It was only after reading the recipe that I realised that a streusel cake is really the same as a crumb cake! And since I had baked Dorie Greenspan's Blueberry Crumb Cake a few months ago, I was happy (and somewhat relieved) that I had some prior experience to fall back on!
Because I am not really into crumb cakes, I was pleasantly surprised to discover how delicious this cake was. In addition to the fact that this was a gorgeous cake, I loved the contrast in the difference in the textures of the crumbs and the tender cake!
This was really an easy cake to make, considering how pretty it looked!
I started by making the crumbs. I melted some butter. The butter was then left to cool for about 5 minutes after it had completely melted. This was added to a mixture of flour, cinnamon and sugar, and using a fork, I stirred until everything was mixed and the mixture had turned crumbly.
Using my hands, I took handfuls of the crumbs and pressed them together with my hands and fists to make a large clump. Then I broke this down into smaller clumps. This was then set aside.
In a mixing bowl, I creamed together butter and sugar until the mixture became light and fluffy.
Into this, I added the eggs and egg yolk, making sure to incorporate them completely into the mixture.
I added vanilla extract, and mixed that in as well.
The flour, baking powder and salt were sifted, and then folded into the batter, along with the milk, in the sequence flour-milk-flour-milk-flour.
The batter was transferred into a 9x13-inch baking tray which had been greased and lined.
I lightly beat the remaining egg white, and lightly brushed about half of the egg white on the batter with a pastry brush. This would help the crumbs adhere better to the cake.
I scattered the crumbs on the cake, and pressed them very lightly into the batter.
The cake was baked for about 45 minutes, or until the top turned golden brown and a skewer inserted into the cake emerged cleanly.
This really was a pretty cake. Yummy too!
This recipe is definitely a keeper!
Streusel Squares (Serves 12-16)
From Great Cakes by Carole Walter
1/3 cup (76g) unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1 large egg white
1. Position rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350⁰F. Butter a 9 x 13 x 2” pan.
2. To make the streusel topping: melt the butter. Cool slightly. Add the flour, sugar and cinnamon all at once and stir with a fork until the mixture forms small crumbs. Take a handful of the crumbs and make a fist to press the mixture into a large clump. Then separate into smaller clusters, at least two or three times the size of the original crumbs. Repeat until all of the crumbs have been reshaped. Set aside.
3. To make the cake: Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
4. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment to soften on low speed. Increase speed to medium-high and cream until smooth and light in color, about 1 ½ to 2 minutes.
5. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking about 6 to 8 minutes to blend it in well. Scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary.
6. Add the eggs and additional yolk, 1 at a time at 1-minute intervals, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the vanilla.
7. Reduce mixer speed to low. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, dividing the flour mixture into three parts and the milk into two parts, starting and ending with the flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix for 10 seconds longer.
8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a tablespoon. Beat the egg white lightly with a fork. Using a pastry brush, spread about half of the beaten egg white over the top of the cake batter. Discard the remainder. Sprinkle the entire surface of the batter generously with the streusel. Gently pat the crumbs into the batter with the palm of your hand; do not press hard.
9. Center the pan on the rack and bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown on top, begins to come away from the sides of the pan, and the streusel is crisp. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out dry.
10. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a cake rack to cool. When ready to serve, dust the top with confectioners’ sugar and cut into squares.