If you’ve grown up in the New York metro area (or, in my case, in Southern Jersey with parents and relatives from said region), you know a few things. You likely know what makes a good pizza: it’s foldable, not too greasy and should hold up horizontally with the support of a thin crust. You probably know from bagels (they are not glorified rolls with holes), and what constitutes a killer piece of crumb cake. I don’t know what “coffee cake” is. People often use these terms interchangeably, but no coffee cake recipe ever has crumbs like small boulders, and that’s what you want. I came across a recipe for this so long ago, I can’t remember where I got it, but I’ve changed it so many times, it’s pretty much mine now. So you may not have a brunch coming up like we just did yesterday, for Easter, but whatever. You can make this whenever you like, but don’t say I didn’t warn you. You really do need a crowd so there are no leftovers.
New York Crumb Cake
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 T. all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 T. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup plus 2 T milk
- 3 T. canola oil
- 1 T. vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 c. flour
- 1 cup plus 2 T. light brown sugar
- 1 T . ground cinnamon
- 1 cup butter, melted and cooled
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and butter and flour a 9×12 pan (or douse it with nonstick spray), tapping the pan over the sink to remove excess flour if needed.
2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour through salt and set aside.
3. In a second, larger bowl (I like to use my 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup for this), whisk together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla. With a spatula, gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones.
4. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan, using an offset spatula that you’ve greased or fingertips that you’ve also greased. The batter will be sticky and you’ll think there’s not enough there, but trust me, it will fit.
5. In a third, medium bowl combine the flour, sugar and cinnamon with a wire whisk, or work your fingers through it to break up any sugary clumps. Pour the butter over it, and combine with a spatula. Get your hands in there to form large crumbs and incorporate all that butter and flour and sugar. Take said clumps and distribute them evenly over the cake. You’ll have a lot, and you’ll be happy you do.
6. Bake for about 10 minutes, rotate the pan, and then bake for another 10-12 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let it cool completely on a wire rack. Dust the whole thing with a generous shower of confectioner’s sugar. Cut it into whatever sized squares you want.