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Raise your hand if you don't like crumb cake. I didn't think so. What's not to love about crumb cake? For anyone who likes it sweet in the morning, crumb cake hits the spot with its layer of moist, buttery, vanilla cake on the bottom, and (if it's done right) a giant mound of streusel crumb on top. Entenmann's knows it's the more crumbs the better.
But it's not as simple as just piling on any old streusel topping. Most streusels are really, really sweet. The trick to a good crumb cake crumb (and one that you actually like eating) is making sure that the crumb topping isn't cloying. Also important: the streusel should also have the right amount of butter. It needs to crumbly but sliceable.
For years I floundered with this, until I finally came across a recipe that got the proportion of flour to sugar to butter right. The best streusel recipe has much more flour and butter than you may expect, but it works. A touch of oil in the cake batter keeps this crumb cake moist for days.
Though I usually go the classic crumb cake route (plain vanilla), this time I swirled raspberry jam into the batter, tossed in a handful of fresh raspberries, and added sliced almonds to the crumb topping. To mix it in one bowl, whisk up the batter, spread it into the pan, and just use the same unwashed bowl to toss the crumb mixture together. When it's this easy, you can get your morning off to a sweet start in no time.
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