Friday, December 20, 2013

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chunk Crumb Cake

This is not a tea cake. This is a deep, dense, baby-gimme-somma-dat coffee cake. It's dense. And deep. I emphasize this, because I don't want complaints about how heavy this is. It's not HEAVY. It's moist, delicious, flavorful, and dense. And unlike in men and souffles, in this cake, that's a great quality.

But why so dense? Well, first of all, the streusel. It's in the middle, it's on top. And no one has ever accused a good streusel of being delicate. So it's not.

Second, there's a lot going on here: peanut butter (dense), bananas (dense), chocolate (dense), and sour cream (dense). Think about it.

Third, I use a deep pan. A real deep pan. Why? Because I didn't have a shallow pan on hand when I was originally developing this recipe, and my chief taster liked it pretty well just this way. And I agreed. So I stuck with it. If you like your crumb cake a little more ladylike, use an 11x7-inch baking dish. I won't judge you. It takes a while to work up to this much badonkadonk.


A couple of words on the actual cake . . .

Regarding streuseling: Don't just sprinkle. Get in there like you mean it. Grab yourself a handful of streusel, make a nice clump, and break it up ~ a little ~ then drop that onto your batter. That's what'll give you those gorgeous take-me-home-to-mama chubs of streusel on your cake.

Regarding flours: I used Hodgson Mill white whole wheat flour for this (and all of my other recipes requiring whole wheat flour). I originally developed this recipe for a contest on their site via my dearly departed baking blog (which is a sad/angry/frustrating story for another day). So I would like to give a shoutout to HM for their consistently good products. I'm a big fan of their white whole wheat and their whole wheat pastry flour, specifically.

And that's it. Go make it. Give yourself plenty of time; it's a big prima donna and it's going to take a while to bake. I'm not exaggerating. If you use the deep pan like I'm telling you to, plan on sticking around for at least an hour and a half. But all feedback so far suggests it's worth it.

Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chunk Crumb Cake

  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
For Streusel:
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 ounces butter, softened
  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9x9-inch glass baking dish with nonstick pan spray and set aside. 
  2. Make Streusel: In a bowl, combine brown sugar,  flours, peanut butter, and butter. Mix with a pastry blender or fingertips until butter and peanut butter are fully integrated.Set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar until light and smooth; add peanut butter and cream until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating to incorporate; add vanilla and scrape down the bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, beating until just combined. Add bananas and sour cream and mix until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.
  5. Pour half the batter into prepared pan. Top with half the streusel. Add remaining batter. Don't worry if the streusel layer isn't covered ~ things will work themselves out. Top with remaining streusel.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees F for 1 hour, then check. If browning fast, cover loosely with a sheet of foil and return to oven. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, check, repeat until a toothpick inserted in the center of the crumb cake comes out clean. 
  7. Let cool on a rack and dust with powdered sugar if you'd like. 

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