butter is a sweet baker's best friend

well, no one ever said baking was good for the figure. we decided on the classic crumb cake for our first baking afternoon. (french baguette will come later this evening). we stocked up on flour, sugar, new vanilla extract, etc. we also scored a deal at fairway for organic butter. even though i bought nearly everything else organic, normally i might not splurge on this considering how many sticks i was buying, and instead go for a typical (cheaper) butter like cabot or breakstone. but one glance at the ingredient list on those, and you'll find "natural flavors". because the FDA doesn't regulate the term "natural flavors" that could mean anything, including some things a normal person might find quite unnatural. sigh. but luckily, horizon organic butter was on sale for the same price, so i stocked up on 6 pounds of that. i don't even like buying horizon brand because i prefer smaller farms. but i figure, if the first thing i am baking requires over 1 pound of butter, i mizewell (how does any one spell that??) get the good stuff. it's just cream and lactic acid! what else do you need in butter?

the verdict: we just tried it, and mr. mimi, who is a crumb cake connoisseur, pronounced this one the best he has tasted, ever!!

now who else wants a piece? :)

classic crumb cake: serves many
from martha stewart's baking handbook (2005, p. 56)

1 1/4 sticks (10 tb) unsalted butter, room temp, plus more for greasing pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup sour cream
crumb topping
confectioner sugar for sprinkling (optional ... we forgot, oops!)

1. pre-heat oven to 350F. generously butter a 13x9 inch baking pan and set aside. whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl.

2. beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy (we used the lovely miss kitchen aid), about 4 minutes. add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. mix in vanilla. add flour mixture and sour cream. beat until just combined.

3. spoon batter into pan, smoothing with spatula. sprinkle crumb topping evenly over batter. bake until cake is golden brown, about 40-50 minutes and rotating halfway through. knife in the center should come out clean. transfer to wire rack to cool and dust with confectioner sugar if desired.

crumb topping
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tb cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp

1. in medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. cut in the butter using a pastry blender (or mix in food processor; we actually used miss k. a. again) until large, moist clumps form.

first bite

No comments:

Post a Comment