Christmas Crumb Cake


Breakfast, Meatless / Friday, December 12th, 2008

Just call me Nancy Drew.

For the past few days, the wastebasket in our bathroom has had a few inches of water in it. The first time I noticed it, I wrote it off to catching a little water from the sink. So, I poured it out. And it came back. The ceiling wasn’t leaking, so I moved the basket farther from the sink. More water.

So, being a beacon of logic, I ask Jeff, “Are you pouring water into the trashcan?”

He walks into the bathroom, looks around and points out that I’ve moved the basket squarely under the toilet handle. Which is leaking.

It’s the holiday season, and my brain is turning into figgy pudding.

What do you do to hang on to the scraps of your sanity during The MOST WonDERful Time of the Year?

While I’m waiting for your answer, I’ll be curled into the fetal position, like Sybil, and having some Christmas Crumb Cake. It’s the perfect holiday meltdown food – crunchy from the pecans, sweet from the brown sugar and coconut, a little tangy from the dried cranberries and buttery from the … butter. The original recipe calls for a cup of walnuts, but add a cup of any mix-ins that soothe your soul.

P.S. Bourbon is not a mix-in.

Christmas Crumb Cake

Adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “A Passion for Baking”

Makes 10 to 12 servings

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1/4 cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously spray a 9- or 10-inch springform pan or 13- x 9-inch pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place pan on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  2. In a mixer bowl, blend butter, flour, both sugars, salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  3. For Topping: Remove 3/4 cup of mixture from the mixing bowl, and add chopped nuts, coconut, cherries and remaining 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. To remaining batter, add baking powder, baking soda, egg, vanilla and buttermilk. Using a hand whisk, blend well.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle on reserved crumb topping. Bake until cake tests done and springs back when gently pressed with fingertips, about 45 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

22 thoughts on “Christmas Crumb Cake

  1. I stay in the kitchen to keep my sanity. Although, I question whether that helps! :)

    This cake looks fantastic! I think I know what I’ll be having for breakfast! YUM!

  2. sanity? Overrated, completely. Although coconut flavored vodka pairs well with any flavor of Kool-Aid. Really.

  3. What?!? Bourbon isn’t a mix-in?! So, um… does that mean rum is out too? ;)
    I go crazy around the holidays too – working out and baking tend to help. Occasional applications of alcohol work wonders as well :)

  4. Cristine: I’ve been staying in the kitchen eating cake. Does that count?

    Ingrid: Thanks! The less sanity you have, the more cake you require.

    Jenn: Coconut-flavored vodka? Why don’t you share these things with me?

    Caitlin: Now, you’ve got me thinking I was too rash. Maybe a bourbon sauce, or bourbon-whipped cream or a bourbon popsicle would go nicely with this.

    Natashya: Wine! Why didn’t I think of that? Please, have some cake.

  5. It’s just the opposite in my house…the toilet is running and my husband is just standing there staring at it and finally I say is the handle stuck? Oh, yeah, he says, lifting up the handle, why didn’t I figure that out? Hmm.
    So maybe bourbon isn’t a mix-in for Christmas Crumb Cake, but it definitely mixes into my eggnog.

  6. My first thought would be to add a little extra nog to my egg nog, but here you are telling me that bourbon is not a mix-in. In that case I’d love to tell you that I go for a long run to keep my sanity, but “I stand over the mixing bowl and eat dough straight” would be more truthful. Good luck getting that toilet handle fixed.

    Oh, and your crumb cake looks fantastic, bourbon or not.

  7. Shelley: OK, I’m going to adjust the float. Wish me luck!

    Karen: Oh, yes, Southern Comfort eggnog is a family tradition.

    Cathy: Thanks! I think bourbon is a mix-in for life.

    Chocolate Shavings: Thanks! The baking is relaxing, but I hate, hate, hate cleaning the kitchen over and over again. That must be why people have kids.

  8. That looks extraordinary!
    As for the toilet problem. Try adjusting the float inside it. The water is filling up to high. Should fix the problem in a flash.

  9. Wow you have a nice blog, i like your blog so much as can learn how to do the cake. I think u should add the foodbuzz in your blog and can have some income to keep u motivate to continue provide us the recipe. If you don’t mind, we can help you to setup the foodbuzz for you

  10. The night before last we noticed our carpet was wet…. our washer is leaking somehow and had spread out of the laundry into the family room!!
    So, I’m there with ya…the fetal position.
    What keeps me sane? hmmmmmm….. I splurged and bougth 5 cooking magazines today. Maybe I’m not so sane. What the hell did I just do??? 5 magazines equals $30-40 wasted dollars!!! LOL

  11. I focus on what Christmas is all about..Jesus birthday and loving my family and friends. I wish you the best holiday season ever. I love your recipe for the wonderful looking cake!

  12. I just keep saying “I make cookies because I love making them.” (or whatever variation on that I need…because I sometimes need a reminder that I’m enjoying myself. I also know by now that I’m not going to get everything done weeks ahead etc,
    I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  13. i’ve been mixing cocktails all this week to keep me sane. plus, i just watch one scene over and over on youtube from my favorite holiday movie (the shop around the corner).

    that cake could also keep me sane. i’d love a slice right now. mmmm.

  14. Oh, that looks so delicious! I just don’t have the energy to get back in the kitchen. 7 hours Saturday, 9 hours Sunday and every night after work this week. I am officially done with baking for a while. I want to scrub my kitchen from top to bottom and pay a little attention to the other 9 rooms of the house that haven’t had attention. Maybe after a drink or two. Yes, that sounds nice.

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