Cinnamon Crumb Surprise
Topped with fragrant cinnamon crumbs, this golden loaf has a hidden treat in the middle: a tart layer of buttery apple slices, nestled inside a layer of cinnamon crumbs. This is a real favorite in our house, perfect with coffee or tea; I also enjoy it with a glass of cold milk.
Pointers For Success:
• It is not necessary to sift the flour if you are weighing it. However, if you measure it, sift it into the cup and then level it off, without shaking or tapping the cup at all.
• It’s fine to use all-purpose flour, which will result in a slightly firmer texture, but it is imperative that it be bleached all-purpose; otherwise, the butter is likely to drop to the bottom, making an unpleasant tasting and rubbery layer.
• It is essential that the oven be hot enough to set the structure quickly to support the crumb topping and keep it from sinking.
The Dough Percentage:
Water: 88.3% (includes the water in the butter and egg whites)
Fat: 38.5% (includes the fat in the egg yolks and sour cream)
Cooking Time50 min
Total Timeunder 2 hours
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursedessert, snack
Dietary Considerationdessert, snack
Mealbreakfast, brunch, dinner, lunch, snack, tea
Taste and Texturebuttery, crisp, fruity, nutty, spiced, sweet
Type of Dishcake, dessert
- ¼ cup/1.25 ounces/36 grams firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1½ tablespoons/0.7 ounces/19.2 grams granulated sugar
- ¾ cup/3 ounces/85 grams walnuts
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup plus/1.75 ounces/50 grams unsifted cake flour
- 3 tablespoons/1.5 ounces/43 grams unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 small tart apple (1 heaping cup slices/4.5 ounces/130 grams)
- 2 teaspoons/8 grams lemon juice
- 1 large egg (3 tablespoons/1.75 ounces/50 grams)
- 2 large egg yolks (2 tablespoons/1 ounce/32 grams)
- ½ cup/4.2 ounces/120 grams sour cream
- 1 teaspoon/4 grams pure vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups/5.3 ounces/150 grams sifted cake flour
- ¾ cup/5.3 ounces/150 grams sugar
- ¼ teaspoon/1.2 grams baking powder
- 3/8 teaspoon/1.8 grams baking soda
- 1/8 plus 1/16 teaspoon (scant ¼ teaspoon)/1.2 grams salt
- 9 tablespoons/4.5 ounces/128 grams unsalted butter, softened
- A heavy-duty stand mixer with paddle attachment or a hand-held mixer
- A 9-by-5-inch loaf pan, bottom greased and lined with parchment, then sprayed with Baker’s Joy or greased and floured (if using a nonstick pan and Baker’s Joy, there is no need to line the pan)
Oven Temperature: 350°F
For Crumb Topping and Filling:
Preheat the oven to 350°F 30 minutes before baking. Have an oven shelf at the middle level.
Make the crumb mixture. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse the sugars, nuts, and cinnamon until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Reserve ½ cup for the filling. Add the flour, butter, and vanilla to the remainder and pulse briefly just until the butter is absorbed. Empty it into a bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm up, then use your fingertips to form a coarse, crumbly mixture for the topping.
Prepare the filling and mix the batter. Just before mixing the batter, peel and core the apple. Cut into ¼-inch-thick slices, and toss with the lemon juice.
In a medium bowl, lightly combine the egg, the yolks, about one fourth of the sour cream, and the vanilla.
In a mixer bowl, or other large bowl, combine the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix on low speed (#2 if using a KitchenAid, with the paddle attachment) for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and the remaining sour cream and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium if using a stand mixer (#4 KitchenAid), or high speed if using a hand-held mixer, and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
Fill the pan. Scrape about two-thirds of the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface. Sprinkle with the reserved ½ cup crumb mixture and top with the apple slices, arranging them in two rows of overlapping slices. Drop the reserved batter in large blobs over the fruit and spread it evenly, preferably with a small offset spatula. (The batter will be ¾ inch from the top of the pan.) Sprinkle with the crumb topping.
Bake the bread. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the bread springs back when pressed lightly in the center (an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will read about 200°F). Tent loosely with buttered foil after 45 minutes to prevent overbrowning.
Cool the bread. Remove the bread from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Place a folded kitchen towel on top of a flat plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Oil the plastic wrap. Loosen the sides of the bread with a small metal spatula, and invert it onto the plate. Grease a wire rack and reinvert the bread onto it, so that it is right side up. Cool completely, about 1½ hours, before wrapping airtight.
2003 Rose Levy Beranbaum