Arriving in New York, just outside Bryant Park, our bus was met by Idalia's relatives who were coordinating donation efforts with the Legacy Foundation. Our bus's cargo hold was packed to capacity with bottled water, paper goods, disposable diapers, towels, baby formula, flashlights, and other truly basic necessities. A New York City policeman, who was patrolling the area where our bus stopped to let us off, assisted us in the unloading, and even directed us into forming two "conveyor" lines to facilitate the transfer of materials. He was amazing, and so very helpful. I got a picture of him with our crew, and his smile was as broad as anyone's. He was heard to say, more than once, "This is great!" with such sincerity. It was a privilege to witness this whole process, and it made our trip to the city, as Catherine said, more than a day of indulgence. It really made the whole day much more significant for the students and the rest of us who joined the trip.
|Idalia Sepulveda and Catherine Golden, center|
(and that amazing NYC policeman!)
After the Legacy truck was on its way, we all went our separate ways and agreed to meet at the Snapple Theater at 2:45 pm, for the 3:00 show of The Fantasticks starring Aaron Carter (former teen heart-throb). It was a great musical play, one of the oldest running on Broadway, and a real joy to see. Before the show, Catherine and I trekked over to the Pierpont Morgan Museum for the Beatrix Potter exhibit, which was lovely, followed by a quick lunch in the museum's cafe. Catherine's cousin Karen, who lives in the city, joined us for lunch, as did her former student Phoebe, also a resident, so it was a very social time at the Pierpont Morgan!
As we walked to and from the museum, we were able follow the sidewalk along the Veteran's Day Parade up 5th Avenue. The parade went from 10 am to 3 pm, five hours long! It was a beautiful day, and humbling as young and old military men and women marched in uniform down the avenue. There were bands, flags, and balloons, and you could feel the patriotic spirit of not only those marching but the crowd as well. I'm so glad I got to be there for that.
When the day was almost done and we were about to meet our bus for the ride home, Catherine and I had a little time to relax so we walked around Bryant Park, checking out the merchandise of many of the kiosks that line the walks of that beautiful park. I always check out the baking shops, because it provides inspiration and I get to see what other people are baking. What caught my eye, at more than one, were cellophane-wrapped bricks of New York Style chocolate marble crumb cake. I really stopped to study it, because it's not anything I would ever have thought to do. Crumb cake on its own is almost sacred. Why fool with it? Well, it was a beautiful thing, and I was inspired to make it for myself. That's what I did last night. Here's the recipe I used, based on America's Test Kitchen's highly-rated version with just slight adaptations, and a few photos of the finished product:
NEW YORK STYLE MARBLE CRUMB CAKE
based on America's Test Kitchen's recipe
Oven 326 degrees Farenheit
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)
1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablepsoon milk
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1. FOR THE TOPPING: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.
3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.
4. Transfer 3/4 of the batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. To the remaining batter, mix in 1 tbsp. cocoa powder and 1 tbsp. milk. Drop over plain batter in pan. To combine batters, gently lift and drop batter in pan with a circular motion with a spoon. Then pull a knife through in both directions to marble. Smooth top very gently with a spatula. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar after it's cooled a while. Drizzle with glazes.
Mix enough water (just a bit at a time) with the confectioners sugar to create a smooth flowing glaze, the consistency of Elmer's glue. Use half the glaze to drizzle over dusted crumb cake. To the rest of the glaze, add 1 tbsp. cocoa powder and enough water to get it back to drizzling consistency. Drizzle that over the cake. Let glazes firm up before cutting the cake.