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Saturday, October 4, 2008

Jam Crumb Cake: Three Variations on a Theme


I have a little addiction I feel like I need to tell you about. Breakfast sweets. Actually, it isn't really a little addiction.  It is a rather large addiction.  I am all about the sticky buns and cinnamon rolls, muffins, coffee cakes, doughnuts, etc.  I generally don't eat breakfast (bad, I know, right!?) but if there is something sweet, well, then I am all over it. 

Since I had some homemade preserves recently I have been on a real kick making this jam crumb cake recipe I found on Epicurious. It is infinitely adaptable and extremely delicious. To prove my point, here I give you three versions. All of these started from this base recipe. I've provided the variations below. The cake is insanely delicious and so good. My husband, who isn't a big sweets fan, loves this recipe.

My favorite was the plum version which is really and truly incredible, but the pear and the blueberry versions were also amazing. Whatever type of jam you decide to use with this, you are definitely in for a real treat. Since I am fairly certain I'm not the only one with an addiction to breakfast sweets, I want to know, what is your favorite? If you have a link to the recipe, it would sure be great too if you could link it up here in the comments. Winter is coming and, for me, that, believe it or not, means my real baking time of year is about to begin. So, what do you love?

Lady Jane's Pear Nutmeg Jam (from Peabody)

Pear Nutmeg Cake with Chocolate Crumb

Brown Sugar Plum Crumb Cake


Blueberry Almond Crumb Cake

Jam Crumb Cake and Variations
Adapted from Epicurious

Makes 1 9-inch cake or 6 jumbo muffins or mini loaves

For cake:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla or almond extract
1/2 cup jam or preserves

For crumb topping:
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Make cake: 
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Generously butter a 9-inch square or round cake pan or 6 jumbo muffin cups or mini loaf muffin cups.

Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Whisk together butter, milk, and egg in a large bowl, then whisk in flour mixture until just combined. Pour batter into cake pan. Dollop jam all over surface, then swirl into batter with spoon.

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 cake.

Bake cake until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean and sides begin to pull away from pan, about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes.

Brown Sugar Plum Crumb Cake:  
- Use 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup light brown sugar instead of 1/2 cup granulated sugar.

- Make your own plum preserves, as follows:
2 lb firm-ripe red, black, or fresh prune plums, halved and pitted
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick or use 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Coarsely chop plums and stir together with sugar, water, and cinnamon in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally (more often toward end of cooking to prevent sticking), until thickened and reduced to about 2 1/2 cups, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Discard cinnamon stick and cool preserves. Transfer to an airtight container and chill, covered.  Preserves keep, chilled, 1 month. 

Pear Nutmeg Cake with Chocolate Crumb:  
- Don't change the cake at all.  Replace the extra 2 Tablespoons of flour in the crumb mixture with 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder.  

- For the Pear Nutmeg Jam recipe, go here.

Blueberry Almond Crumb Cake:  
Make homemade blueberry preserves as follows:
 - 4.4 oz picked over blueberries
 - 1/3 cup granulated sugar
 - zest and juice of orange
Smash together in a small saucepan.  Heat to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer until thick and reduced, about 30 minutes.  Reduce to about 1/2 to 3/4 cup, depending on amount of juice.

- Add 1/3 cup ground, toasted almonds to the crumb mixture.

- Use almond extract in the cake. 

Double Rainbow at Brigham City Airport, Utah


StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Wow! They all look so good, I don't know which I like best! And those plum preserves look incredible! Can I come over for coffee later? :)

Erin said...

These all look delicious! My husband is a big fan of breakfast sweets (although he doesn't eat them fro breakfast- this type of stuff is the perfect late-night snack for him!). Anything with a sweet crumb topping is pretty much guaranteed to be good!

LyB said...

Oh, my, gosh! I have just made plum preserves, twice! Once with nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and tonka bean and once with vanilla beans, so this recipe is being bookmarked right now! All of these cakes look fabulous, and I am with you, if there is something sweet for breakfast, I am there! :)

chocolatechic said...

I am with you on breakfast sweets.

Give me a cinnamon roll, and I'll get up early!

Elly said...

OOh they all look so tasty! Mmm, I just love jam and breakfast treats!

Mary Ann said...

These look amazing. I love all the variations! I wish I would have seen the pear one before I used up the last of my pears yesterday!

Peabody said...

They all look great. I forgot to tell you how giddy my mom was that someone made her jam. She is so funny that way. :) So thanks for making my mom happy.

Maria said...

How do I choose which one to make? They all look fabulous!

Deborah said...

I don't think I'd be able to choose a favorite between these versions - they all look so good! I keep saying that I need to make my cinnamon rolls, because they are seriously the best cinnamon rolls ever. You might have encouraged me to do them this weekend (although we'll see how lazy I am when it comes around!)

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