Oh, my bad. I think we’re supposed to be writing about fruit.
Delicious, in-season, late summer fruit. Surely this cake can wait until it’s February and we are drowning in root vegetables. Right?
Peaches and blueberries and apricots, oh my! And instead, we made you a crumb cake. A crumb cake that’s not really technically a crumb cake (it’s probably closer to a cake with crumbly shortbread on top). A crumb cake that I have eaten, at least a few times a year, for almost thirty years.
When Nicole asked if I had a recipe for crumb cake handy, I could practically smell this cake. There are certain dishes that provide a rush of sensory memory and this is definitely one of them for me. The kitchen and the oven and the very homes where both resided may have changed many, many times over the last thirty years but come by for a special occasion and chances are very good that this cake was cooling on the table; big, fat, buttery crumbs sinking into pliable yellow cake and a Cutrone child sneaking up to steal a bite. This is my mother’s cake.
Okay, really, it’s Mr. Beggins’ cake. Here are the exact notes from my sister Melissa when I asked for the recipe:
Mom got this recipe from Mr. and Mrs. Beggins (Jenn and my 3rd grade teacher). It’s always been a crowd favorite.
My sister Jenn, incidentally, is practically a professional Crumb Picker. She can swipe a giant chunk of crumb from the top and make it look like no crime has been committed. Such is her gift (second only to her uncanny ability to be missing when it’s time to clear the table after dinner). Such is the beauty of this cake. Instead of those shaky, trembly crumbs from most crumb cakes, this topping will come off in giant nugget-form. You won’t be able to resist them. Just try it, I dare you.
Nicole, poor soul, came to this recipe with a little trepidation. “THREE STICKS OF BUTTER?!” she emailed back. “Um, are you sure that’s right? Most crumb cake recipes only call for a stick, maybe a stick and a half.” I assured her it was right.
When it came time to take the pan out of the oven, she IMed me. “The top is sinking,” she wrote. “Did I do something wrong?” I asked her to snap a photo and send it to me. What I saw made me grin. (Like in the last episode of Sex and the City when Charlotte sees a picture of her baby.) I wiped a stray tear from my eye. That’s it. That’s the cake.
Source: Mr. and Mrs. Beggins | Makes one 9 x 13 inch cake or two 8×8 inch cakes
For the cake:
1 box of yellow cake mix (plus ingredients required on box)
For the topping:
2 Cups of flour
1 Cup of sugar
3 Sticks of butter (soft but not melted)
1. Prepare box cake mix as directed.
2. Cook cake until ALMOST done (top of the cake should be firm but the filling a bit wobbly).
3. To make the crumb topping, combine the flour, sugar and butter and using a fork or fingers mix together.
4. Sprinkle on almost-finished cake and continue to bake until crumb topping turns brownish gold.