If I were to tell you that size matters, you would probably think I was telling an inappropriate joke.
On any other day, you would be correct.
But on this day, I’m talking about coffee cake. And size definitely matters when it comes to coffee cake.
Not the size of the cake actually, but the size of crumb.
Let’s face it, the best part of any coffee cake is the brown sugar laced, slightly crunchy crumb that tops the cake. That’s why coffee cake exists. So why not go big on it? Why not pile on heaps of the stuff?
Why not indeed. And that’s what this coffee cake includes: A big thick layer of nothing but crumb.
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2) Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.
3) For filling, slice blackberries in half and toss with sugar and cornstarch. Set aside.
4) To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will be a solid dough.
5) To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
6) In a separate mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed with a hand mixer or stand mixer until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula.
7) Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
8) Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon blackberries over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over blackberries; no need for it to be even.
9) Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake.
10) Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from blackberries), about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. Cool before serving.
Adapted from a NY Times recipe.
Berry Berry Good
There’s a fair amount of ingredients in this bad boy, but there are lots of duplicates so it isn’t too bad really. There’s three basic parts to the cake and we’ll make them all separately and then pile them all together: The cake, the berry filling, and the big crumb topping.
Let’s start with the filling. I went with blackberries, but you could use any berry I think.
Assuming you do you blackberries, I recommend chopping them in half just because they can be a bit large.
Then just mix them in a bowl with the other filling ingredients. Filling is done!
I worried that the filling would be too watery, but it turned out fine.
This is a great recipe for crumb. It’s nice and thick and produces big chunks of crunchy and sweet topping. It’s a keeper for sure.
The one ingredient that you may not have used before is crystallized ginger. It gives the crumb a really light ginger flavor which is amazing. If you can’t find it though, don’t worry about it. It’s not essential to the recipe.
If you use the crystallized ginger, be sure to chop it up really finely. The stuff is pretty strong and you wouldn’t want someone to bite into a big nugget of it.
Combine that with all the other crumb ingredients (except the flour) in a large bowl. Once everything is combined well, stir in the cake flour with a spatula or large spoon. And yes. You must use cake flour. No substitutions.
The finished crumb will a really thick dough that will kind of crumble if you pick it up. That’s what you want.
The cake part of this recipe is pretty straightforward. Mix together all the wet ingredients in a small bowl (eggs, yolks, sour cream, and vanilla). Then in a large bowl, add the dry ingredients, the softened butter, and just a spoonful of the sour cream mixture.
Once that’s all beaten together a bit, go ahead and add in all the liquid ingredients and continue to mix until the batter is smooth. It will be a pretty thick batter, but try not to over-mix it. Basically, stop mixing when you can’t see any flour.
This was my finished batter.
Finishing the Coffee Cake
In a lightly buttered 8×8 baking dish, scrape in almost all of the cake batter. Leave about 1/2 cup of the batter for later.
Then add on all of your blackberry filling followed by the rest of your cake batter. It’s okay if it’s not perfectly spaced out. Just kind of get it all in there.
Next, take all your crumb mixture and break it up into large pieces. Add those pieces to the cake!
The crumb will pretty much completely cover the entire cake which is awesome.
Because there’s a lot of moisture in the berries, you’ll need to bake this cake for a bit longer than you would without them.
Bake it at a low 325 for 60-75 minutes. A toothpick should come out of the center cleanly.
The finished version will be a thing of beauty.
Let this guy cool completely and then you can chop it up and serve it up.
Check out the cross-section on this cake. It’s like half crumb which is perfect.
I made a few different coffee cakes over the years here on Macheesmo, but this is definitely my favorite to-date.
It would be a great thing to have around for the holidays for people to snack on with their morning coffee!