Sunday, June 17, 2012

New York Crumb Cake

It is all about the topping.

I love crumb cake.  I am pretty sure it has to do with the fact that my mom would make it when I was little.  It also fits quite nicely with my love of cinnamon.  This crumb cake is not just an ordinary crumb cake, because it is a New York Style Crumb Cake.  Anybody of you from New York or the northeast will know, that to be a a New York crumb cake there needs to be significant crumb topping.  In fact, this cake may be a little shy on the topping for some real New Yorkers.  I am sure if you tasted it though, you would forgive the fact that the crumb topping should probably have been a little thickener because this cake is delicious!

New York Crumb Cake
recipe from Baked Explorations by Matt Lewis & Renalto Poliafito

Crumb Topping
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted (and still warm)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Spray a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray.  

To make the crumb topping: Whisk the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt and cinnamon together in a large bowl.  Add the melted butter and whisk to combine.  Use a rubber spatula to fold in the flour.

To make the cake: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, letting the first incorporate fully before adding the second.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for an additional 30 seconds.  Add the sour cream and vanilla to the mixer and beat until just incorporated.  Finally, add the flour mixture in thirds, beating just until combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared baking pan.  The batter will be thick, use a spatula to spread it evenly.  Pick up the crumb topping by handfuls, and break off chunks, scattering them over the top of the batter.  Use all of the topping.

Bake for 45-55 minutes (rotating the pan at 15 minute intervals), or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.  Let the cake cool in the pan for at least 30 minutes before serving. 

p.s. Happy Father's Day Dad and Happy Father to-be Day Zack.  I love you guys!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

S'mores Cupcakes

Don't you just want to take a bite.

If you have been following Baked Perfection for a while now, you know that I absolutely love just about anything S'mores.  I have made S'mores Bars, S'mores Cookies, S'mores Cookie Dough Pops, S'mores Cracker Candy, and the list goes on.  Clearly it is a favorite of mine.  Surprisingly I have never featured S'mores Cupcakes on my blog.  The thing is, most S'mores Cupcake recipe have a chocolate cupcake with a graham cracker crust.  I personally don't feel that is very representative of a S'more and have been left disappointed when I tried that type of S'more Cupcake.  I came across this recipe a couple weeks ago and was pretty pleased with  the results.  The cupcake recipe comes from Bon Appetit and the frosting is from Martha Stewart.   The cupcake part was pretty tasty, but a little crumbly and dry.  It needs a little tinkering to be perfect.  The frosting on the other hand was perfection and allowed me the chance to use my handy dandy kitchen torch.  I will definitely be making these again, perhaps with a little variation in the cake batter.

S'mores Cupcakes
cake recipe from Bon Appetit and Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart

recipe makes 12 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 15 whole crackers ground in processor)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup whole milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1/2 cup (scant) heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 12 standard muffin cups with paper liners.

Whisk graham crumbs, flour, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating to blend between additions. Beat in vanilla. Add graham-cracker mixture in 3 additions alternately with milk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with graham-cracker mixture. Divide batter among muffin cups.  Bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center come out clean, about 22 minutes. Transfer cupcakes to rack; cool completely.

Place chocolate in medium bowl. Bring cream just to boil in small saucepan; pour over chocolate. Let stand 1 minute; stir until smooth. Cool ganache until lukewarm.

Using a small knife or apple corer, cut a small whole in the top of each cupcake, approximately 1 inch deep.  Spoon chocolate ganache into each whole, until full.  Top with Frosting.

Marshmallow Frosting
Frosting recipe from Martha Stewart

4 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Place egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer.  Set over a saucepan of simmering eater.  Whisk constantly until sugar is dissolved and whites are warm to touch, 3 - 4 minutes.

Transfer bowl to electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat, starting on low speed, gradually increasing to high, until stiff gloss peaks form, 5-7 minutes.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.  Use immediately and store leftover in fridge.

Bakers Note:  I chose to use my kitchen torch to toast the frosting. This can also be done by placing the cupcakes in the oven under the broiler.  It will not take long so keep a very close eye on the cupcakes.

Also, I kept the cupcakes in the fridge fully prepared until 1 hour before serving where I let them sit out and come to room temperature.