Monday, 19 August 2013

Monday Moanings - August 19, 2013

The Book and The Crumb Cake

My write hand has been busy!! I've had to refill my fountain pen three times since last Monday. Yes folks, the mouse trap worked and I've been working on my book (see last Monday's post for details) True to form, I have under-committed and over-delivered on the promise of performance, logging a full 17.5 hours of work on the book (M-F & Saturday and Sunday!). Most of it was actual pen on paper time, but about 6 hours was spent keyboarding, otherwise known as the first edit and revision. I'm impressed! I feel great too! The only problem, if one can call it that, is that I don't want to stop. My mind is writing way ahead of my hand and I'm feeling pressured to keep up. I'm thinking that's a good thing.

The Clan, circa 1900
top row left is my grandfather;
middle row left his father & mother
Today I am taking a break, despite the protestations of my inner critic. Clearly this gal does not approve of days off. Well suck it up buttercup! There's a gathering of the clan out at my sister's today, something billed as "THE Party of the season". Cousins from across the pond have arrived and we're celebrating as only the Cudbird-Vassar clan can. True to my late mother's form, there will be a table, or three?, laden with comestibles, including Mom's recipes for potato salad, New York Cheesecake and Ebinger's Crumb Cake.

Back in my childhood summers at Breezy Point, seeing a cake box from Ebinger's Baking Company in the hands of my Great Aunt Lilian as she got off the ferry from a day in the city, was always a a thrill. The distinctive box held the promise of a scrumptious dessert, and if by chance it was a crumb cake, well then, heaven came to mind. It wasn't so much the cake as it was the crumbs; those icing sugar dusted morsels of butter, sugar and flour with just a hint of cinnamon. AND I have the recipe!

In 1957 Mom wrote to Ebinger's in Brooklyn, NY to ask if she might have the recipe as her family lived in Canada and for eleven months of the year had to do without THE crumb cake (some years later Entenmann's made a crumb cake that was available here, but it just wasn't the same...). The Vice-President of the bakery replied to Mom, "I can sympathize with you since I have a summer home in the province of Quebec and face the same problem you do." He went on to outline the ingredients and instructions.

I note that he left out the dusting of icing sugar, but based on the many times I have made this gem, that's all he left out. It does indeed taste just like way back when, only better because now in addition to being a treat for taste buds and tummies, it excites happy memories of the crumb fights my two sisters and I had over the last morsels in the box. The recipe says, "...sprinkle on desired amount of crumb mixture". I asked my younger sister how much 'a desired amount' might be. She answered, "6 to 8 inches."  Good thing I made a double batch of crumbs this time, and don't worry girls, today I've got extra crumbs for both of you - but I've got the most!

Time to push off.
Wherever you are, have a great ride this week.

The Crumb Cake


  1. i guess it's an American thing...i have never had crumb cake, not seen it in the stores or bakeries ....but then, i have never had a cannolli either...shessh!! deprived or what? :)
    .. i love one in our family has taken up the job...our family is fading away as each parent dies...soo glad you are keepin the traditions...CAKE'N'ALL!! :)

  2. Writing, relatives and crumb cake. I'm impressed.