Crumb Cake

I'm not a big breakfast person, but there are two things that always make me want more in the name of the most important meal of the day: bacon egg and cheese on a croissant (no-go here) and Boston Coffee Cake. If you never had it (and at this point unless you're a friend/family of someone with Celiac or gluten intolerance you just can't) I am so sorry. This is a - I know we all hate this word but there isn't another! - moist, soft, marbled cake that is miraculously made for the mornings.


Growing up, these cakes would be the special treat for holiday breakfast, and during college our mom might buy one on a morning you came home. That's how you know you're loved. My only qualm with them in the past was the inclusion of walnuts in their cinnamon coffee cake, ensuring that if I reeeeally wanted a bite I'd have to risk bloated itchy lips (and maybe anaphylaxis...), but luckily the chocolate chip marble cake was usually the family go-to.


Since our Celiac discovery, sadly those red and yellow striped boxes are out of our lives (unless and until they can come up with a gluten-free alternative?!). America's Test Kitchen has a Gluten Free cookbook though, and in Volume 2 I was excited to find a recipe for crumb cake that didn't look very difficult. My KitchenAid mixer had just come in the mail and I was itching (in a non-walnut way) to test it out, so I adapted the recipe below to try to find a version close to what I'm used to.


I was looking for a dense, soft cake with a lot of cinnamon flavor and a solid cinnamon sugar crumb topping that melds slightly into the cake. I would say this recipe was a big success, with two caveats. First, I accidentally made WAY too much topping, which ended up being a bit aggressive, even for this sugar addict. Second, and this is more something to keep in mind: although this tastes like an almost-perfect crumb cake, including gluten-full versions, there will still be a tiny little gummy taste at the end. But only once you think about it! I've sort of resigned myself to that fact though - no gluten-free cake is going to taste exactly like the gluten-full version - and as long as you do that you are in for a real treat! Thanks to ATK for their Gluten Free Cookbook Vol. 2,  I'm a big fan of the explanations of why certain techniques and products work best in different g-free recipes, and will definitely be testing out some more recipes (especially the new ones I scoped out online).

So if you're looking for the perfect post-holiday breakfast treat, look no further: here's my version of ATK's Crumb Cake. Full story: I originally misread the topping since it was in ounces and cups and made WAY too much, so I only included cups in the ingredients below, and I like this very cinnamon-ey. For the true ATK recipe check out their cookbook!

Serves: 10-12

Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

Ingredients

Topping:

  • 8 tablespoons butter, melted and warm
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt (really I just did a little sprinkle)
  • 1 1/3 cups ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend (in their cookbook)

Cake:

  • 1 1/3 cups ATK All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Blend
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 6 tablespoons butter (it says unsalted but I only have/use salted so why not), but into pieces and softened
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 large eggs plus 1 large yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • Confectioners' sugar for serving - ATK recommends this but honestly with the extra cinnamon and topping I made I skipped it!

 

Instructions

  1. Start with the topping: Whisk butter, sugars, egg yolk, cinnamon in salt to combine. Add flour blend after using a rubber spatula until it looks like a thick dough. The rubber spatula makes a big difference here, although after a few minutes I just used my hands! Keep in mind I made 1 1/3 cups of sugars each instead of the 1/3 cup so yours will look smaller than mine (thank God).
  2. Start the cake: Heat oven to 325F with oven rack in the upper middle position. Cut parchment paper and fold to fit your pan - ATK recommends you use an 8 inch pan - then spray parchment with vegetable oil spray, letting extra parchment hand over the pan to pull the cake out later.
  3. Using a stand mixer with a paddle or an insane amount of human strength, mix the flour blend, sugar, baking soda, salt and xanthan gum on low speed to combine (note: be careful with the xanthan gum! One dab of that on the table and even a hint of moisture and it's Gum City for you, buddy). Add butter one piece at a time and mix until you have a crumb-like mixture with no visible butter. Add sour cream, eggs and yolk, vanilla and cinnamon (exclude if you want the ATK version but why wouldn't you want more cinnamon??), increase mixer or your incredibly strong arms to medium-high, and beat until batter is light and fluffy.
  4. Scrape batter into pan and smooth the top. Add the topping in pieces - what I did here was form small pieces with my hands and drop the pea-size (or slightly larger) pieces on the cake. After adding about half of the topping, I used my fingertips to create tiny wells in the topping to try to push pieces of it into the cake for that classic topping-cake fusion. Then add the rest of your topping chunks (ew! gross word I get it!) to the top of your cake, avoiding the growing OCD telling you that the amounts/heights aren't even. Bake for about 40 minutes or until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer (I use toothpicks) in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Let cake cool in pan for 30 minutes, then pull from pan using parchment and add to plate. Serve with a confectioners' sugar dusting or just big glasses of milk! 

You can store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days - if it lasts past the first serving that is!

Flourless Chocolate #CakeCakeCake

The saddest part abut going g-free for many people are the desserts they have to push away. Luckily for you, one of my personal favorite (non-ice cream) desserts has no gluten anyway! And it's super easy. And Rihanna even wrote a song about it! Okay nix that last one.

I was looking for a holiday dessert that would please a crowd of assorted food-allergies/intolerances/Celiacs and I think this is the winner! Thanks to Whole Foods for creating the original recipe, although I've made a few little tweaks. On the whole though a pretty easy cake for a pretty lazy person (read: me). This is a super rich cake though, as you'll notice skimming the ingredients. Those with delicate stomachs, beware!

I followed the ingredients exactly as recommended, so with Whole Food's permission I will copy their instructions (link again is above), sneaking in my cooking notes alongside their recommendations for you!

Serves: Well there have been about 10 servings so far and a little less than half is still in my fridge so...a party size?

Total Time: I'd guess about an hour and a half, including cake cooking and cooling time

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips or bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (gluten free - I went a bit wild and used the Nestle semi-sweet I had in the house and loved it)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) plus 3 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (gluten free)
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon gluten-free pure vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Spray the paper with cooking spray, too, then set the pan aside.
  2. Place two-thirds (8 ounces) of the chocolate and 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter in a medium saucepan over medium low heat. Stirring often, melt chocolate with butter until completely blended. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. (Alternatively, you may use your microwave to melt the butter with the chocolate, if desired). Add sugar and mix well. Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Kerry's interruption: Now I had just used a whisk at this point since my only other option at the time was an electric hand mixer but I was feeling too lazy to clean it after. I made it through three eggs and had to switch over - it gets so thick! Unless you are the Incredible Hulk or Popeye the Sailor post-spinach consumption, use an electric hand or **stand mixer** (oohs and ahhs). Sift cocoa into bowl and stir until just blended. 
  3. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cake has risen and top has formed a thin crust. The cake should be just firm in the center when done. Kerry's interruption again: So I went for the minimum, 35 minutes and my cake was really browned on the top and sides. This seems to be a theme, although I can't decide if it's my oven or gluten free goods. I'd recommend keeping an eye out either way - I'm going to pull it out at 25 or 30 next time. Cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate, removing sides of springform pan. Remove and discard parchment paper and set cake aside to cool completely. In my case, this involved flicking off the hard bits on the top, which looked fine particularly thanks to step 4!
  4. Meanwhile, make the chocolate glaze. Melt remaining 4 ounces chocolate and 3 tablespoons butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat, then stir in milk, honey and vanilla. Set aside to cool slightly. 
  5. When cake has cooled, pour glaze onto the center. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently smooth glaze along the top and sides of the cake. Chill cake, uncovered, for 30 to 60 minutes before serving to set the glaze and make the cake easier to slice.

A few notes: don't forget to remove the parchment paper! May or may not have forgotten last time, but it sat with the rest of the cake so it wasn't an issue. This cake stays very well in the fridge, so keep it comfy in there for leftovers.