Pipe Dream #212: To Be A Picker – Behemoth Crumb Cake

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I was going to be a good blogger and re-title this recipe because I changed a few things from the Serious Eats version. But after wracking my brain for a better word to describe the hulking masses of butter and brown sugar that make the crumbs of this cake, I couldn’t figure out anything more appropriate that ‘behemoth.’

So here it is, the most inappropriately hulking mass of a calorie bomb I have ever made. It is the fulfillment of every crumb and crisp lover’s fantasy. I know who you are, you who snitch the crumbs off of every streusel-laden item that comes out of the oven. You are me, and the crumbs are everyone’s favorite part, so no shame. Besides, it’s not like you can even pick off enough crumbs from this to make it obvious. Under the crumb there is only…more crumb. An unending bowl of crumb. You’ll be ill before you hit the bottom.

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Unbelievably, there actually was a cake layer to this crumb cake, never mind that it was squashed to a thin pancake. I actually really liked the cake part; it was so soft! I want to make this again, reducing the crumb and increasing the cake part. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for ages.

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So. Much. Crumb.

Crumbs. So. Huge.

I halved the recipe and used an 8″ round, but if you do the same, I suggest an 8×8″ square or a 9″ round.

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The next time you hold a tea party for giants, make this cake. The next time you need a crumb fix, make this cake. Hokay.


Behemoth Crumb Cake

Adapted slightly from Serious Eats

For the crumb:

3 cups (6 sticks) unsalted butter
7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
5 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the cake:

1 cup sifted unbleached or bleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup superfine or strained sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream

Make the topping: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a low flame. Remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes, but do not allow the butter to become cold. Transfer the butter to a large mixing bowl.

Add the flour, brown sugar, salt, vanilla extract, and cinnamon to the butter. Stir together until the mixture forms small crumbs. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Preheat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the lower third of the oven. Line a 9×13-inch pan with parchment, spray with cooking spray and dust the pan lightly with all-purpose flour, tapping out the excess.

Make the cake: Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, then whisk together. Set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a standup electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Soften the butter on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the egg, and beat, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat for about 1 minute longer. Blend in the vanilla.

Reduce the mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the sour cream, dividing the flour mixture into 3 parts and the sour cream into 2 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary and mix for 10 seconds longer.

Pout the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the surface with the back of a tablespoon or rubber spatula. It will just barely cover the bottom in a thin layer.Take a handful of the crumb mixture and make a fist to press the mixture into a large clump, then separate into smaller clusters, scattering them on the top of the cake batter. Repeat until all of the crumbs have been used. Try to make sure that every surface of the cake part is covered, as it will bubble up in any gaps you leave on top. Gently pat the crumbs into the batter with the palm of your hand.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top and begins to come away form the sides of the pan. Let cool completely, then lift the cake out of the pan. Drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze and cut into slices.

1 Response to “Pipe Dream #212: To Be A Picker – Behemoth Crumb Cake”

  1. 1 ACE Diet September 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm

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