Raspberry Crumb Cake: To be simple

After 13 years with the same desk, two weeks ago, I got a new (used) one.  In a flurry of emails and pickups, I suddenly had a new piece of furniture that needed to go into my office and I had to get rid of an old piece of furniture, my old desk.

My old desk has lived in more places than the average person.  Starting in Denmark, it made its way to Hong Kong, then Seoul, then the Bay Area.  Its life was varied and its journey long, so saying goodbye to this desk wasn’t an easy thing.

Actually, it was a messy thing.  An extremely messy thing.  My old desk had this hutch on it, and what a hutch does is, it allows you to hold on to random things that you will never use, simply because you can tuck it away in a cute little spot on the hutch.  Taking all of the stuff out of the hutch and moving it onto my teaching table so that I could remove my old desk created a pile of nonsense that looked like this.

I know.  It wasn’t cute.  But within that pile of craziness I noticed something.  I didn’t need HALF the stuff that was in there, and the other stuff could be organized and put away in a meaningful manner.  I started a massive purge and in the end, I felt good getting rid of junk that had no place in my life.  I was able to throw away massive piles of paper that I just stored up and didn’t eliminate.  I also found a few things that belonged in Husband’s office upstairs, so it was a relief getting rid of those things.

The purging of my old desk was a metaphor for purging in general.  I’ve been quiet on the blog, more introspective (more tired), working more, and I just felt like simplifying life in general.  I haven’t cooked anything new, preferring to stick to old favorites, eating very simply, or on some occasions, specializing in the crazy leftover consumption that I love to do.  Whatever the case, the office purge inspired me to just simply be simpler.

I had wonderful old friends over today, and normally I’d go all crazy, cooking up some insane storm, but instead decided to go a simple route of Korean tacos with rice.  If you’re thinking – that is crazy, well normally I’d add a potato or macaroni salad to the mix along with some kimchi quesadillas and something else.  I just did the tacos  and decided to finish the meal with a simple crumb cake, using up some yummy organic raspberries that were taking up room in the fridge.  I love the crumb cake because it is simple to make with the mixer, and the crumb topping is easier than frosting and it’s yummy and not fussy in the least.  It comes together quickly and it’s pretty much fool proof.  It’s also a hit with the family, as Husband and Daughters all love this cake.  (Other cakes cause dissension among the masses)

Raspberry Crumb Cake 
(adapted from Martha Stewart Everyday Food June 2008)
Makes 1 8X8 inch square, serving 6 to 8 people

Crumb Topping
Ingredients
6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
½  cup packed light-brown sugar
¼  teaspoon salt
1 cup of all purpose flour

Method
In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter, brown sugar, and  salt; add 1 cup flour, and mix with a fork until large moist crumbs form. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.  (Refrigeration really helps set the crumb topping so that when you go to bake it you get a gorgeous topping and not a bunch of melted stuff.)

Cake
Ingredients
1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon lemon zest
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼   teaspoon salt
½  teaspoon baking powder
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
11 oz fresh raspberries

Method
Preheat oven to 350.   Grease an 8X8 baking pan.
Whisk together remaining flour, baking powder, salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Scrape down sides.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture.

Spread batter evenly in pan and sprinkle with raspberries.  On top of raspberries, sprinkle chilled crumb topping.

Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Cut into 16 squares.

Serve simply.

Printable recipe

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