Once and a while you come across a recipe that is so full proof, you could execute it backwards, with your eyes closed, and it would still work. That is true of the following crumb cake recipe. I found it on an amazing blog called Vegan Yum Yum, a blog dedicated to veganism. I am not a vegan, but I do enjoy cooking both vegan and vegetarian. When I bake, I use alternative flours, sweeteners and fats so I put my own spin on the recipe.
The recipe was adapted and "veganized" from Cooks Illustrated magazine by blogger Lauren Ulm. I made some changes to her adaptation; Her recipe called for AP flour and I used Whole Wheat Pastry flour. Lauren used granulated white sugar, and I used Sucanat (an unrefined sugar that has the molasses in it as well as other minerals that are stripped out when processing it into white sugar). Lauren used canola oil, and I used Almond oil. Lastly, Lauren used cornstarch mixed with water, and I used potato starch. Besides the oil and the potato starch/water mixture, the other liquid in the mix was soy milk, mixed with a small amount of lemon juice, and a small amount of vanilla.
What I love about this recipe is that you don't have to use a mixer as the fat in both the crumb and the cake is liquid (melted Earth Balance for the topping, and Almond oil for the cake), so, no creaming is necessary. I like to use Almond oil in baked goods. It has a pleasant flavor and is mainly monounsaturated (over over 70%) and polyunsaturated (~17%).
Secondly, you cover the pan with foil and then lift the foil out when the cake is done, so there is limited clean up. Lastly, the cake bakes relatively quickly, so from start to finish, you're looking at about an hour's time, not too bad :)
The recipe is broken down into 2 parts, the cake and the crumb. The crumb is a delicious, thick and crumbly topping made of melted Earth Balance vegetable oil spread, sugar, flour, cinnamon and pinch of salt. I'm all about the crumb, and in fact, it is so substantial in this recipe, the crumb layer is just as big, if not bigger, than the cake layer! Delicious. Here's some pics:
Here is the crumb mix:
The cake batter in the pan:
With the crumb topping, ready for oven: