Tuesday, March 24, 2009

TWD: Blueberry Crumb Cake



Sihan of Fundamentally Flawed chose this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, Blueberry Crumb Cake. I wanted to make this one as soon as I saw that Sihan had picked it, because I love a good crumb cake, and I had a hunch that this one would be great. And Dorie promises that it is "easy to find an occasion to serve it -- breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner or snacktime will do." It doesn't get more versatile than that!

My problem is that I tend to dive into things without really thinking through the consequences of diving in at that particular moment. Do I have the time to complete the task? Do I have the necessary resources? Am I in a position to give the project my full attention? Will undertaking this project now cause me trouble down the road? Heck if I know! But there is usually only a minimal time lapse between me deciding, for example, that I should really clean out my garage, and my garage being completely emptied out. And only then do all of the reasons why now is not a good time to clean out the garage come to light.

Well, I wanted to make this crumb cake in a major way, and a Saturday morning breakfast seemed like the perfect time. So on a whim I just dove in one Saturday and started measuring things and mixing things while the kids swarmed around me wanting/needing things (but in a good way!). Measure brown sugar, wipe a nose, wash hands, measure flour, change to different Max & Ruby because we just saw this one, add salt, or did I already add the salt?, pull toddler out of pantry, chop some walnuts, pull pony hair accessory out of toddler's mouth, zest a lemon, break up fight over who is blocking whose view of the TV (which, despite all of its hype and promise, is a really useless babysitter). Honestly, it's a wonder I don't screw things up more.

Well, somehow I got everything mixed up; I spread the batter in the pan; and I topped the batter with the crumb topping, which, incidentally, I overmixed. See?



No matter, I figured I'd just break it up while I put it on the cake. Anyway, so my cake was completely assembled and ready to go into the oven, when I suddenly realized that I forgot the vanilla. I panicked. I feel like vanilla is one of the more important teaspoons in many recipes. My mind raced back to my Christmas cookie baking, when I forgot vanilla in some chocolate cookies I was making, and they were horrible -- I had to trash them.

QUERY: WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE IN MY SHOES?

(a) baked the cake without the vanilla and hoped for the best
(b) scraped the topping off the batter, dug out the batter and put it into a bowl, and tried to mix in the vanilla back in without turning my cake purple
(c) I would not be in your shoes, you dumbass

Well, seeing as I am as cool under pressure as John Roberts administering an historic oath of office, you just KNOW that I opted to disassemble my cake and try to mix in the vanilla after the fact.


Oh yeah, not really the effect I was going for. That said, my four year old took one look at it and said "it's purple! I want to be a purple fairy when I grow up!", ran out of the room, and returned as a purple fairy:



I'm glad my cake inspired someone.

The problem here is that not only was my cake purple, but I am sure that the vanilla was not fully and evenly incorporated, because once it started changing colors, I chickened out. Anyway, nothing to be done at this point but to put it all back together again and bake it:



Well, I am pleased to report that this is a very forgiving cake. We thought it was delicious, and in fact, once it baked it was not even overly purple (as you can see from the picture at the top). The crumb topping absolutely made the cake. In fact, the topping was so good that David noted that there was a little bit of a Seinfeldian "top 'o the muffin to ya!" quality about it -- it was so amazingly good, that the cake was in some danger of being relegated to "stump" status. But it would really not be fair for us to judge the cake since I left out the vanilla. And we agreed that the cake was really, really good, topping or not. I will make this again -- I will just proceed in a more organized fashion next time. Thanks for the great pick, Sihan!!

59 comments:

Steph said...

I think the purple batter looks very cool! I forget vanilla all the time and just mix it in after. Sometimes I wonder if I have vanilla patches, but o well! I like your crumbs because you get to have bigger pieces.

Natashya said...

Mine was pretty purple too. Tasty though! Your daughter is so cute!!

n.o.e said...

The purple cake is pretty cool, but that purple fairy takes the cake! (hmm, I hope she liked it?) I can't begin to recount the ways that I've left ingredients out of my baked goods. Yeast out of yeast bread? check. Blueberries out of blueberry muffins? yup. And I don't have any of your three excuses (although when both dogs get on a barking jag it does rattle the nerves). In my book a forgiving cake that can be enjoyed any and every time of day is a keeper!
Nancy

Mary Ann said...

I love the purple and you never would have known, because you top pic shows no sign of it whatsoever.
The topping was pretty popular, it was getting picked off around here.
Love you fairy and the adventure of making this cake!

Elyse said...

I think the purple adds a charm to the cake, and it looks totally delicious to me! (P.S. Can we talk about how cute your 4-year-old purple fairy is?!) And I just love the John Roberts reference...after sitting for the past two weeks with all of the Supreme Court's past jurisprudence dealing with procreative liberties (I'm writing a law rev note), I can appreciate a good joke about the justices! What I'd appreicate even more is a slice of your yummy cake!

SiHaN said...

oh the purple is gorgeous! and so is the fairy! aha. glad that the recipe inspired some kind of movement. haha.

Andrea said...

What a fun and relatable post. Love it. Switch Max and Ruby, check, remove pony hair accessory from mouth, check. Glad this one was a favorite, your hunch was right :)

Audrey said...

Response:
a. maybe; b. um, no., c: I would never say something I didn't sincerely mean and that could (probably would) come back to bite me the next time I baked.
I could have told ya that this happens every time I make blueberry muffins...and besides, it's a very lovely shade of purple.
And I agree about the topping...heavenly. I'm so glad you all enjoyed this.

Marthe said...

I would probably bake the cake without the vanilla.... It looks great though!!

Cristine said...

Our mornings sound eerily similar! :) Glad the cake worked so well for you!

Lady Baker said...

Considering I just ruined a batch of "Amish Friendship Bread" by throwing in 1C of milk instead of 1/2C, I can't say anything about a minor infraction for vanilla---nice recovery! Gotta love a forgiving cake! :)

The purple fairy is the cutest!

Jessica said...

I forget to add things all of the time and I don't have any of your good excuses -- it's just me against myself! 80% of the time I'd do what you did and the other 20% of the time I'd call it an experiment and let the zest and the fruit do the work. It looks beautiful and I do love the purple fairy bit. It sort of makes me want to start calling this "the purple fairy cake."

Cakelaw said...

LOL - you were very devoted to take the topping off to add the vanilla. I probably would have closed my eyes and decided to see how it went without. (I baked muffins the other day in which I had left out the oil - and they tasted fine, though I wonder how much better they could have been ...). Great looking cake, and your daughter is so sweet as a purple fairy.

Di said...

Your description sounds amazingly similar to how things go around here--right down to the ponytail holder in the mouth... (I swear, I really thought Gillian should be past the put-everything-I-encounter-into-my-mouth phase by now! She's almost 2 1/2!) I can only take Max & Ruby in small doses... And the crumb topping was by far my favorite part of this cake--yours looks terrific.

Jennifer said...

LOVE the purple fairy!

Again, you always make me laugh.

Your cake looks wonderful. Mine was quite purple when I mixed it up, but that diminished. Nice job, Cathy!

Maria said...

I personally love the purple cake! You are too funny! I love reading your posts!!

LyB said...

I can just imagine something like that happening to me! I once forgot the sugar in a batch of muffins and wondered, once they were in the oven, why they didn't look quite right. Go figure! The purple color of the batter is so vivid, it's almost a shame it didn't stay that way. :)

Teanna said...

Stop!!!!! Your daughter is so cute! The cutest little purple fairy! And I am sorry, Cathy, but I almost wish your cake did come out purple, because that batter looks so awesome!!!!

Teanna said...

Stop!!!!! Your daughter is so cute! The cutest little purple fairy! And I am sorry, Cathy, but I almost wish your cake did come out purple, because that batter looks so awesome!!!!

Teanna said...

Stop!!!!! Your daughter is so cute! The cutest little purple fairy! And I am sorry, Cathy, but I almost wish your cake did come out purple, because that batter looks so awesome!!!!

Teanna said...

Stop!!!!! Your daughter is so cute! The cutest little purple fairy! And I am sorry, Cathy, but I almost wish your cake did come out purple, because that batter looks so awesome!!!!

Kayte said...

Purple cake for a purple fairy...sounds incredibly accommodating to me! And, at least yours was edible...mine, sorry to say, was dry, overdone, and not my best work...by a long shot. Go over there and give me some advice...from you or the purple fairy as clearly I need some magical help this week!

Anne said...

I know exactly what you mean, and I only cook with one helper! You're doing great! I can't believe how much purple baked out, though... mine wasn't colored when I put it in, but it came out a little greenish purple. Crazy blueberries. Great job as usual Cathy! :)

Amanda said...

Looks wonderful! We really enjoyed this crumb cake too :)

Flourchild said...

Hey you could of told your kids it's the Barney cake! Im glad it turned out tasting good..I love the purple!!
I thought this recipe was wonderful. I was pleased with the way it turned out!

Jess said...

Looks scrumptious! Great job on this one, despite the hurdles you had to overcome. Although I managed to go a whole 2 days without the Max & Ruby theme running through my head, until I read your post. Now that nasal whine "Maaa-aaax" will reverberate through my brain.

Karen said...

Purty!! My topping looked like that too but she said you would have to break it up with your fingers....
Glad you made it through even with all of the distractions!

Katherine Aucoin said...

I admired your patience dealing with the little ones and staying on top of this cake the way you did. It looks fantastic! Your stories are so funny too. I would love to hang out in the kitchen with you.

Sara said...

Great post, I always enjoy your writing.

Oh.. and the cake looks good too! :)

Banjo said...

Ha I forget stuff often too!! Well done, looks great. :)

spike. said...

I always realize I forgotten to add something halfway through baking (unfortunately it has been the sugar more than once). I love the purple of the blueberries!

Jennifer said...

I wish I could be a purple fairy, too!

I think I would have gone with plan B. Actually that's what I did on the last cake when I forgot to add the ground almonds.

vibi said...

You know how much I love coming here... I'm never sure I should comment your baking results... or praise your writing. Today, It'll be in the air... I'm just goind to be soooo happy, the day I see you published. Think about it... (but I'm sure you have! LOL)

Leslie said...

I think the times that I don't forget to add something (or add it twice) outnumber the times I make recipes correctly. That said, isn't this a fabulous and forgiving cake? Disappearing purple + over processed crumb topping + hastily folded in vanilla = scrumptious and beautiful dessert, not to mention one that insipres purple fairies. Dorie would be so proud!

The Blonde Duck said...

I almost died laughing at the purple fairy and your dry response of "I'm glad I inspired someone." I seriously about peed myself.

chocolatechic said...

I would have either baked it without the vanilla, or put some vanilla in a spritzer and spritzed the top of the cake with vanilla.

Pamela said...

That cake looks perfect! I totally understand and relate to your post, as you well know. I love the purple fairy photo, too!
As for Max & Ruby...I like the episodes with the higher, whinier voiced Ruby...know what I mean? She's much better at being a nag. I know it's odd but it makes me smile! :o)

Megan said...

Ha ha ha - I would totally have gone with option A.

And just for fun, try making chocolate chip cookies without vanilla sometime. They might just surprise you with the flavor.....

Jill said...

I am thoroughly impressed that you disassembled the cake to add the vanilla! I would have said a few choice words and stuck it in the oven.

myfamousrecipe said...

As the mom of a 3 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old, I totally related to this post! My batter turned blue/purple, too, but then the finished product looked pretty good. Magic purple fairy batter!

pinkstripes said...

I would have (a) baked it without vanilla; and maybe sprinkle the top with a heavy dose of vanilla sugar.

I'm glad it worked out for you in the end. (oh and I want to be a purple fairy when I grow up. :p)

Melissa said...

I would have totally chosen A and just skipped the vanilla, hoping for the best. I love the picture of your pre-baked purple cake! That's awesome that it wasn't purple after you baked it. Hmph... weird! But good! Glad you enjoyed it!

Heather said...

ahahaha! i love the purple fairy comment. so hilarious!

i end up having my batters dyed different colors a lot. i like it when the fruit - esp. blackberries and raspberries, break up a little bit, but then i'm stuck with purple or pink batter. oh well. still tastes alright on the way down!

i must be on the same wavelength with the TWD bakers. i made blackberry yogurt crumb topping muffins this week. crumb topping rules.

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

I love your purple cake! And your daughter is so cute to dress in purple for the occasion!

Gabe's Girl said...

See, even the cake was on your side! It wanted you to succeed. Kids always make our kitchens more interesting. Kind of makes me wonder how the whole Hansel and Gretel story came about...
I think your daughter is the most adorable and colorful fairy that I have ever seen and you are one cool mom.

dharmagirl said...

okay, i'm still laughing about the john roberts reference. (and remember that he too did a sort of revision to that one...). your purple cake is awesome, and i too would be inspired to be a purple fairy if a) i saw this gorgeous batter and b) had such a cute fairy outfit as your daughter:) i'm glad that it turned out well in the end!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Your cake looks like it turned out great! I was so happy when my son grew out of the Max and Ruby age - that show drove me nuts! FYI, video games make excellent babysitters when the kiddos get older. ;)

Proud Italian Cook said...

What happened to the purple? You can't even tell in the first photo.
See it all worked out Cathy!

Katrina said...

Well now you're tempting us all to over mix the blueberries to get that awesome purple. Good to know it was still edible without the vanilla. Love your little purple fairy!

Debinhawaii said...

I have been figuringout what I want to be when i grow up and I think it just might be a purple fairy--your cake inspires me too! I came this close to leaving the egg out of my muffins today, sadly with no help at all! I think your cake looks great!

leanne said...

I would have most definately pulled the crumbs back out for vanilla. Glad your cake turned out. Love your purple fairy.

Ivette said...

I loved the topping on this cake too..it had like a salty sweet taste to it that made me go crazy! Your cake looks really good :)

Bridgett said...

I am loving that gorgeous crumb topping. That is definitely my favorite part!

natalia said...

Ciao ! I love your purple fairy !! And Max and Ruby .. they were so cute but not anymore (I miss them !) We all forget something what scares me is that moment of irrational panic when you make the craziest decision (of course that's what I do !!)

AppleC said...

I would have baked the cake the done a vanilla wash after it was baked. That would moisten the cake and add the vanilla flavor.

Engineer Baker said...

Haha - I totally want to be a purple fairy when I grow up now :) Nice save, although I must admit, I probably would have just skipped the vanilla and served it as dessert with ice cream. But I guess that wouldn't work so well for breakfast...

kimberly salem said...

i am jealous of her purple fairy costume;) the texture of the finished cake at the top is perfect! glad your cake mavericking worked out :)

farah said...

Your cake looks great. I laughed when i read your post. Its the same for me when i try to cook or bake. Everything takes so much longer with all the 'little' interruptions.
So glad you and your family enjoyed this recipe.

The Food Librarian said...

You have it! A new line of clothes that match the food! What a revolutionary fashion step! I would sooo buy that line. Love the purple batter! Your posts are always so funny.

 
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