Monday, May 26, 2008

Streusel Topping

First I must say that I have been quite intrigued with cakes with streusel toppings. After watching Anna Olson bake her Blueberry Buckle, I felt I had enough confidence to eventually try it. It was still among the list of many on the to-bake list. Until I saw HHB's peanut butter chips crumble muffins.

They looked so inviting and the rubbing-in method caught me. I bought this cutter-looking thing which Anna had used on the show. I found it recently and was looking for an opportunity to use it. So I went about happily to get started. I had even put the block of butter in the freezer to keep it hard.

I worked according to the muffin recipe, starting off with the chocolate streusel topping first. I suspected there wasn't enough butter, or it was simply because I wasn't used to using the cutter to "rub-in" the butter. As I couldn't get bread crumb texture, so I started to use my hands. Lo and behold, the butter melted! What a mess that was, I quickly put that into the freezer.

Then I worked on the cake portion. This time, the rubbing-in went well. Could be that I put the butter into the fridge while I weighed the other ingredients. Then it was time to mix the wet and dry ingredients. This was where I encountered problems. Perhaps there was too much liquid, as I had combined the beaten eggs with the milk. I added the liquid slowly and the mixture became pasty. That was when I fumbled and poured the rest of the liquid into the mixing bowl. I had a sticky paste floating in the puddle of liquid. What was I to do? So I tried my best to integrate the two, and "do not overmix" was hanging at the back of my head. I decided to stop when the mixture was no longer two distinct texture, paste in liquid. It was still fairly liquid at that point.

I poured the batter into a loaf pan, as my boy doesn't like individual cakes. (I found out that he was lazy to peel off the layer of paper.) After that I added the chocolate streusel topping, which had hardened nicely in the freezer. I broke them into smaller pieces and laid them on top.

The cake rose to quite a height, and gave off a very chocolatey fragrance. I didn't use any special cocoa powder, just plain old Van Houten. I'm not sure if the gooey texture of the cake (in the mouth) is due to over-mixing. The cake is not dry, but the crust is hard as I had to bake it for almost 45 minutes. I learnt that streusel topping isn't very friendly for whole cakes as the top fell apart when I sliced the cake. Many lessons in bake, next time I would bake this as muffins, definitely.

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