Wednesday, July 11, 2007

silicone & crumbs

until a few years back, all baking implements such as cake and pie pans were usually only ever made of either glass or metal. both materials have their own unique properties and virtues when it comes to baking and these old standards have always worked fine. things change, however. people are always looking for new and better ways and over the past several years, a new material made its way into our homes.

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.

cake ingredients:

2 c all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
3/4 c sugar

2 eggs
1/2 c vegetable oil
1/2 c water or apple juice or orange juice or soy milk
2 tsp vanilla extract

crumb topping:

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.

for cake:

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.



Zofia said...

I think you forgot the eggs?

burekaboy — said...

hey zofia - LOL, i think you would be right about that!

it's fixed now; everything else is correct. thanks for noticing and letting me know!

Emily DeVoto, Ph.D., said...

Looks yummy but would be extra yummy with a cup of wild blueberries in it!

I have been using these cool silicone bowl covers that stretch to form an airtight seal on a bowl. They get a little dusty because of the sticky surface, so I just wash them off before using. Oh, and I have a reusable silicone parchment thingie on which I roll out dough; haven't tried it in the oven yet.

burekaboy — said...

em - yup, the small wild ones are the best :)

that's one thing i don't like about silicone -- and if you don't use your things often it feels sticky and gross until you wash it.

been wanting those silicone covers myself -- would save on wasting plastic wrap. the mats are great for oven use, btw. they're a bit of a pain to wash though as they aren't rigid like the tray is.

TopChamp said...

I have heard of these mats, but don't know anyone who has one.

Hope you had a nice break. This picture was taken at my cousin's wedding! It was a bit windy.

Vcuisine said...

A very spongy BB. But most of the items I could not try because of Egg :) I just love that piece of cake. Viji

burekaboy — said...

TC - as with all breaks, they always go by way too quickly :|

LOL, it does look just 'a bit' windy from that picture! silicone mats are like cell phones in a way, they make life easier but we've lived without them before; any baking tray [with parchment] does the same thing.

viji - i know how you feel; there are quite a few things i can't try that i'd like to -- guess we just have to find a way around it! at least, we can still look at things and enjoy them with our eyes and save on calories :)

Taste of Mysore said...

Hi BB, Cake looks yummy...licious. Cant say anything more...its perfect!

burekaboy — said...

hi there lakshmi - thanks for the nice compliment :)) it tasted good indeed, especially the top part :D