Saturday, April 24, 2010

New York Style Crumbcake

I've been home for a few days (a hideous abscess [abscessed?] tooth, sedation dentistry, steroids and tears) catching up with Bon Appetit, Vanity Fair (read that Grace Kelly article, skip the Tiger Woods story) Cook's Illustrated and Esquire Magazine. Lots of culinary inspiration . . . maybe purse inspiration, too, if there's such a thing.

Often my spouse would travel to New York to consult with Brooklyn Union Gas. He always raved about the coffee cake he could buy there. Made in a sheet pan, tall, with lots of rich crunchy cinnamon topping . . . the cake had a crumbly texture, holes in it, with a fantastic aromatic topping. Sound good?

Bon Appetit
says, "In this East Coast-style breakfast treat, a tender sour cream coffee cake is topped with a thick layer of cinnamon-scented streusel." I'm in.


* 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
* 1/2 cup sugar
* 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, warm
* 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour


* 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
* 1 1/2 cups sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 1 1/3 cups sour cream
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Mix both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add warm melted butter and stir to blend. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and beat just until blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating just until incorporated after each addition. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; spread batter evenly with rubber spatula or offset spatula. Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is deep golden brown and slightly crisp, about 1 hour. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

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Sunday, April 18, 2010

White Texas Sheet Cake (for Tessa)


* 1 cup butter
* 1 cup water
* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups granulated sugar
* 2 eggs
* 1/2 cup sour cream
* 1 teaspoon almond extract
* 1 teaspoon baking soda

* Frosting:

* 1/2 cup butter
* 1/4 cup milk
* 4-1/2 cups confectioners sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon almond extract


1. In a large saucepan bring butter and water to a boil.
2. Remove from heat and stir in flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, 1 teaspoon almond extract and baking soda until smooth.
3. Pour batter into a greased jelly roll pan.
4. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes.
5. Cool for 20 minutes.
6. Combine 1/2 cup butter and milk in a saucepan then bring to a boil.
7. Remove from heat.
8. Mix in sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract.
9. Spread frosting over warm cake.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

La Jolla long weekend...

The bed and breakfast...

And something completely different, Hodad's in Ocean Beach. Very interesting place . . . both the restaurant and the beach. Yes, we waited in that line. Guy was right about the burger.

Fried clams (flown in from Boston) at the Studio Diner. They were as good as they look.

Overcast but beautiful La Jolla beach. I was mesmerized by the seals and their babies.

No pictures of Sprinkles in Newport Beach or the beautiful Laguna Beach . . . but we were there. There is nothing like the ocean.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

An anniversary kind of weekend...

Tomorrow we are headed to LaJolla to branch out a little. That means forgoing the typical Laguna Beach destination for unchartered territory. Last time we did this (threw caution to the wind)we ended up at Mission Beach. Remember that old Sesame Street segment, ONE OF THESE THINGS DOESN'T BELONG HERE? It was us. We didn't belong there. This is an experiment.

Have I mentioned our room has a wood burning fireplace? The last time we had one of those we stayed at Sundance. Despite the fact that our room rate included a ski pass, I opted out. Instead, according to my husband, I fired up a cord of wood. Exactly my intention this weekend.

We've done our research and added those Diners, Drive-ins and Dives' destinations into 'ye olde GPS' (how I love thee). Don't you love how one-half of a couple always seems to say "our"?

I digress.

Our backpack beach chairs are packed as well as stacks of reading material, heavy sweatshirts and 50 SPF sunscreen. Because even if I have to bundle myself up in multiple blankets, I will sit on that beach. Till sunset. It's our way. (That "our" was legitimate.)

On Monday we will take a drive up to Laguna Beach to sign the contract for our August vacation. I might be branching out for the weekend by staying someplace new for the weekend but, truth be told, I just don't want to be reckless about it.

If there's a story to be told, I shall blog. Especially if the Studio Diner really has the New England seafood they claim to have. Time will tell.

We leave after my (more regular than I would like) early dentist appointment. The dentist office where I willingly (not really) write checks for large amounts of money to have real life pain inflicted upon me. Where counseling is part of the deal (apparently): "Sometimes it helps to discuss our phobias." Perhaps this week I shall be lucky and there won't be a man whimpering in the dentist chair in the next room. Fact. Happened.

Will I get to Sprinkles, you ask? Barring an earthquake (or some other calamity/natural disaster/Sign of the Times), probably.


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