Try this delightful New York style crumb cake with a moist pumpkin base. This pumpkin New York Style crumb cake has a layer of spiced pumpkin flavoured cake with a generous top layer of streusel crumbs. If you love pumpkin cakes and crumble or streusel then you will love this classic New York cake. This is a pushy recipe Dear Reader and is perfect for Thanksgiving or any time really!
The origin of crumb cake is Germany where streusel comes from. Most likely German migrants brought it over the America where it became a popular morning or afternoon item called crumb cake. It also reminds me of the Danish Drømmekage or Dream Cake. The base is usually a yellow cake and it is topped with a delicious, crumbly topping of flour, butter and sugar. Streusel translates to "something scattered" referring to the crumbs and often today crumb cakes have half a layer of cake and half of crumb or streusel. This is an Autumn or Fall version using pumpkin.
As soon as I saw it on my friend Faith's instagram I knew that that was what I was going to make with my leftover pumpkin puree. I actually think that the pumpkin improves the texture of it - keen bakers will know that adding vegetables to a cake will make them more moist and the pumpkin spice mix adds a gorgeous aroma to it. This cake is best with a cup of coffee or tea and a scoop of vanilla ice cream to balance the dry crumb topping.
Tips For Pumpkin New York Crumb Cake
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1 - Here are my recipes for pumpkin puree and pumpkin spice mix. I always keep a jar of pumpkin pie spice mix on hand because it's so handy (try it on stewed apples too!). And I keep some pumpkin puree in the freezer for when I need it.
2 - I like using dark brown sugar to give this extra flavour. But don't worry if you don't have dark brown sugar - did you know that you don't have to buy brown sugar, you can make it? Add 2 tablespoons of molasses to 1 cup of caster/superfine sugar to make dark brown sugar. Or add 1 tablespoon of molasses to every 1 cup of caster/superfine sugar make light brown sugar. That is how brown sugar is made and it isn't healthier or less refined than white sugar. Making it is cheaper and I always find myself running out of brown sugar at really inopportune times - like when I wanted to make this cake!
3 - I love making this Crumb Cake in a square 20x20cm/8x8 inch cake tin but if you only have a round 20cm/8inch tin that will also work.
4 - This cake uses oil to make the cake part more moist but butter in the crumb because nothing beats the flavour of butter.
5 - Don't be alarmed by the amount of streusel that this makes. It makes A LOT and will seem like a lot more crumb than cake but once you bake it, it will even out as the cake rises and the streusel settles. It will end up with around 2/3 cake and 1/3 crumb.
I know that in Australia we aren't really in the midst of pumpkin season as we are going into summer but we have pumpkins all year round. I made a few versions of this just trying to get the ratios to my taste and I ended up giving the last, perfect version to my neighbours who we were going out to dinner with that evening. Our neighbours are so friendly and welcoming and we've had a dinner party with two couples. Rita and Paolo are a retired couple and and they had us and another couple over for dinner. He's Italian and gregarious (I call him "the Mayor" of our suburb) while she is Greek and quieter in comparison but still friendly. The other couple are Tony and Bryan who we met at our house auction who live a couple of doors down from us and they have three dogs.
We were heading out to dinner to a Roman Italian restaurant. Paolo keeps an eye out for good places to go since he knows that we love food. We went there with Bryan and Tony and I brought along the boxes of this pumpkin crumb cake. Paolo and Rita were waiting at the door for us.
Paolo loves to chat to people and he made fast friends with the waitress who is also the owner's daughter. She is one of those 18 years old that has it all together with a confidence that matched Paolo's. He asked for her name and she answered, "Trinity".
At the end of the meal Trinity said, "So I know your name Paolo because you booked and you know mine. What is everyone else's name?"
"Guess!" said Mr NQN, knowing that he has a very unusual first name. And Trinity went around to guess everyone's names and she got them all right (with some hints). It was a really fun night and involved Paolo demonstrating his passion for Zumba in the now empty restaurant. He showed us a particular action where his instructor claps him on the backside to get him to stand up straight. Bryan told him that he needed a new social media handle.
"Call yourself Zumbagod69!" he said laughing.
"But I'm not 69!?" cries Paolo, confused, to much laughter around him.
So tell me Dear Reader, what are your neighbours like? Do you ever socialise with them? Have you ever had a NY Crumb Cake?
Step 1a - Grease a 20x20cm/8x8inch square tin and line with parchment on the base and sides. Preheat oven to 170C/340F fan forced. To make the crumble topping whisk the flour, dark brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin spice mix and salt together. Cut in the butter with butter knives or rub it in with your fingers until you get fine crumbs. You can also do this in the food processor which will do the job quickly. It will be quite dry and it will seem like a lot of mixture but the crumb topping makes up half of the cake. Set aside.
Step 2a -In a bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, spice mix, salt and bicarb. In a jug whisk the brown sugar, oil, pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla until you get a smooth mixture. Add the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture gradually until you get a smooth batter but do not overmix. Scoop into the tin and top with the crumb mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then dust with icing or powdered sugar and serve. This goes perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Step 1b -Thermomix directions: Grease a 20x20cm/8x8inch square tin and line with parchment on the base and sides. Preheat oven to 170C/340F fan forced. Place flour, brown sugar, vanilla, pumpkin spice mix and salt to the TM bowl. Set to 8 seconds, speed #7. Add the butter and set to 5 seconds, speed #7. It will seem like a lot of mixture but the crumb topping makes up half of the cake. Set aside.
Step 2bThermomix directions: add the brown sugar, oil, pumpkin puree, eggs and vanilla into the TM bowl and set to 10 seconds, speed #4. Add the flour, baking powder, spice mix, salt and bicarb and set to 10 seconds, speed #4. Scoop into the tin and top with the crumb mixture. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for 30 minutes and then dust with icing or powdered sugar and serve. This goes perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.