I don’t know if trashy is your cup of tea, but when I was a kid I absolutely loved Entenmann’s ultimate crumb cake. The ratio of crumbs to cake on that thing was approximately 8:1, the little bit of cake base wholly overwhelmed by a thick coat of streusel. Still, I hardly ate the cake. Frankly, I just liked those crumbs.
While Entenmann’s isn’t exactly my thing anymore, I still have an uber-softspot for crumb cake. Something about that combination of brown sugar, nuts, cinnamon, and (of course) butter makes almost any cake better. I’ve outgrown my habit of picking crumbs off the cake (ahem, almost), but to compensate, I’ve taken to putting in twice the amount of streusel called for in the recipe. In case you’re not so inclined, I’ve recorded the original recipe here.
Well, almost the original recipe; I happened to have some of the last of summer’s sweet cherries, which I pitted for this cake. If you have sour cherries lying around, they’d be even better.
The cake turned out splendidly, indeed: sour cream makes it incredibly moist, the copious amounts of butter give it a fine and delicate crumb, and the cherries add some zing and moistness as well. All in all, quite a success. When a close friend came to town, I served it as a lazy and indulgent breakfast; lemme tell you, there’s nothing quite as wonderful as piping hot crumb cake. Call my bluff — give it a try.
Cherry Sour Cream Coffee Cake
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sour cream
2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups cherries, pitted
For the streusel:
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.
Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.
For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.
Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate.