I am impressed by the variety of food dubbed “New York-style” and how much people all over the world clamour to try the real thing. New York-style cheese cake, New York-style pizza, New York-style bagel, just to name a few. Of course there is also whole myriad of food not explicitly named New York-style yet uniquely delicious in the New York kind of way. Black and white cookies, pastrami sandwiches, bialys…this list of food lover’s “New York must eats” just keeps growing. Thanks to BAKED Explorations, I learned of yet another New York-style food not to be messed with: the New York-style Crumb Cake. How did the city manage to claim the humble coffee cake as its own?
As Matt Lewis helpfully explained in the cookbook, there are a few things that makes a crumb cake New York-style. The huge boulders of crumbs, the large ratio of crumb topping to cake, no swirls, and the lack of nuts set this style apart from crumb cakes all over. Although my favourite crumb cake involves sweet tender pieces of apples baked inside the cake, I have an open mind when it comes to cakes. I almost made this cake exactly as written. Yes, almost.
Lately I’m infatuated with whole wheat flour because my CSA mills some really delicious ones. Most important of all, they are super fresh! Every time I open the bag, I can smell the nutty sweetness of the flour. I want to use them in everything. Unfortunately, for most baked goods, using 100% whole wheat flour would likely yield heavy result so I have to be judicious. But not for the crumb topping of this cake! It uses a whopping 2 1/2 cups of flour yet neither gluten development nor tenderness factor in the final result. I gleefully used whole wheat flour in the crumb topping to add a bit of nutty flavour without actually using any nuts. Let me tell you, it was gooooood.
The base of sour cream butter cake is a very standard recipe. It is tender and buttery as expected but it really plays second fiddle to the ginormous crumbs. Typically I would consider crumb cake to be finger food. It’s casual and rustic after all. However, with all that towering crumbs, this cake is best served on a plate with fork.
Happy Easter! I hope the Easter Bunny visited you too after he came by my house this morning. I better start planning for cookies and milk because at this rate, there’s a good chance Santa Claus will drop by in December. Don’t forget to check out the cakes from other BAKED Sunday Mornings members! The recipe can be found at epicurious.com.