Grandma's Crumb Cake with Cranberries and Oats

On Sunday, I found an old bag of cranberries buried in my fridge. My high hopes for holiday baking hadn't exactly panned out. Some day I'll make this Cranberry Orange Cornmeal Cake, a recipe I've had bookmarked since 2008. I should have just thrown the whole bag out. I was supposed to be packing snacks for a trip to my cousin's in Connecticut when I found it. Instead, I emptied the cranberries on my kitchen counter and started making a pile of the sad, wrinkly ones. I put those little guys in the garbage and kept the rest.

Inspired by a cranberry buckle from Bklyn Larder that I had on Thanksgiving, I decided to make Grandma's Crumb Cake, an old favorite. Since I was already changing the recipe by adding cranberries, I decided to keep going. I substituted white whole wheat flour, which I only recently discovered after making these cookies for the second time, and for the crumb topping, I used light brown sugar and added oats. I also baked it in a smaller pan to ensure each slice was thick.

By the time the cake was ready, we were rushing to get out the door. I had planned on bringing it to Connecticut, but my hands quickly filled up with birthday presents, a diaper bag, gloves, scarves, hats and other stuff. I knew better than to try and balance a hot cake, too.  Sadly, Grandma's Crumb Cake with Cranberries and Oats would have to wait.

It wasn't until 10pm that I finally had a slice. The cranberries added tart bursts of flavor to each sweet bite, but the white whole wheat flour fell flat. It had made the batter too tough and the cake came out dry. The crumb topping however, was perfect. Each piece was fat and crackly with a golden flavor and the oats made it feel hearty, and slightly healthy. The recipe says to sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar, but since I was rushing by the time it was ready, I skipped this step. The cake was sweet enough and I didn't miss it.

A pint of blueberries has been hanging out in the fridge for the last few days. As long as they don't end up in a smoothie, or a snack trap, I'll be making Grandma's Crumb Cake the old way again soon, with a new twist or two.

Grandma’s Crumb Cake with Cranberries and Oats

Cake ingredients:
¾ cup of sugar
¼ cup butter, softened
1 egg
½ cup milk
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup fresh cranberries, washed and drained

Crumb topping ingredients:
1 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup oats
½ cup butter
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the egg and milk and mix well. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to the sugar mixture. Fold in the cranberries. The mixture will be thick.

To make the topping, thoroughly combine the five ingredients, using your hands to help form big, round crumbs.

Spread the batter in an 8”x 8” x 5” baking pan. Sprinkle on the topping mixture and bake for 35-45 minutes.

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