Coffee cakes are cakes that you're allowed to eat for breakfast. (It's a thrill similar to eating omelets for dinner.) There are plenty of versions but I think we can all agree that what's really important are the crumbles on top. Who needs icing when you have butter-binded nuggets of brown sugar and oats? The cake part underneath is really just an excuse to eat those almighty crumbles, right?
At first when I looked at the coffee cake from Connie's Cakes, I was confused. No crumbs? The square-shaped cake, which fit perfectly into its box (no wasted space, as you might encounter with a circular cake), is covered in a layer of brown sugar and oats. But it's flat; no knobby crumbles.
Then you take a bite and realize there's a secret dimension underneath . Baked into the cake at the bottom of the pan is another, thicker layer of oats and brown sugar.
Flip over the cake; the sugar granules have a sweet crunch, the oats are plentiful, and the raisins are cinnamon-spiced. So maybe they're still not crumbles, but they do the job, and they come at you from both sides of the cake.
The cake itself is soft and falls apart at any nibble pressure, especially after a few minutes in the toaster oven as recommended on the box. Dave Evans, who started Connie's Cakes as a tribute to his late mother, also suggests a swipe of butter atop the warm cake. The recipe dates back to his childhood in Indianapolis. As proof, there's a black-and-white photo of him on the packaging as a wee lad pointing at cake. It's like they knew to snap that photo for marketing purposes years later.
Connie's Cakes are $24 for the 8-inch square cinnamon coffee cake. Dave is based in Fairfield County, Connecticut. He can hand-deliver them to anyone in the NYC area, or he'll ship anywhere in the United States. Order them here.