I didn't have enough brown sugar to make the topping, so I took a hint from Alton Brown and used white sugar for the difference, adding in a little molasses and pulsing a few times. It came out perfectly. I'll also reduce the butter next time since my topping was a little too moist (but crazy delicious!)
Next time I will also chop the walnuts in the food processor, put into the bowl reserved for the topping, and then make the topping in the FP. That will save me from washing the knife and the cutting board (since there are plenty of dishes to dirty in this recipe, let me tell you!)
With a few adaptations (maybe sneaking in some whole wheat flour?) and maybe even the use of a muffin pan, next time, this recipe is just about the perfect finish to a great day- and comes together with no problem. Thanks Dorie (and Sihan for the great choice). Don't forget to see everyone's variations here.
Thanks everyone for your kind wishes last week. Here are the winners for the Yoplait giveaway. If I don't get addresses by Friday, I'll draw any more I need. Thanks everyone!
Berry Crumb Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
This recipe is flexible with fruit and flavorings. I'd like to try a mango version with a macademia topping, or maybe raspberries with lime zest. Use whatever you have and let me know if you try some fun flavor combinations!
For the crumbs:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
For the cake:
1 pint (2 cups) berries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed- I used a mix of frozen raspberries and frozen mixed berries)
2 cups plus 2 tsp all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon AND 1/4 orange
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 1/2 teaspoon vinegar plus milk to make 1/2 cup)
Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil, butter or spray the pan with foil, and set on a baking sheet.
To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (Covered well the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.)
To make the cake: Using your fingertips, toss the berries and 2 tsp of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle attachment, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, 2-3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don’t be concerned if the batter looks curdled — it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients.) You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. Pull the crumb mix from the fridge and, with your fingertips, break it into pieces. Scatter the crumbs over the batter, pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.