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In the 1960s, we used to buy some wonderful streusel-topped squares at a little bakery in Oakley (suburb of Cincinnati). Everyone loved the thick topping and I’ve never found a streusel quite like the one from the old German bakery. This one comes very close, although I believe the bakery squares were made with yeast rather than being a quick bread. This is truly a quick bread to put together to get really good results. The cake is soft and tender and the topping is crunchy and sweet. We used it today as our Sunday dessert. The recipe was adapted from one on Fake Ginger.

NEW YORK STYLE CRUMB CAKE

Crumb topping:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Cake:

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 6 Tblsp. butter, softened
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tblsp. sour cream
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×9 pan.

Make the crumb topping first:

Mix both sugars, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Add the melted butter and whisk until combined. Fold in the flour until it is absorbed. Spread out a large sheet of parchment paper on a flat pan and spread this mixture out on the parchment paper to dry while mixing the cake.

NYcr-parchTo make the cake:

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the egg and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and add the sour cream and vanilla, beating until just incorporated.

Add the dry ingredients 1/3 at a time, beating only until incorporated and scraping down the bowl each time.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan. The dough is quite stiff and by wetting your fingertips with water, you can spread the dough evenly in the pan.

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Use your hand to scoop up a handful of topping and make a fist. The topping should hold together. Break off in pea-sized chunks and drop them all over the cake. Use all of the topping, sprinkling the crumbs on the top of the cake evenly.

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Bake the cake in a preheated 350 degree F oven for approximately 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes before serving.

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Yield: 6-9 servings 

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