French Crumb Cake

November 14, 2009

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Mmmmm…this is one of those things that when I get a craving for it, nothing else can take its place. I think the reason for this is that it is *Just Plain Good*. And I mean that as high praise. Just as when you call something ‘vanilla’, that doesn’t necessarily mean its boring.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoy coffee-cake-type-cakes that have sour cream or nuts or fruit or oats in them…but there are just times when it is the clear simple flavor I crave. And when that craving strikes, this is the recipe I turn to.

When that craving hit this week, I was compelled to make not one, but two of the cakes…so that a number of others could awaken to find a sweet surprise package of “just plain good” tied to their doorknob. [I love the idea of a slightly grumpy NYer shuffling to the front door to retrieve his paper off the mat, and *poof* out-of-nowhere being surprised by a treat! And in the process, hopefully turning the “Ugh, why do I have to get out of bed on such a cold morning?!” feeling into something much sunnier!] This cake is perfect with that cup of morning coffee…and as a mid-afternoon tea/coffee treat, as well! *smile*

I was a pre-work delivery elf, so no photo this go-round…but I’ll update as soon as I can. In the meantime just think of a snowy white cake topped with a dark layer of crumbs–best eaten on the day it’s made. Should you have any left over, I suggest cutting into generous squares, wrapping well and freezing, even if just for a day. Otherwise, it will still taste great, but the cake will have dried out a bit.

French Crumb Cake


1 1/2 cups Flour
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Sugar
3 large or two jumbo Eggs, separated

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp Vanilla

Crumb Topping:

4 Tbsp. Flour
2 Tbsp. White Sugar
2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
2 teaspoons Cinnamon
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted

Confectioners’ Sugar (optional)

To Make the Cake:

1) Sift dry ingredients together into a bowl, set aside.

2) Beat the egg whites until stiff, set aside.

3) Cream butter and sugar, then add the egg yolks, mixing well.

4) Add the sifted dry ingredients alternately with the milk, mixing well.

5) Stir in Vanilla.

6) Fold in the stiffly beaten egg whites. (This take a bit of work, as the batter is quite stiff as you start, but hang in there–it’s worth it, I promise!)

7) Pour batter into a greased and floured 9-inch square pan.

Make the crumb topping:

8) In a large bowl, mix together the sugars, flour and cinnamon with a fork. Drizzle in the melted butter, and mix with the fork until it comes together into clumps.

9) Sprinkle the crumb topping over the batter and bake in a 350 degree oven for 35 minutes, or until tester comes out clean.

10) Let cool in pan on a rack. Once cool, you may sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.

Filed Under: Bread/Pastry, Breakfast, Dessert, Recipe, Sweet

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