I can’t help it, the mall makes me snarky.

Old Timey Crumb Cake

This is a fun breakfast meeting contribution when the majority of your coworkers are dieting. Nothing passes the weekly departmental status update like a game of clock-the-caver, and it’s even more compelling if coordinated around an in-house Weight Watchers meeting. I know it’s not in the spirit of the season to exploit one’s neighbors for personal entertainment, but you’ve worked hard this year, so give yourself a little end-of-year gratification. Would you feel better if I reminded you that your boss will probably get a substantial bonus, in actual money, when we worker bees have been hearing that companies can’t “afford” even annual holiday parties “this year” for a while now? I thought it might.

Cake:
1 C flour
1/2 C sugar
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 C butter, softened
1/2 C whole milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 C raspberry jam

Topping:
3/4 stick butter, softened
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 1/4 C flour

Set your oven to 350 and grease & flour a square 8×8 cake pan. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg, then stir in the vanilla and milk. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and combine well. Use a stand mixer or hand-held to beat the batter on medium-high speed for 3 minutes.

If using a stand mixer, you should be able to complete the topping just in time. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together, then add the brown sugar and mix out the lumps. Combine the flour, spices and salt in a small bowl, then add to the butter and sugar, and stir until all flour is incorporated. If you couldn’t pull it off exactly, don’t let it keep you up too late.

Pour the batter into the pan and level the top with a spatula. Drop spoonfuls of jam onto the batter, spacing evenly over the cake, and swirl them gently with a knife. Distribute the crumb over the jammed cake, and use it all; it should pile high. Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, then check with a wooden pick. If any batter adheres to the pick, give it another 7 minutes and it should be done.

Cool the cake in the pan for half an hour. Cut it into 2″ squares, and seal them into a plastic container until you’ve set the stopwatch.

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