The classic coffee cake, popularized recently by large coffee shop chains, has been a classic before everyone ordered a slice on their way to work. Actually, the cake has its origins in Germany, and it’s called Streuselkuchen, or crumb cake.
There are two unique things about this cake, one, the brown sugar and cinnamon, crispy topping that reminds us of our fondest holiday memories, and two, that the cake is made with a buttery, lumpy batter.
The result is a coating, soft cake, not that fluffy, but packed with flavor. It’s indeed a noble companion for coffee — note: there no coffee in the recipe.
Making the cake is easy; the tricky part is the buttery, sweet, cinnamon-infused crumbles of the top. I make my crumble mix while the cake is in the oven and top the cake with the crumbles in the last five minutes or so.
Serve this classic coffee cake with a coffee, of course, but for the best pairing make it a milky coffee — a latte, a flat white or a cappuccino work best.
You can make this cake in advance; a day or two allows the cake to set and lose some moisture, making the topping even crispier. Enjoy this coffee cake and never buy an overpriced slice ever again, it’s easier to make than it looks, trust me.
For the cake:
For the crumble topping:
For the glaze:
Grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan and preheat the oven to 375°F.
In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
Use a pastry cutter or a fork to cut the butter in small pieces into the flour mixture to form crumbs.
Add the egg, milk and vanilla to the butter-flour mixture and mix until just combined (it will be lumpy.) Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter and mix well.
Bake the cake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven, add the crumble topping and bake for five more minutes.
Whisk together the water and powdered sugar to make the glaze. Remove cake from the oven and drizzle the glaze over the cake before slicing and serving.