07-06-15_crummy.jpgRight away, I’ll confess that I do not yet own a standing mixer. This is a dreadful delinquency in the world of baking, and Cook’s Illustrated is an unforgiving code of cooking ethics. But I do adore crumb cake and I wanted to tackle this recipe, from the May/June 2007 issue. So how’d it turn out, using my hand mixer? Well … not bad.

The recipe warns us to avoid using all-purpose flour and to use cake flour instead. According to Epicurious.com, “Cake or pastry flour is a fine-textured, soft-wheat flour with a high starch content. It makes particularly tender cakes and pastries.” I used whole-wheat pastry flour. When I combined the sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter with the flour to make the crumb topping, I could not get the “cohesive” texture that was required. My crumbs were more like sand.

For the cake aspect, I did use all the necessary flour, sugar, butter, and buttermilk. I baked this cake for 45 minutes. My resulting cake was a triumph enough. It definitely satisfied my cravings. And that’s all I could hope for from such a cake-baking exercise.

RECIPE: intimidating, but forgiving
you should always take your time with a recipe such as this; don’t rush it
soft cake, sweet crumbs; don’t worry if your cake is not too pretty

Now let’s get back to some chicken! My next recipe will be “Chicken Breast Cutlets with Artichokes and Capers,” from All Recipes. Come back to my site on Saturday, September 15, to see my results.