Friday, December 2, 2011

eggnog buckwheat crumble cake

If your first thought was that this looks like a gooey mess, you're right. It is a gooey mess. It's still a gooey mess in my kitchen. Cake is another one of those things that I struggle to photograph well. When it looks like "an undercooked hamburger," that makes it more difficult. Lesson One: to minimize hamburgerness, don't make this cake in a round pan. Use the suggested 9x13 pan. In any case, I have a lot to learn about photographing things that don't look as appealing as they taste. Some people can make anything look good. I'm not one of those people. YET.

I was inspired to make this a week ago or so when I read Jessica's post at How Sweet It Is. That cake entered my brain and never left. So today, on the heels of the beet cake failure, I did something about it.

My intent was to make the recipe as written (with my usual sugar alterations - for someone with a penchant for desserts, I have a low tolerance for sugar). When I went to get my whole wheat flour from the cupboard, I saw my bag of buckwheat flour and, I swear to you, it looked up at me saying, 'pick me! pick me!'. So I did, with absolutely no knowledge as to whether using buckwheat flour requires any other special alterations. Luckily, it worked just as well (if not better!) and gave the cake this wonderful earthy, nutty flavour which complimented the eggnog and spices. It also rocked the texture of the crumble topping.

Buckwheat flour in your cake. Do it now. You know you want to.

Even with my alterations, I still found the cake to be too sweet for my liking. I am, however, an alien from outer space when it comes to sugar, so you people will probably like it just fine as it is. You may think this cake looks like a lot of work, but if you're in the right mindset, it's not. You can do it fast. The only trouble is that it does create a lot of dishes. However... it was totally worth it. TOTALLY.

eggnog buckwheat crumble cake
Adapted from Eggnog Breakfast Crumble Cake posted by Jessica at How Sweet it Is

crumble topping
1/3 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup eggnog

eggnog glaze
1/3 cup eggnog
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of nutmeg

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease a pan - I used a 9" springform pan, Jessica recommends a 9x13 pan.
  • First make the crumble topping. In a small bowl, melt butter, then add buckwheat flour, brown sugar and cinnamon. Mix and set aside.
  • Now, make your cake. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Set aside. 
  • In a separate medium bowl, combine all purpose flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. 
  • In another medium bowl, melt your butter, then add 1/4 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, vanilla and eggnog. Whisk to combine, then add to your flour mixture. Stir until no more flour patches remain.
  • Pour half your batter into your cake pan, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture, then gently pour in the rest of the batter.  Sprinkle with crumble topping then bake for approximately 35 minutes, or until your cake tester comes out clean (Note: Jessica recommends 30-35 minutes, in my insane oven it took closer to 45 - perhaps this had to do with the buckwheat flour?)
  • While your cake is in the oven, make your glaze. In a small pot, whisk together egg nog, brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla extract and nutmeg over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Let it cook for another minute or two, then take it off the heat.
  • After you take the cake out of the oven, let it sit for about 5 minutes if you've used a springform pan. Run a knife along the edges of the pan and release the cake. Poke roughly 10 evenly distributed holes in the top of your cake with a knife and pour the glaze over, allowing it to soak into the cake. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream - perhaps flavoured with a nice rum or bourbon!

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