Sunday, June 15, 2008

Spicing things up for Father's Day

Brianna has been going on all week about what she wanted to do for Father's Day.  She was quite insistent that we had to make something special for breakfast.  Her idea of special?  French toast.  I'm sure it's merely a coincidence that she happened to pick her favorite breakfast food for us to make. =)  So we did make French toast, though Brianna didn't really help this time--too busy watching cartoons.  

I wanted to add something else to make things seem a bit more special, plus I haven't baked anything in a few days.  (However, I'm on vacation this next week, which should give me a chance to try out some new things--yay!)  I've been wanting to make the Cardamom Crumb Cake from Baking From My Home to Yours for quite some time, and a spent a little while looking at that page in the cookbook.  But it wasn't exactly what I was after, and I don't usually have any brewed coffee on hand.  I've enjoyed the Allspice Crumb Muffins from that same tome, despite the fact that I've had some problems with them.  So I decide to combine the two.  The verdict?  Quite good, almost certainly a do-again.  I'd like to play around with the recipe some more to see what else I can come up with.

Allspice Crumbcake
(inspired by Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)

For the crumbs:

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes

For the cake batter:

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 eggs
1 cup milk
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking pan (I used Pyrex).  

For the crumbs:  Put all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and toss them together just until blended.  Add the butter, and using your fingers, mix everything together until you've got crumbs of different sizes.  Set the crumb mixture aside while you make the cake batter.

For the batter:  Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and allspice in a large bowl.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, melted butter and vanilla.  Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir with a rubber spatula just until combined.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle the crumbs over the top in an even layer.  

Bake for 30-35 minutes (mine took 35), or until the cake has risen, the crumbs are golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan.  Serve warm or room temperature.  

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