Sunday, April 1, 2012

Blueberry Big Crumb Coffee Cake

For the month of April, I and a friend are in charge of the "hospitality time" at church.  This means that we provide the yummy eats for people to snack on while (1) waiting for education hour to start, (2) skipping education hour to hang out and chat, or (3) while visiting before the church service.  For this first week, I decided that a coffee cake was in order.  What goes better with coffee than coffee cake??

So, I turned to one of my most favorite food blogs, Smitten Kitchen, and low and behold she has a recipe for just the thing I am looking for:  Big Crumb Coffee Cake with Rhubarb.  Mmmm.  The photos made me want to lick the computer screen!  If you are the kind of person who likes to pick the big crumbs off of a coffee cake whenever you walk by, this is the coffee cake for you.  And since it just so happens that I had all of the ingredients sitting in my kitchen waiting for me, it was clearly the recipe to bake!

Did I just say I had all of the ingredients in my kitchen?  Um, well, I guess that wasn't totally correct.  I did not happen to have rhubarb sitting around.  But I did have some frozen blueberries that are quite tasty so I did a little substitution!  
When I bake, I like to get everything out and ready before I begin.  It seems to make things more efficient for me.  However, if you look closely, you'll see that I neglected to get out the sour cream, so try as I might to be efficient, it just doesn't totally work sometimes!

For the filling, I substituted these plump little blueberries for the rhubarb.  Since rhubarb is really in need of a bunch of sugar to help it out and blueberries are not, I only added one tablespoon of sugar instead of 1/4 cup.  I used some vanilla sugar I like to have on hand instead of regular sugar.  A little vanilla never hurt anyone...

To make the crumb part, you mix all of the sugars and spices together with the melted butter before adding the flour.  Once you add the flour, you get the big clumpy crumbs that we love!

Now it is time to prepare the cake part!  First mix those the dry ingredients.  Then you mix the wet ingredients except for the butter together in a small bowl, and put one spoonful of that mixture plus the pats of butter into the mixer to start getting the flour moistened and ready for more liquid.  Then you add the rest of the wet mixture in two batches, beating well after each one.

Don't you love seeing a mixer in action?  I love it!

(You know, I think I need a name for my mixer... She really is my good pal and is a regular part of my life.  If my sewing machine has a name, shouldn't my mixer?  I need to think on that one...  Any ideas out there?)

Ok, back to the coffee cake!

Mmmm, now we are getting somewhere!  Take about 1/2 cup of the batter out of the mixing bowl and set aside and then spread the rest in a greased 8x8 pan.  Top that with the berries, which now have a juicy syrup to them, and then dallop the rest of the batter on top!  My dallops do not look so lovely, but since Deb at Smitten Kitchen said  they don't have to be even, I took her word for it!

Break apart the crumb mixture to nice chunks of around 1/4 to 1/2 inches and spread them all over the top.  The bottom of my bowl of the crumb mixture was just that, crumbs, but I just poured them over the top anyway!  Can you have too much crumb?  I think not!

Bake at 325F for 45-55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.  This took longer for me, as my oven is acting wonky and the temperature seems off.  Seriously, I need to figure out this situation because it is making me bonkers!  However, when the cake is no longer jiggly in the middle and the crumbs are nice and golden looking, take it out and start to drool!  You may look at it longingly as it cools completely!  Then, cut it up and dive in!  It is supposed to make 6-8 servings but I cut mine really small since there are lots of people at church and we have a variety of things for them to eat, so I got a lot more pieces!  Share the yummy goodness!

Alright-y, church people.  Here is part of the first installation of one clever mom's version of hospitality!  

Here is the recipe, adapted from Smitten Kitchen:
‘Big Crumb’ Coffeecake with Rhubarb
Adapted from The New York Times 6/6/07

Butter for greasing pan
For the rhubarb filling:
1/2 pound rhubarb, trimmed
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups cake flour (I was out and used all-purpose and it worked great)

For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup cake flour (ditto on the all-purpose flour–worked just fine)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.
Preheat your oven to 325F.  Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.
For filling, slice rhubarb 1/2 inch thick and toss with sugar, cornstarch and ginger. Set aside.
To make crumbs, in a large bowl, whisk sugars, spices and salt into melted butter until smooth. Then, add flour with a spatula or wooden spoon. It will look and feel like a solid dough. Leave it pressed together in a ball in your bowl and set aside.
To prepare cake, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla in a small bowl. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon rhubarb over batter. Dollop set-aside batter over rhubarb; it does not have to be even.
Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but try to get them around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from filling), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Printable Recipe

Now that I have made it, would I do anything differently?  Well, I think I might add some almond extract with the blueberries.  Just a dribble, but I think it would enhance the blueberry flavor.

UPDATE:  I also made this recipe using raspberries.  YUM.  I liked it even better than the blueberries!  There is something about that sweet/tart combination that makes my taste buds sing!  For the raspberry filling, I used 1 1/2 TB sugar and kept the other ingredients at the same measurements.

1 comment:

  1. I am really kicking myself for not getting a sample this morning! But now I know to be on the look out next week:)

    Also, I grew up with rhubarb, but I feel that it is not very common around here. I always thought it was "yucky" as a kid, but I would love to have some now for the nostalgia.


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