When I was a brace-faced teenager, I often had my orthodontist appointments after school. Since lunch was at 11:30, I was famished by the time the bus dropped me off in front of the office. In a selfish move, I'd usually shove down a cheap cakey snack, such as a Drake's crumb cake, just before my appointment. I'm sure my dentist was not amused. Hey, I could have covered my teeth in a chocolate Susie-Q cake.
It's undisputed that with crumb cakes, more crumb is better—but it can't be just any kind of crumb. For example, the kind of streusel topping that works for a fruit crisp just won't do here. Why? It's too sugary and thus too crunchy. For a crumb cake, I want the softer, not-too-cloying, magical crumb that Entenmann's Super Crumb or your local bakery is able to achieve. For at-home crumb cake making, the trick is to use more flour.
For my individual crumb cakes, I decided to do a little something different. I dusted off my muffin top pan and put it to work. The cake batter is easily whisked in a bowl, and if you'd like, you can bake the crumb cake in a cake pan instead. But one thing's for sure: even though it's all about the crumb topping, the cake underneath does not disappoint. Super moist and vanilla-y, it's a delicious base as ever for the golden, buttery crumbs.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of the new cookbook One Bowl Baking: Simple From Scratch Recipes for Delicious Desserts (Running Press, October 2013), and available at Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, Powell's, The Book Depository. Watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. Follow her Chocoholic, Chicken Dinners, Singapore Stories and Let Them Eat Cake columns on Serious Eats. Follow Yvonne on Twitter as she explores Singapore.