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Sunday, April 12, 2020

Pantry Crumb Cake

Like many other across the country, I'm baking more than normal these days. It's more for comfort and less out of boredom in my case; the current situation is providing a new test of my limits. I'm working from home, overseeing schooling for two older boys, caring for a toddler and a preschooler, and helping everyone deal with their emotions while also feeling quite a few emotions myself. So every comforting banana muffin helps.

Among the multiple recent batches of banana muffins are almond joy rice krispy treats, rice krispy treats with peppermint marshmallows, chocolate bread pudding, and this new-to-me pantry cake. A commenter on the original recipe suggested renaming it Covid Comfort Cake, so I'm not the only one who has enjoyed it. I hope it's comforting to you!


Pantry Crumb Cake

1  8 or 9-inch round or square cake
Source: New York Times Cooking

To bake at altitudes around 5000 feet make these changes to the cake amounts:
add 1 1/2 T flour
remove 1/2 T sugar

For the topping:

1/2 c brown sugar
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted
1/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c oats
1 teas spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, or nutmeg in any combination; I used 3/4 teas cinnamon and 1/4 teas cardamom)
1/2 teas salt

For the cake:

1 1/2 c flour
1 teas baking powder
1/4 teas baking soda
1/2 teas salt
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
1/2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 teas vanilla
2/3 c sour cream, yogurt or nondairy yogurt, buttermilk, crème fraîche, or milk acidified with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
½ cup fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries, grated apple or pear, chopped pineapple (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F and butter your cake pan. This will work in an 8- or 9-inch round or square pan.

Mix all the topping ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

The original recipe was fiddly about combining ingredients. Here's my lazy version: beat the butter and sugar in a mixer for several minutes until fluffy and light. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat again, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl a couple of times. Mix in the sour cream fully, then add the flour, baking powder and baking soda and mix until just combined. If using, fold in the zest and/or fruit by hand.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Stir the topping mixture so it breaks up into crumbs and then sprinkle the crumbs evenly over the batter. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean, and let the cake cool in the pan. 

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