photo by voltan1 via getty images

The worst part of coffee cake is the actual cake. Sure, in most situations the cake layer is the object of our affection, but in this scenario all it’s good for is holding up crumb topping. What a tragedy it is when one is served a thick piece of coffee cake that has just a smattering of crumb topping, a disproportionate disaster that can actually turn a person against cake altogether. One can not look like a Greedy Gus and cut off additional slabs just to steal all the crumbs for themselves, nor should they be forced to pick off only the desirable parts lest they dispose of perfectly good cake. This is incredibly silly, and also pretty depressing. Cake always deserves your respect, goshdarnit. 

The solution here is pretty simple: if you only want the crumb topping, then just make the crumb topping. You can sprinkle it on top of yogurt, or cereal, or a big heaping bowl of whipped cream. You can also shove it in a baggie and eat it straight, but then it technically wouldn't be a crumb topping. What is it then? Who cares? We’re making our own rules here. Bet you're kinda angry at yourself for not thinking of this sooner. 

Crumb Topping

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or greased aluminum foil. 

Step 2

Grate the cold butter on the large holes side of a box grater. Using a handheld mixer, combine with the sugar, spice, and salt, adding flour ¼ cup at a time until the mixture forms large crumbs. You might not use all the flour, and that's OK. 

Step 3

Use your hands to sprinkle the crumbs evenly across the sheet pan, and give it a little shake to help separate them. Bake for ten minutes, give another shake, and continue shaking and baking every 5 minutes until the crumb is browned and cooked through to your liking. 

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