New York Crrrrumb Cake!

Waaaayyy back in 1994 when I lived in New York, I'd often find myself trolling my local deli for a snack around 4:00am after tending bar at a smart little post-collegiate watering hole called Gentleman Jack's on the Upper West Side. Every once in a while there might be a fresh batch of crumb cake, cut into rather large 4-inch squares and individually wrapped in plastic poised by the register, awaiting my greedy little fingers. Naturally, a behemoth piece of cake seems like a totally reasonable idea at 4am. I'd grab my cake, make a cup of hot black tea with milk and sit in my futon bed watching Holly Golightly sing Moon River and melodically tell her new friend there was "no ribbon in it" when he claimed he wrote at his typewriter all day. By about 5:30am, belly full of cinnamon crumbs and buttery cake, I'd find nirvana and pass out.

Perhaps it exists, but I have yet to find a crumb cake that good on the west coast, so, when I found myself craving it recently, I naturally looked to my favorite east coast bakers. Now, before you get all "She just can't get enough of that Ina Garten" on me, please be advised that I did look through my trove of cookbooks to seek out the best recipe and Ms. Garten just happened to have it! She makes hers with blueberries, but I took those out (along with lemon zest) because I wanted a pure, New York Crumb Cake and that's just what I got.

Let me also say that for all the ingredients and instructions, this was a really simple cake that very much pleased the crowd. If you have a brunch coming up I highly recommend baking this one up, putting on your favorite shade of lipstick or bow tie and showing up ready to be hugged and complimented all morning long.

New York Crumb Cake (based on Ina Garten's Blueberry Crumb Cake)
For the Crumb Topping
1/4 C sugar
1/3 C brown sugar
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t nutmeg
1 stick butter, melted
1-1/3 C flour

For the Cake
3/4 stick butter, at room temp
3/4 C sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temp
1 t vanilla
2/3 C sour cream
1-1/4 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
3/4 t kosher salt

Serves 8-10. 

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter and flour a 9" round or square pan. Set aside.

Make the crumb topping. Whisk together the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl.  Stir in the melted butter. Then, stir in the flour and mix well. Set aside.

Make the cake. Gently whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Cream the butter and sugar 4-5 minutes, until very light and fluffy (this will serve you well later). Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs, one at a time. Then, add the vanilla and sour cream and blend well. With the mixer still on low, slowly pour the dry ingredients into the bowl and mix just until blended.

Spoon the batter into your prepared pan and even it out with a spatula. Crumble the crumb topping over the batter, covering as much of the surface area as you can.

Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool, cut and serve.

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