One of my favorite memories is going to the bakery after church with my dad. The one and only thing I ever wanted on Sunday morning after church was a big, thick chunk of crumb cake. You know the kind I mean: soft but slightly chewy cake on the bottom, which was nice but just a base for the real attraction – a dense layer of brown sugar crumbs, big round crumbs held together with a shiny vanilla sugar glaze. Oh, the sheer sugary heaven of it all. They would come home from the bakery in a waxed paper bag and there they would stay until you had finished all of your scrambled eggs. I did not especially like scrambled eggs back in those days (oh, but I do now!!), so getting to the end of my plate of eggs was especially sweet knowing that the crumb cake was just seconds away.
Now that I am all grown up I actually could drive to a bakery any time and get a square of this little piece of heaven, and I don’t even have to eat any eggs first. But since you know I love a challenge, I decided to try and replicate it here in my own kitchen. And for something as critical as this, I had to go right to the top, which of course is Cook’s Illustrated. They had a recipe for something they call New York Style Crumb Cake, which only needed a little adapting to become Northern New Jersey Style Crumb Cake. I’m calling it Crumb Cake for short. Dad, this one’s for you.
CRUMB CAKE, adapted from Cook’s Illustrated