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Crumb Cake, Bad Lighting, and 13 Years

Have you ever had a block of time that you wish would never have happened?  When things just go down and make you feel yucky for a good amount of time?  Yeah, well that time is now.  Plus, this whole time is falling on my 13th wedding anniversary!  It all started last week when I read the blog about the Mexican cookies.  I really took it personally and it took me a few days to get the downer feeling off of me.

Crumb Topping

I was ready for that feeling to be gone and to make this New York Style Crumb Cake from Brown Eyed Baker for my husband for the morning of our anniversary when I literally went into the kitchen at 11:55pm the night before.  The lights didn’t come on.  Actually, the last two beams that hadn’t gone out completely flickered sadly and wouldn’t stay on.  Five minutes later, exactly on our anniversary, my husband comes home from work and I give him a kiss and give him the news.  No biggie right?  Except for the fact that he wouldn’t watch Breaking Bad with me, it was a nice night and I knew that I probably wouldn’t make the crumb cake in the morning because it would be a Home Depot day.  So the next day I buy a big box of fluorescents, right size and wattage and everything, and head home.  Justin was eager to get the new lights in, then we flip the switch, and NOTHING happens!  Are you kidding me!  We still don’t know what is wrong, have no idea what to do, and we would rather not call an electrician because, well, we have three kids to feed.  So after realizing then that my anniversary was going to suck (we weren’t going to celebrate that day anyway and homeowner issues really ruin the mood), the next thing I thought about was my blog.  I know my blog doesn’t have the best pictures, but I also know that the best pictures that I can take don’t use the flash from my camera.  Seeing as my kitchen is dark with a small window, I just went into a funk thinking that I couldn’t post anything.

Just before I cover the entire cake with crumbs.

You know what finally got me out of my funk?  This cake!  As soon as I was finished making it, even before I tasted it, I knew things would be alright.  I knew I could just tell you why my pictures would be crappy for a couple of posts and just trust that you would give me a pass.  Hopefully, sooner rather than later, everything will be fixed and not only will I have usable light in my kitchen but good light.  Also, when my husband came home last night, he said, “Oooh, is that crumb cake?”  That went a long way for me in reigniting the anniversary mood and seeing as we are supposed to celebrate today…fingers crossed!

Crumb Cake Baked!

GeekyLink for today is a Fringe reference.  Seeing as I completely glossed over the season premiere of one of my favorite shows, I figure I owe it to them to give a shout out.  This T-shirt just cracks me up My Two Dads!  Also, for my money RedBubble has some of the best nerdy T-shirts out there in terms of variety.  There are plenty more sites and I may reference them in the future but at least compared to a site like CafePress, RedBubble has more interesting Fringe and more overall Dr. Who shirts.  As for the episode, if I don’t get more than one cumulative minute of Joshua Jackson in an entire episode, I am gonna freak out!  Seth Gabel will do for now, I guess.

New York-Style Crumb Cake

from Brown Eyed Baker 


Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Following photos below, break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Notes:  I used light brown sugar and it was still good, but I could see the richness that the dark brown sugar would bring to the topping.  I didn’t use parchment paper because I had just ran out, so I greased my pan liberally and had no trouble getting it out of the pan.  Also, Brown Eyed Baker warns against using all-purpose flour in place of the cake flour and based on how soft and lovely this cake turned out, I would assume that she is right.  I used salted butter in the cake and unsalted butter in the topping, I think next time I might flip that.  She also said you could use an equal amount of plain low fat yogurt if you didn’t have buttermilk on hand.  Enjoy!

Sidenote:  No one thinks that the lights going out exactly on our 13th anniversary is a bad omen do they?  Just asking, I am not superstitious but my husband is.  I am actually surprised he didn’t bring it up.


About NerdyBaker

My name is Celina. I am a wife and mother of three. I love to bake, go to the movies, read when I can and I am kind of a great big nerd. Just don't tell my husband.

7 responses »

  1. I love your blog, you should add an RSS feed feature so I can get automatic notifications of new blogs. If you set one up please email me! i will bookmark you for now. Again Excellent Blog!

  2. Pingback: Pear Crumb Bars | NerdyBaker

  3. I just found your blog and I’m loving your writing!

    Congrats on your anniversary! I don’t think the lights going out is a bad omen. Call it romantic instead. 😉

    Cake looks great- I love crumb cake!

    • It was actually really good. It was so good that I was SO bummed that I didn’t have the dark brown sugar because who knows how good it could have been? When we went to celebrate for our anniversary, my dad watched our kids and I asked my husband if I should bring him some and his answer was an emphatic “no”!

  4. Looks delicious! And hope the lights come on soon. 🙂


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