New York State of Mind

My somewhat sad little coffee cake!
My somewhat sad little coffee cake!

T minus three days. Knowing that I’m going to run the NYC Marathon once again is completely surreal. Gah! Well, I know I have to make it through the race unscathed before I have the privilege of crossing the Central Park finish line for a third time so I shouldn’t be counting my chickens before they hatch, but (dare I admit this?) there’s a part of me that’s already planning for next year.  I’m nervous of course as the training has been a little rougher on my older–quasi anziana!–bones, so I’m not shooting to finish within a certain amount of time, but simply to finish. I’m literally $349 short of my fundraising goal and am beyond grateful for all of the support that I have received so far. Just in case you think you might be interested in donating to Fred’s Team, you can click here to access my fundraising page! 😉

Anyhoo, all of this New York thinking had brought to mind–what to me is–a New York staple: coffee cake. So much in fact that coffee cake and its crispy, crumbly top consumed my thoughts for four days straight and since a New York style one isn’t easy to come by in Milan, I decided to just make one. As most people usually do when recipe hunting, I consulted my good friend Google and stumbled upon a plethora of coffee cake recipes. I wanted to make them all. The many wild recipes featured versions that call for ginger, glazes, caramel, fruits, nuts and sour cream and more. Sure it would be dreamy to experiment and whip up something adventurous, but it wasn’t so much an issue of ingredients as it was my limited cooking equipment—notably my lack of a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer–that forced me to select a recipe that was suitable for my means of preparation, so I opted for this basic soft-cake coffee cake with a crispy crumb top. Yes, the recipe calls for a mixer but it was among the “simplest” that I had found and seemed the most susceptible to the mixing efforts of a wooden spoon coupled with some good old-fashioned elbow grease.

I know I have previously alluded to my love of crumbs; crumbs, when done right, are just plain glorious. My crumbs turned out awesome if I do say so myself and while the cake itself wasn’t awful, it could have been better. My electricity-less mixing resulted in somewhat of an unbalanced dough so when finished, parts of the cake tasted bland while others were a little more cake-like. I thanked God for the crumbs. They were divine and their crunchy texture, particularly against the blander parts of the cake, salvaged my somewhat sad little coffee cake. As with all of my kitchen (mis)adventures, I chalked this up as a lesson learned and I’ll just aim to do better next time. 😉 Sometimes I think I should just stick to my Madeleines for now so as not to further disappoint myself. Getting these cookie-like cakes just right has been tricky.  At least the recipe calls for wooden-spoon-only mixing (sigh of relief), but it’s always gratifying to attempt something new.


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