after the introduction of the silpat baking mat to the non professional world (i.e. consumers market) and its eventual enormous growth in popularity amongst homebakers, the new craze in the baking world became all things silicone. on one hand, i have to say, i love my silpat and have the original (french version) in both sizes [large and small] and wouldn't do with out them. they are easy to use and save on wasting money on parchment paper and tin foil. on the other hand, i've looked at silicone pans with a suspicious eye. they looked flimsy and spineless to me and, well, didn't have the same appeal of a sturdy & reliable metal one.
last year, i received a gift of a bright orange square silicone pan, 9" x 9". i thanked the person who gave it to me and placed it away in the cupboard thinking i'd never use it as it flopped around in my hands, envisioning imminent disasters of batter spilling everywhere as i transfered it to the oven!
it came to be that i did finally use it, many months later, when i made the following cake. i had no choice as i didn't have another 9 x 9 one :o i have to say it worked very well but the only thing i didn't like was that it felt unstable once it was filled with cake batter. i transfered it to the oven with much trepidation; next time, it goes on a baking sheet to make the trip back and forth easier. of course, they don't tell you this on the packaging.....
the following cake is a plain "coffee cake" which takes very little time to throw together and uses everyday pantry items. it is also known as a crumb cake because of the topping. it's great for snacking or having something informal for when guests stop by for that coffee or tea visit.
plain coffee "crumb" cake
this cake was always made without any dairy products so it could be eaten at any meal or time of the day. you can, of course, use milk and butter in it also. if you like, add in approximately 1 c of frozen or fresh blueberries or a 1/2 c of chopped frozen cranberries for a different twist. this is also excellent with a layer of apples, either fresh or using pie filling.
2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water or apple juice or orange juice or soy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c brown sugar, packed
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp margarine
1 tsp cinnamon
1 - 2 tsp margarine, for coating pan
make crumb topping first. mix all together and crumble it together with your fingers until it makes small clumps and is coarsely held together. set aside.
preheat oven to 350F. grease a 9" x 9" pan.
in a large bowl, mix all dry ingredients together for batter.
mix all wet ingredients together in another bowl.
add wet ingredients to the dry and mix with a spoon. it may seem a bit "gloppy" but that is the right texture. if using blueberries or cranberries, add them now.
place the batter into the greased pan.
scatter the topping evenly over the cake and bake it for approximately 35 minutes.
remove and cool completely before eating.
* the cake may have a bit of an "eggy" taste until it has cooled completely. it tastes better the next day;
* don't cover the cake until it has cooled completely or the crumb topping will go soft;
*these can also be made individually in cupcake molds to yield individual little cakes.