Something interesting happened the other day while I was attending a birthday brunch: I found myself standing next to a group of former East-Coasters. Since I am originally a Jersey girl herself, it was inevitable that the conversation would turn to that age-old question of the relocated: "What do you miss most about the East Coast?". Just as inevitably, many of the things that former East Coasters will miss are food related: Dunkin' Donuts, black and white cookies, decent pizza...and crumb cake.
Really, it surprises me that crumb cake isn't the same phenomenon in the west that it is in the Mid-Atlantic region. While yes, it does exist in Seattle and on the West Coast, rarely is it quite the same as those huge, deli-style hunks, individually wrapped in plastic, that we recall so fondly from the other coast. Moreover, the west coast crumb cake seems to be more like a pound cake with a light layer of brown sugar topping; none of those knobby, walnut-sized, buttery crumbs that we so love.
Happily, a heavenly voice recently called to me (OK, the NPR announcer) with a solution for this heartache: Hahn's Old-Fashioned Cake Company, a Long Island-based company that ships their authentic crumb cakes nationwide. The cake, which starts with a pleasingly yellow butter cake base, bears a sweet burden indeed: a mountaintop of perfect, extra-large brown sugar crumbs, all dusted with sweet powdered sugar. The ratio of cake to crumb is perfect; the taste is even more so. Buttery, dense and with just the right touch of saltiness, these cakes are like a taste of the East Coast, even so far out west.
It's enough to bring a tear to the eye.
Available online at crumbcake.net.