I love coffee cake. I don’t have a particular favorite, but if I have the choice and there is a crumb topped coffee cake, that will be my choice. I’ve always wondered how hard it might be to bake a good crumbcake style coffee cake. Recently, I caught an episode of America’s Test Kitchen where they covered their New York Style Crumb Cake. It looked too good to pass up, I had to try it.
I went online and got a copy of the recipe available on their site (though they are a paid subscription site, they make recipes from their current television season available for free). The recipe looked easy enough, so I thought I’d give it a try.
I didn’t have any cake flour, so I checked some of my cookbooks and found that I could substitute 7/8 cup of all purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch for each cup of cake flour. I followed their directions carefully and everything looked good going into the oven.
I pulled the cake about 5 minutes shy of the recommended cooking time as the crumb topping was lightly browned and the cake appeared to be done. It looked and smelled wonderful. When I went to cut a piece though, I found that the crumb topping had become quite hard and crunchy. Now, as far as I know, this isn’t the way it should be. All of the crumb cakes I’ve had before had a nice soft crumb topping that almost melts in your mouth. Not here, though. I wasn’t sure what went wrong. I’ve posted requests for help on the ATK website, but haven’t received any suggestions for this problem yet. One other reader noted the same problem.
What do you think? I’m open to any suggestions out there as to what I may have done to cause the topping to become so hard and crunchy. The next time I try this recipe, I’ll probably try covering the cake with foil for a portion of the cooking time to see if that helps with the topping problem.
As for the cake, it was dense and tasted very good (along with the topping). I’m looking forward to trying this again – after all, what’s morning coffee without something tasty to go along with it.
You can click here for a copy of the recipe as seen on America’s Test Kitchen.