Cinnamon Crumb Surprise


This is a wonderful sweet bread recipe that is included in Rose Levy Beranbaum’s book, The Bread Bible published in 2003. The recipe is a bit complex, but the outcome is well worth the effort. The bread is firm, but moist and the crumble topping is a perfect combination of cinnamon, sugar and walnuts.


Crumble Topping

¼ cup brown sugar

1 ½ tablespoon granulated sugar

¾ cup walnuts

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons cake flour

3 tablespoons butter, melted

¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 tart apple, such as Granny Smith

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Cake Batter

1 egg

2 large egg yolks

1/8 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1½ cup cake flour

¾ cup granulated sugar

¼ teaspoon baking powder

3/8 teaspoon baking soda

scant ¼ teaspoon salt

9 tablespoons of softened butter

¼ cup plus, 1/8 cup sour cream


Grease the bottom of a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan and then line the bottom with parchment paper and spray with Baker’s Joy or grease and flour the whole pan. (If using non-stick pan and Baker’s Joy, no parchment is needed).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, thirty minutes before baking and place a rack in the middle level of the oven.

In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, pulse brown sugar, granulated sugar, walnuts and cinnamon until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Reserve ½ cup for the filling. To the remainder, add ¼ cup, plus 2 tablespoons cake flour, 3 tablespoons butter (melted) and ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Pulse briefly, just until the butter is absorbed. Empty the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to firm up, then use your fingertips to form a coarse, crumbly mixture for the topping.

Peel and core a tart apple and cut into ¼ inch slices, toss with 2 teaspoons lemon juice and set aside. In a medium bowl, lightly combine 1 large egg, 2 large egg yolks, 1/8 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

In a mixer bowl, combine 1 ½ cups sifted cake flour, ¾ cup granulated sugar, ¼ teaspoon baking powder, 3/8 teaspoon baking soda and scant ¼ teaspoon salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add 9 tablespoons of softened butter and another ¼ cup, plus 1/8 cup sour cream and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the speed to medium if using a stand mixer or high speed if using a hand-held mixer and beat for 1 minute to aerate and develop the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually, add the egg mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape about 2/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface. Sprinkle with the reserved ½ cup crumb mixture and top with the apple slices, arranging them in two rows of overlapping slices. Drop the remaining batter in large blobs over the fruit and spread it evenly. Sprinkle with the crumb topping.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the bread springs back when pressed lightly in the center (an instant thermometer inserted in the center will read about 200 degrees). Loosely tent loaf pan with buttered foil after 45 minutes to prevent overbrowning.

Remove the bread from the oven and set it on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes. Place a folded kitchen towel on top of flat plate and cover it with plastic wrap. Oil the plastic wrap. Loosen the sides of the bread with a small, metal spatula and invert it onto the plate. Grease a wire rack and reinvert the bread onto it, so that it is right side up. Cool completely about 1 ½ hours, before wrapping airtight.