The person who invented crumb cake? Kind of a genius.
He or she figured out a way to make it acceptable to eat cake for breakfast AND, should it please you, enjoy a second piece of that same cake with afternoon coffee. Only in that case, would the cake be considered coffee cake instead of crumb cake? Is there really a difference between the two? Hang on a sec—I’m going to go check with Wikipedia…..
OK, so I found the coffee cake listing, but there was no exact listing for “crumb cake.” I was instead redirected to the listing for “streuselkuchen”, essentially the German translation of crumb cake (according to Wikipedia, at least.) From what I can tell per my extensive research, a crumb cake is always a coffee cake, but a coffee cake is not always a crumb cake.
Personally, I prefer for my coffee cake to always be a crumb cake because I am nuts about streusel (especially a nutty streusel.) When my mom used to bring home an occasional box of Entenmann’s from the grocery store, I always hoped that the box contained their New York Style Crumb Cake, meaning that in the very near future I would be happily picking the sweet and buttery clumps of streusel off the top. If it wasn’t the crumb cake, I’d hope for the Crumb Donuts, ingeniously combining a crumb cake topping and a glazed donut (a.k.a. the cronut of the 80s.)
In the same way that mountain of glazed streusel can make a crumb cake, a dry cake layer can break it. How on earth are you supposed to have a productive day when your morning sweet disappoints? You deserve better than that, so here’s my solution:
Having tried several variations on crumb and coffee cake recipes over the years, I’ve found that moistest cake layers result when I use sour cream in the ingredients. Not fat free sour cream. Not even the light stuff. I’m talking about the real-deal-kind-our-grandmothers-used sour cream.
Also, don’t over-bake your crumb cake. No amount of sour cream can save an over-baked cake from dry-as-a-desert status.
Not only does this crumb cake check all the boxes by being both moist and streuseled (I know, not a word), but it goes the extra two miles by having a layer of fresh, juicy peaches and a sweet vanilla glaze, making it the latest addition to my series of peachy posts. Now, I’m usually pretty good about the whole will power thing when I bake, but in this case I was having the toughest time resisting just a little slice here and a little slice there. I had to send it into work with Eric, or the entire thing would have been devoured the second I was left alone with it.
Just warning you.
This moist variation on traditional bakery crumb cake is sure to become a new favorite! A layer of fresh, juicy peaches separates the fluffy sour cream cake layer and the spiced pecan streusel. A sweet vanilla glaze is (literally!) the icing on the cake!
- 2-1/2 cups (625 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (250 mL) unsalted butter, melted
- 3 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp (15 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup (250 mL) sour cream
- 3-4 medium ripe peaches, peeled or unpeeled and sliced about 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) thick (see Note)
- 2 cups (500 mL) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (125 mL) rolled oats
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) chopped pecans
- 3/4 cup (175 mL) packed light brown sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp (7 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
- 1 cup (250 mL) cool unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 cups (500 mL) powdered sugar
- 2-3 tbsp (30-45 mL) whole milk
- 2 tsp (10 mL) pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350F/180C, placing oven rack in center position.
- Lightly coat a 9X13X2-inch baking pan with butter. Line the pan with parchment paper so that there is a 1-2 inch overhang on each long side (these will serve as "handles" for lifting the crumb cake out of the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together sugar and butter at medium speed until well combined, 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream in 2 additions (beginning and ending with the flour.)
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with an offset spatula or a spoon. Top the batter with a layer of sliced peaches, trying to cover as much of the batter as possible.
- Prepare the streusel: In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and salt. Add butter cubes and rub the mixture with your fingers until it is fully blended and moist clumps have formed. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the top of the peaches, pressing lightly to adhere.
- Bake crumb cake for 45-50 minutes, until top is puffed and golden and a knife inserted into the center emerges with just a few moist crumbs attached. Cool pan completely then carefully lift cake from pan and transfer to a wire set over a piece of plastic wrap or foil (to catch excess glaze.)
- Glaze the cake: In a medium bowl whisk together powdered sugar, 2 tbsp (10 mL) milk and vanilla. Add more milk by the teaspoon (5 mL), if necessary, until you have reach a consistency that is thick but pourable.
- Using a fork, drizzle the glaze decoratively over the cake in a zig-zag motion, Let glaze set at least 15 minutes before cutting the cake into large squares and serving.
As with my other peach recipes, I opted to keep the peaches unsliced. Feel free to slice yours! This cake is best eaten within a few days of preparation. Keep it tightly wrapped at room temperature so that it doesn't dry out.