Last week was one helluva crazy-busy week for yours truly. I over-committed on work obligations, which resulted in me staying up for 36 hours straight just trying to get everything accomplished. FYI, after The Late Show, The Late Late Show, and the So Late That It's Early Show, there is absolutely nothing on T.V.....unless you're a big fan of Snuggie info-mercials, that is.
I used to be able to pull an all-nighter with very few side effects; however, those days are apparently behind me, and I likely won't be attempting one again in the near future. It took the remainder of the week and the weekend for me to fully recover. In fact, I'm still a wee bit tired (stifles yawn.) My workouts suffered, my aptly-named "no-fun" diet suffered (ice cream with sprinkles at 3 a.m.!), and my to-do list was pretty much ignored.
Thankfully, this week offers much more flexibility for my schedule, so hopefully I will be able to get back on track. Monday started out with some good momentum: yoga and meetings in the morning and catching up on recipe ideas in the afternoon, so I have high hopes for the rest of the week. I was even able to jump back on the no-fun diet train, eschewing bread, sugar, and most dairy for fruits, veggies, and whole grains. This feat, however, was by no means a cake walk. Pun intended.
Because I bake so often, I have almost become immune to the enticing aromas of buttery cookies, deep chocolate brownies, or whatever recipe I happen to be creating at the time. Usually, I suffer little or no temptation when a freshly baked loaf of banana bread cools on the counter or when a few bits of cookie dough cling to the mixing bowl. That being said, every once in a while I create a recipe that really tests my will power. This Maple-Blueberry Crumbcake is one such recipe. Maybe it was the enticing combination of blueberries and maple that reminded me of Sunday morning pancakes. Maybe it was that generous layer of buttery cinnamon-streusel (everything is better with streusel.) I don't know. But when this cake was baking, the aroma all but lifted me from my chair and carried me back into the kitchen--it was that good. Then of course I had to up the ante by adding a sweet maple glaze on top. For the record, I did not cheat.....but I sure wanted to. Knife and fork were in hand, ready to dive in, but I resisted and wrapped it up for Eric to take into work. Back to my carrots... Here are a few extra tips for making this crowd-pleasing cake:
- I have made this recipe with both fresh blueberries and the frozen variety. Both worked very well, so if blueberries are not in season, don't splurge on the fresh ones.
- If you don't have maple extract on hand, you can substitute almond extract, or you can also use only vanilla.
- For a variation on this recipe, try mixing sliced almonds or chopped pecans into the streusel or the batter itself. Substitute raspberries for the blueberries, or use a mixture of the two. Mix some orange zest into the cake batter.
- This cake is best served the day that it is made, but it will keep well for 3-4 days, tightly wrapped at room temperature.
1 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maple extract
2 ¾ cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
For the streusel
2 cups flour
⅔ cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, melted
For the glaze
2 cups confectioner's sugar
3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a 9X13 inch baking pan with aluminum foil so that it hangs over the edges by 1-inch. Spray the foil with nonstick baking spray.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the melted butter and sugar together on medium speed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the buttermilk and both extracts.
In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, mixing to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly over the top of the batter.
Prepare the streusel: In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the melted butter, breaking the mixture into small clumps. Sprinkle the streusel evenly over the blueberries, pressing lightly to adhere.
Bake the crumbcake for 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center emerges clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the cake from the pan by lifting with the ends of the foil.
To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioner's sugar with enough maple syrup to reach a drizzling consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the cooled cake and allow to set for 15 minutes. Cut the cake into squares and serve.