Good morning, friends! In my opinion, weekend winter mornings are just made for freshly baked treats straight out of the oven. Something warm and yummy just hits the spot, and, of course that baked good would garner huge bonus points if it also contained chocolate chips, right?
Today’s Saturday Snacks recipe comes to us courtesy of Cooking with Mickey and the Chefs of Walt Disney World Resorts. The cookbook is an older one (published in 1998), but it’s definitely a good one. One of the editions of the cookbook came in easel form, so it’s incredibly handy ’round the kitchen. It just stands there and allows you can make a quick glance at it as you need to while constructing your dish. That’s a fabulous thing.
Other notable things about this cookbook is that the author of each recipe is credited and the Walt Disney World restaurant that he or she represented is noted. And, since it’s an older cookbook, some of the dining locations referred to are no longer in existence, so it acts as a Disney World time capsule of sorts. It’s a book of classic recipes, and I’m looking forward to whipping up a recipe or two from it in the Saturdays to come.
We’ll be whipping up Chef Andreas Born’s Chocolate Chip Crumbcakes today, and if you enjoy the flavors of lemon and chocolate, this might be just the treat for you. I know what you’re thinking: chocolate and lemon? I know, I know. Stick with me. Your open mind might just pay off.
I’m a sucker for all things lemon, and sometimes all I want is Starbucks’ Iced Lemon Poundcake; well, that and a Black and White Mocha with soy milk and whip. I must admit that I was a tad hesitant at the thought of combining the flavors of chocolate and lemon, but Chef Born wouldn’t steer us wrong, would he?
The ingredient list is fairly simple for the crumbcakes, with cake flour and lemon extract being the most out of the box. I took to the internet to help straighten out what the difference is between our trusty all-purpose flour and cake flour, and, of course, the answers were readily accessible. If you want a ton of details, be sure to check out this Southern Living article on the subject. In the meantime, the CliffsNotes version is this: all-purpose flour is made from a combination of hard and soft wheat, creating a more dense baked good while cake flour is made from a softer wheat, thus producing a softer, lighter end result.
Our first step is to take 2 1/2 sticks of butter out of the fridge and let them come up to room temp. Just take ’em out while you’re stirring your first cup of coffee, and by the time you’re awake enough to throw the crumbcake batter together, they should be ready to go. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and use an extra pat of butter to grease three 3×5 loaf pans (I opted for the foil variety), and coat the inside of the greased pans with flour.
In a medium-sized bowl, we’ll begin prepping our dry ingredients. Toss 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cake flour (give it a little sift or whirl of a whisk first), 1 cup of cornstarch (make sure you have enough ahead of time or you might end up running to the store again like I did), and a 1/2 teaspoon baking powder.
Whisk the dry ingredients together to ensure that everything’s thoroughly combined. Set the bowl aside.
In a separate medium bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), we’ll start combining our wet ingredients. Place 1 cup of granulated sugar into the bowl, and follow that up with 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the room temp butter (so, two sticks plus 2 tablespoons), 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract. And, after you add in the lemon extract, stop and inhale the glorious lemony scent rising from the bowl. Gooooood morning, lemon extract.
Grab your hand mixer (or the stand mixer), and beat the sugar, butter, and extracts for 5 minutes, or until light and creamy. Look at that lovely, creamy butter and sugar. Yummm.
One at a time, add four eggs to the wet ingredients. Be sure to run the beater after each addition.
Take a few moments as you add the eggs to stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. The wet ingredients will have a tendency to cling to the sides of the bowl. Scrape down those sides and keep on rollin’.
When it’s time to add the last egg, the recipe asks us to also toss in 2 to 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture that we set aside earlier. I chose to add in 3 tablespoons. Beat to combine. Chef Born warns us that the batter might look a bit curdled, but fear not; just turn on the mixer and keep it going for 3 or 4 minutes or until things are a bit fluffy again.
At this point, we fold the rest of the flour mixture into the wet ingredients using a spatula.
Once the flour mixture is completely worked into the batter, using your spatula, fold in that glorious cup of semisweet chocolate chips. And toss a few of those chips into your mouth. It’s the weekend. We all deserve chocolate.
We can’t very well make crumbcakes without the crumbs, so let’s turn our attention to the crumbs that will crown the top of the our lemony and chocolatey little cakes.
The recipe states that our first step in creating the crumb topping is to combine the remaining 1/4 cup sugar along with 2 tablespoons butter and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. At this point, I read and reread the recipe several times to ensure that I wasn’t missing something, and I wasn’t. So far, we’ve used only 1 cup of the 1 1/2 cups of sugar required for the recipe, so the remaining amount should be half a cup, not a quarter. That being said, I stuck with a quarter of a cup just in case.
Once the crumb mixture is looking like, well, crumbs, add in 1/2 cup of flour and mix until crumbly.
Spread the batter into your prepared pans and even things off.
Top the batter-filled pans with the crumb mixture, and pop those babies into the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cakes comes out clean.
When my crumbcakes came out of the oven, they looked sooo good. Alas, looks can be deceiving.
Have you ever played Mario Kart? Remember the race course called Dry Dry Desert? Yep. I had my very own dry, dry desert happening. Or maybe it was dry, dry dessert. Ahem.
I had checked the cakes five minutes before the recipe’s minimum baking time, and the toothpick did not come out clean. So, I set the timer for 5 more minutes. At the 35 minute mark, the toothpick again did not come out clean. Five more minutes was added to the timer, and, after 40 minutes, the toothpick finally came out clean. And while things looked amazing on the outside, the inside was dry. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a baked good that was so devoid of moisture. It was just like those cacti in Mario Kart: cute, but so very bad. It was the strangest thing.
So, late last night after helping to cover the first day of Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts, I remade the recipe in an attempt to try to get the crumbcake to be a bit more on the moist side of things. I pulled the cake out of the oven at the 35 minute mark regardless of whether or not the toothpick came out clean. The result was a less-golden crumb topping, and a slightly under-baked cake.
I liked the texture of the second cake more, but it was clearly not what it was intended to be. It’s a mystery.
I’m left wondering if perhaps doing the whole thing over but using all-purpose flour instead would help. Or perhaps adding more chocolate chips and butter would be a good thing (that’s always the correct answer in my book).
Nonetheless, it was fun to make the crumbcakes, and I’ll definitely try a bit more of the under-baked version with a cup of coffee this morning. The lemon and chocolate combo was an interesting one. I’m okay with the two separately, and the mixture of the two was okay, but I might omit the lemon next time.
If you have ideas about how to make the crumbcakes less dry, please let me know in the comments section below. I’m sure that we can figure this out together. #teamwork
What are you baking up these days? Please let me know. Whatever you have planned this weekend, I hope that it adds up to be a good one. You’ve got this.
Ready to give Chef Born’s crumbcakes a try? The recipe is below:
Chocolate Chip Crumbcakes
Makes three 3-inch by 5-inch loaves.
- 1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons sifted cake flour
- 1 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease and flour three 3-inch by 5-inch mini loaf pans.
- In a medium bowl, combine 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cake flour with the cornstarch and baking powder.
- In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat 1 cup sugar, 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and the lemon extract for about 5 minutes, or until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, and adding 2 to 3 tablespoons of the flour mixture with the last egg; the mixture may seem curdled. Beat for 3 or 4 minutes, or until creamy again.
- With a rubber spatula, fold in the remaining flour mixture until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips.
- In a small bowl, with a fork, mix together the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons butter, and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour and mix until crumbly.
- Fill the prepared loaf pans with the crumb cake batter and sprinkle the crumb mixture over the top.
- Bake the crumb cakes for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the middle of the cake springs back when touched lightly or a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Disney Institute Tip: If lemon and chocolate is not your favorite flavor combination, feel free to omit the lemon extract. If you do use it, use the real thing, not an imitation extract.