A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I had plans to go sledding with friends, and I wanted to bake something to bring. “I’m in the mood for cinnamon coffee cake,” the thirteen year old said, and since I am nothing if not easily influenced, suddenly *I* was in the mood for it, too. I started imagining the cinnamon-y streusel-y goodness that is our simple go-to recipe, my tongue already aching for a taste…and then I imagined the plates and forks that we would have to bring to eat it.
Cue sad trombone. *womp womp* I didn’t want to bring extra stuff with us.
What I wanted, but didn’t have, was a cinnamon-streusel-coffee-cake-like thing that could be hand-held like a brownie or cookie. Something you could easily pick up a piece of without hunks of it falling off and leaving a mess of cakey crumbs all over the floor.
Something like a quick bread with a cinnamon streusel swirl and maybe—just MAYBE—a crumb layer on top?
You guys, I got hearts in my eyes at that idea. HEARTS. And I don’t want to be all dramatic and say angels sang as the sun suddenly broke through the clouds and shined brightly on me at the moment of inspiration…but that is TOTALLY what happened. (I mean, probably.)
So I got out my trusty quick bread recipe as well as my cinnamon streusel coffee cake recipe, and did a quick search online for how to make crumb topping. A little math here, a little math there to guesstimate how much streusel and how much crumb I’d need for a loaf, hemming and hawing about whether the streusel should be layered in the middle of the batter or just sprinkled on top, and I gave it a go.
The first try was not *entirely* successful. Sure, it was tasty (I mean, hello sugar and cinnamon) but it wasn’t quite what I was going for. Not enough streusel or crumb, too much bread, and the crumb got overbaked. Our friends enjoyed it in between sledding runs, there were no leftovers to bring back, and I couldn’t stay out of the second loaf we had at home, so at least I knew I was on the right track.
With this first attempt, I also realized that this would be one of the few times I’d bake with parchment paper because trying to get the bread out of the pan without losing all the crumb topping (from all the banging on the sides of I had to do to loosen the loaf from the pan) was, shall we say, abitof a challenge. In general, I don’t bake with parchment simply because it feels wasteful to me—I don’t want to add to landfills in order to not have to wash a pan. But there are a handful of recipes I use it for (including thosecrazy-delicious beer browniesand my favorite graham crackers, which I will definitely be sharing here).
Back to the kitchen.
The second try was MUCH improved. Shorter bread, more streusel, and I waited to add the crumb until it was halfway through baking. The only thing I wasn’t sure I loooooved was that the streusel congregated in the middle of the bread, creating a tunnel of streusel through the center, despite the fact that I’d spread it evenly on top. Not necessarily abadthing, but with the crumb topping right above it, there was a concentration of sugar all in one place, and I would have preferred it spread out a little better.
Aaaaaand back to the kitchen again.
The third try really was the charm. In an effort to spread out the streusel, after I sprinkled it on top of the batter, I ran a knife through the batter, swirling it back and forth to drag some of the sweet bits under (like you’d do to create a marble effect with two different batters). And when I sliced into the cooled bread, the streusel had spread out all the way across the bottom of the bread. I ended up liking this result the best because there was a sweet streusel layer at the bottom and a sweet crumb layer on top, making very bite laced with a little something special.
There is one BIG problem with this sweet, dangerously delicious cinnamon-y concoction, though—I can’t have it in the house because it is TOO scrumptious. TOO delectable. TOO tempting. Either I need to make it sparingly and only when lots of people are around or I’m gonna have to get me some stretchy pants.
If this sounds good to you, you’ll also like Bec’sYogurt Apple Cake with Buttered Cinnamon Brown Sugar!
- 1/2cupbrown sugar, packed
- 1/4cupall purpose flour
- 1/4cupbutter, softened
- 1 1/3cupsall purpose flour
- 1/4cupbrown sugar, packed
- 1/4cupgranulated sugar
- 1/2cupbutter, softened or melted
Cinnamon Bread Batter
- 3cupsall purpose flour(can substitute 1 cup with whole wheat)
- 1 1/2cupsgranulated sugar
- 1/4cupground flax seed (flax meal)(optional, but good nutritional boost)
- 1Tablespoonbaking powder
- 1/4teaspoonbaking soda
- 1 2/3cupsmilk
- 1/4cupbutter, melted
- 1/2cupground walnuts(optional, but good nutritional boost)
Preheat oven to 350 F / 177 C. Line two regular size bread pans with parchment and spray lightly with oil.
Using a fork, combine streusel ingredients until well mixed and crumbly. In a separate bowl, do the same with the crumb topping ingredients. Set both aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients except walnuts. Melt the butter in a glass measuring cup, then whisk in the egg. Add milk and vanilla, then pour into mixing bowl and mix until all ingredients are just combined. Fold in nuts.
Divide the batter equally between the two prepared bread pans, then sprinkle half the streusel mixture onto each loaf. Gently drag a knife through the batter, swirling it from side to side to drag some of the streusel crumbs down into the batter to ensure more even distribution of the streusel. If you're wanting the tunnel o'streusel, then skip the swirling.
Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven.
When the timer goes off, remove bread from oven and cover each loaf with half of the crumb topping mixture, then quickly place them back in the oven.
Bake for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow to cool for 10-15 minutes in pan, then carefully lift the loaves out of the pans using the parchment. Set them on a cooling rack, and let them cool completely before cutting (if you can stand to wait that long).
Slice and enjoy!