would be really delicious, and I had made this cake a few weeks earlier, while Dan was studying for his Boards (which he OWNED). We polished it off within two days. Keep in mind, this does not have any chocolate in it. It was just THAT GOOD. So I knew it would be a crowd pleaser at work.
The cake itself was incredibly flavorful and light, but buttery at the same time. It was so delicious and tender, I could actually picture using the recipe to make the base for any yellow cake. Although, I think a problem would arise when trying to frost it since it's lightness means it's also a bit crumby. Of course, I won't know until I try :)
The topping was dense and sweet, with a hint of cinnamon. I loved the cake so much, I actually thought the topping was a little overpowering, but overall I think the proportion was almost perfect.
This ranks right up there with the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies and Baked Chocolate Mousse as one of the best things I've made in the past few months. What a great way to bid farewell to the South and hello New York!
New York-Style Crumb Cake
For the Topping-
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted but still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (Note: Please don't substitute All-Purpose flour for cake flour. The difference in the amount of protein will lead to a less than tender cake. Trust me, it's worth a trip to the store to pick some up.)
For the cake-
1 1/4 cups cake flour (See Note above about cake flour)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter that has been sitting at room temperature for 1 hour
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
Confectioner's sugar for dusting
1. First, make the topping. Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a medium bowl to combine. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough. Set aside while you make the cake batter.
2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and grease with butter or cooking spray.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and salt just to combine. With the mixer on low, add the butter one tablespoon at a time. Continue beating until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1-2 minutes.
4. Combine the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk in a medium-sized measuring cup (or something else that is easy to pour with).
5. Turn the mixer to a medium-high speed and add a little of the egg mixture at a time, mixing between additions and scraping down the bowl as necessary. Continue to mix until the batter is light and fluffy.
6. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, using a rubber or offset spatula to spread it into an even layer.
7. Using your fingers, pinch off large pea-sized pieces of the crumb topping and spread in a layer over the batter. Begin with the edges and work toward the center. You will have plenty of topping, so it's fine if the pieces overlap or you don't have a perfectly even layer. Fill in any holes. You want the batter to be completely covered.
8. Bake until the crumbs are golden brown, and a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack. Dust with confectioner's sugar just before serving.
Adapted from Cook's Illustrated, May 2007