Pantry Crumb Cake
More of a snack or breakfast than a showy dessert, a homey crumb cake doesn’t need the oohs-and-aahs of any guests. It’s the kind of thing a small family can devour in a few days, and a single person can freeze in slices, at the ready whenever the urge for brown sugar and butter hits. (Just wrap each slice up separately and store them in a container in the freezer; a slice will thaw in under an hour on the counter.) This cake is also extremely adaptable: Use whatever spices you like. If you don’t have oats, use more flour or chopped nuts. And feel free to use whatever fruit, fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned, you have on hand.
- Serves: 1 person
- ½cup/110 grams packed light or dark brown sugar
- ¼cup/55 grams unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted
- ¼cup/30 grams all-purpose flour
- ¼cup/20 grams old-fashioned oats
- 1teaspoon ground spices (cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, nutmeg or a combination)
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 ½cups/190 grams all-purpose flour
- 1teaspoon baking powder
- ¼teaspoon baking soda
- ½teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
- ½cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- 2large eggs
- 2teaspoons vanilla extract
- ⅔cup/160 milliliters sour cream, yogurt or nondairy yogurt, buttermilk, crème fraîche, or milk acidified with 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1teaspoon grated lemon or orange zest (optional)
- ½cup fresh, frozen and thawed, or canned fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries, cherries, grated apple or pear, chopped pineapple (optional)
Step 1Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8- or 9-inch square pan.
Step 2Preparing the topping: Add all the topping ingredients to a medium bowl. Use a rubber spatula until they all start to clump together. Squish or roll the mixture into mostly large crumbs with some smaller ones.
Step 3Prepare the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
Step 4In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar at medium speed until creamy and smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla extract. Add half of the flour mixture, then beat in the sour cream. Add the remaining flour, and mix, just until incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Fold in the zest and fruit, if using.
Step 5Pour the batter into the baking pan and top evenly with the crumbs. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan. It’ll be gone before you know it.