All the Mar­bles

Thanks to a sturdy bat­ter, you can weave in other fla­vors, from ap­ple but­ter to choco­late

SAVEUR - - Range -

although con­ser­va­tive bak­ers will tell you never to mess with a cake recipe, crumb cake’s eggy, re­silient bat­ter can be added to and mar­bled with other fla­vors with min­i­mal risk. The eas­i­est add-in is unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der, which you can sim­ply stir in to the clas­sic bat­ter. Or, to add a rib­bon of fla­vor, stir in a small amount of ap­ple but­ter, le­mon curd, or sea­soned pump­kin purée, cooked down to re­move ex­cess mois­ture and cooled.

Choco­late-pis­ta­chio Crumb Cake

SERVES 12 Ac­tive: 1 hr. 5 min. To­tal: 2 hr. 5 min. (plus cool­ing)

A lit­tle unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der in the top­ping and bat­ter goes a long way to trans­form a clas­sic crumb cake into a deeply choco­laty treat (that’s still tame enough for break­fast). Raw, un­salted pis­ta­chios add a gleam of color and com­ple­men­tary fla­vor to the crumb.

FOR THE CRUMB: 1¾ cups all-pur­pose flour (218 g) 1 firmly packed cup or­ganic light-brown sugar (200 g) ¼ cup nat­u­ral cane sugar (48 g) ¼ cup unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der (25 g) 2 tsp. ground cin­na­mon 1¼ tsp. kosher salt 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. (2¼ sticks) un­salted but­ter, cut into medium-size cubes, then left out to soften ½ cup bit­ter­sweet choco­late chips (65 g) ¼ cup coarsely chopped raw un­salted pis­ta­chios (35 g) FOR THE CAKE: 2¼ cups all-pur­pose flour ½ tsp. bak­ing pow­der ½ tsp. bak­ing soda ¾ tsp. kosher salt ¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. (1¾ sticks) un­salted but­ter, soft­ened, plus more for greas­ing 1½ cups nat­u­ral cane sugar 3 large eggs 2 tsp. pure vanilla ex­tract 1 cup full-fat sour cream 5 Tbsp. unsweet­ened co­coa pow­der ¼ tsp. espresso pow­der 1 Make the crumb: In a large bowl, add the flour, both sug­ars, the co­coa pow­der, cin­na­mon, and salt; stir. Add the but­ter; mix it in with your fin­gers and by squeez­ing with your palms un­til it feels sat­u­rated and chunky, 3–4 min­utes (you will crum­ble it later). Re­frig­er­ate un­til firm, at least 25 min­utes, or un­til ready to bake the cake.

2 Pre­heat the oven to 350°F and set a rack in the cen­ter. Mean­while, mix the cake: In a large bowl, add the flour, bak­ing pow­der, bak­ing soda, and salt; stir briefly to com­bine. In the bowl of a stand­ing mixer fit­ted with the pad­dle at­tach­ment, beat the but­ter and sugar at medium-high speed, scrap­ing down the sides of the bowl as needed, un­til light and fluffy, about 3 min­utes. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat at medium-low speed, scrap­ing down the bowl as needed, un­til in­cor­po­rated. With the mixer on low, al­ter­nate adding the flour mix­ture (in three batches) and the sour cream (in two batches), be­gin­ning and end­ing with the flour mix­ture, and beat­ing un­til just in­cor­po­rated.

3 Trans­fer one-third of the bat­ter (about 365 g) into a sep­a­rate bowl. Add the co­coa and espresso pow­ders, and 2 ta­ble­spoons of cool wa­ter, and stir with a spat­ula un­til just com­bined.

4 Grease a 9x13-inch cake pan or bak­ing dish with but­ter. Add the white bat­ter, and use an off­set spat­ula to spread it evenly into a thin layer, fill­ing the cor­ners. Add the choco­late bat­ter in large dol­lops all across the top, and cre­ate a mar­bling pat­tern (see “How to Mar­ble,” op­po­site).

5 Re­trieve the crumb top­ping (it should be fully solid). Add the choco­late chips and pis­ta­chios; mix well. Crum­ble the top­ping evenly over the bat­ter in peb­ble­size pieces.

6 Bake un­til the cake no longer jig­gles when moved and a tooth­pick in­serted into the cen­ter comes out mostly clean, 50–55 min­utes. Re­move and let cool com­pletely be­fore slic­ing.

Be sure the crumbs are not too large— that can make the cake more dif­fi­cult to slice into neat pieces, Ber­an­baum says.

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