Saturday, February 02, 2008

Jam Crumb Cake Third Attempt: The Charm

The springform pan and melting the preserves seem to have done the trick. I have, at last, a successful version of this cake. I feel like I’ve just finished my first marathon. I’m exhausted, but proud of my accomplishment.

This recipe has drifted pretty far away from the original, mostly in technique, rather than ingredients. To ensure success I now have everything ready to go, then combine it all, and get it in the oven within 5 or so minutes. The original instructions for this cake called for mixing up the batter, plopping in some preserves, then mixing and scattering the crumb topping over it and baking. I’ve managed to complicate this process somewhat.

Here, at last, is the recipe, with my notes:

Jam Crumb Cake
adapted from Gourmet magazine, December 2007
serves 6-8

For Cake
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder (I use single acting homemade baking powder)
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ stick unsalted butter, melted
½ cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
½ cup raspberry jam or preserves
Juice of ½ a lemon

For Crumb Topping
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
½ cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Make Cake: preheat oven to 350 degrees F, with rack in middle. Generously grease an 8 ½” or 9” springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, and spray parchment paper with cooking spray.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together butter, milk, vanilla, and egg in a large bowl, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into cake pan.

In a small pan over medium heat, heat preserves with the juice of ½ a lemon until almost completely melted. Remove from heat and stir until all jam is melted, then drizzle over batter. Using a knife, stir preserves into the batter until well incorporated, but not completely combined (some streaks of jam should still be visible in the batter).

Make Crumb Topping:
Whisk together butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt until smooth. Stir in flour, then blend with your fingertips until incorporated. Sprinkle crumbs in large clumps over top of the cake.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, and sides begin to pull away form the pan, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, then remove outer ring of springform pan and let cool to room temperature.

I’d probably add even another teaspoon of vanilla to this the next time I made it. And I combine the dry ingredients in one bowl, the wet in another, melt the jam, and then make the topping. Then I mix the wet and dry ingredients, pour them into the prepared pan, add the jam and swirl, then top and bake to get the whole thing into the oven as quickly as possible.

The end product is not too sweet, has a nice shot of fruit from the preserves, and a firm, moist texture. The reason I was so devoted to this thing is because I think it’s a nice change from the usual sour cream coffee cake, or variation on sticky buns that calls for pecans or other nuts. I think this cake would be good with any kind of preserves stirred through it (I’m intending to make it in the summer when the blackberries are ripe and I can make a variation on blackberry preserves to use), lemon curd, or for kids with melted peanut butter and jam mixed in. The basic cake is so simple that it would be a good blank canvas to play with.



kitchenmage said...

Nice series on this challenge and how you overcame it. Now I have to go look at the original recipe and compare the start and finish.

I have a recipe like this of my very own - interestingly enough, it also involves jam, although it's more of a bar. It looks great in theory and all of the components work fine in other recipes but put it all together and...not so much. You've inspired me to try again.

TD said...

Thanks! It was just so darned enticing that I had to monkey with it until I made it work. I have a bar cookie recipe that uses raspberry jam on a hazelnut crust, which is stellar (if expensive), and this reminded me of that. If nothing else, I got to eat Jam Crumb Cake (or the remains thereof) several days in a row.