Intro

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Quite often I break one of the cardinal rules of parenting; “Never wake a sleeping baby.”

After the often drawn out and complicated process of actually getting them to sleep – waking them would be so very wrong. Why would anyone do this?!

Here is why I do it.

Our youngest child came out of the womb as active as a toddler who spent an entire day consuming Pixy Stix. This might have something to do with the fact that he was considerably late to arrive – okay only 5 days overdue but to me it felt like years.

At six weeks he could support all of his weight with his legs. At four months he was scooting. And now at 13 months he is scaling coffee tables, chairs, couches, etc. and then proceeds to dive-bomb off – certain that someone will catch him – and we usually do. His cuddly baby stage lasted all of a week before he was ready to participate in the same activities as his older brother.

While the verdict still is out on if he is our last or if he will be the middle child (with me being the on the defense for the third child) I have clung on to each stage and savored every rare moment I have to just hold him while he still remains somewhat baby-like.

The only time I can do this is while he is sleeping as every other moment of the day he is off and running – trying as he might to completely cover his head with goose eggs.

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I selfishly pluck him from his warm nest of blankets just so I can have a chance to feel his skin as soft as a fresh apricot. His chubby marshmallow-like arms and legs envelop me as I gently tuck his white hair covered head into my neck.

I listen to him breath.

In. Out.

I preserve the moment.

And thank God for another day with him.

Then reluctantly return him to his warm bed so he can continue to sleep peacefully and grow one day further away from being my little baby.

IF he is my last baby (don’t get to excited dear husband – I said IF) then the next time I will have babies in my life will be my grandchildren.

Now I know I am quite young to be imagining life with grand-kids as I am still adjusting and figuring life out with my own children. But I couldn’t help but think about being a grandma who is always pulling something sweet and irresistible out of the oven as I was making this classically flavored cake.

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The smell of my house will be intoxicating – as sweet as cookies and as satisfying as a roast that has been stewing all day in its own juices and those of the surrounding bed of vegetables on which it rests.

Upon leaving one will never be hungry but rather perfectly contented – with an extra serving of leftover dessert just in case the car ride home demands one more nibble of grandma’s Golden Crunch Cake.

I found the recipe for this visions-of-the-future inducing cake in Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book. His own grandma used to make it for him quite often. In fact on one occasion he and his cousins managed to eat the entire cake sending grandma back into the kitchen to whip up another one.

The ingredients in this cake are very common in the baker’s pantry and it whips up in no time – making it the perfect sweet to serve for the unexpected visits from the grandchildren.

The flavor is as comforting as a midnight snuggle from a baby or the smell of grandma’s house. The toffee and nut top layer give way to a subtle white cake. A perfectly rich and sweet afternoon snack that would make the grandkids long for their next visit grandma’s house.

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Golden Crunch Cake

adapted from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book

Makes one 8-inch Square Cake

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

2 tbl. butter, melted

Topping

4 tbl. butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

1/4 tsp. salt

Preparing

Pre-heat oven to 350* Grease an 8-inch square pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs (with a electric or stand mixer) until they are foamy and slightly thickened. This should take about one minute. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add the milk and melted butter and stir until smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake about 25 minutes or until the top springs back when you touch it lightly. Remove from the oven then set to broil while you prepare the topping.

Combine the butter, cream and brown sugar in a saucepan. On medium heat stir until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts and coconut. Spoon the topping over the hot cake and broil until bubbly and dark golden brown. This should take about 2 minutes. Don’t walk away from the cake while broiling as it goes from delicious to disaster in a matter of seconds.

Cool in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. A dollop of whipped cream never hurt anyone – just a thought.

Until I have grandkids of my very own I plan on making and serving this cake to my two (+ ? ) little ones several times throughout their lives. One can never have enough practice (or enough of this delightful cake).

 

Golden Crunch Cake

adapted fromĀ Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book

Makes one 8-inch Square Cake

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 large eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup milk

2 tbl. butter, melted

Topping

4 tbl. butter

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)

1/4 tsp. salt

Preparing

Pre-heat oven to 350* Grease an 8-inch square pan.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

In a medium bowl beat the eggs (with a electric or stand mixer) until they are foamy and slightly thickened. This should take about one minute. Gradually add the sugar while continuing to beat. Add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Add the milk and melted butter and stir until smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake about 25 minutes or until the top springs back when you touch it lightly. Remove from the oven then set to broil while you prepare the topping.

Combine the butter, cream and brown sugar in a saucepan. On medium heat stir until the butter is melted and all the ingredients are well blended. Remove from the heat and stir in the nuts and coconut. Spoon the topping over the hot cake and broil until bubbly and dark golden brown. This should take about 2 minutes. Don’t walk away from the cake while broiling as it goes from delicious to disaster in a matter of seconds.

Cool in the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. A dollop of whipped cream never hurt anyone – just a thought.

Until I have grandkids of my very own I plan on making and serving this cake to my two (+ ? ) little ones several times throughout their lives. One can never have enough practice (or enough of this delightful cake).

24 Responses to “Golden Crunch Cake”

  1. tara

    Oh my dear. I can hear our 1-year-old sleeping just now, and reading this almost brought me to tears. Our sons are cut from the same cloth; second son, overdue, and born without fear. He seemed swaddled for only a blink of an eye, then he was off.
    Thank you for such a wonderful post on Motherhood of little men, and for sharing this gorgeous cake. Coconut and almonds? Sign me up, I’ll be making it soon.

    Reply
  2. Dana

    This post so resonated with me. My baby (I also have 2 boys) is 2 1/4 and seems more and more like a boy and less and less like a baby each day. I peek at him each night in his crib – which he is outgrowing – but can’t bring myself to wake him. I totally understand the desire though!

    Reply
  3. Keren Brown

    I am reading this and putting my cheeks in baby’s pudgy thighs. He is sleeping, I am playing scratch and sniff with this baby skin…
    let’s change that, my 7 month old who was peacefully sleeping is crawling onto my computer and pulling my hair

    Reply
  4. Ivonne

    Oh my gosh! This is unbelievable! A coworker of mine gave me this same book just this week! What a lovely post and even lovelier cake!

    Reply
  5. bluejeangourmet

    the cake & your writing are equally lovely–the former looks so good that I’m mentally assessing whether or not I have the ingredients in the house right now!

    not a Mama yet, but I am a proud godmother & auntie, and sometimes you just need to hold a baby, and smell that baby-head smell, and know that everything is somehow right with the world.

    Reply
  6. bluejeangourmet

    okay, I rarely rush right from reading a blog post to trying the recipe, but in this case I did EXACTLY that. it met my after-dinner craving perfectly, and since we have guests coming in very late tonight, I’m guessing they will enjoy it as well as a decadent breakfast!

    thank you so much.

    Reply
  7. Allison

    This is such a beautiful post. I don’t have children yet but I was able to feel everything you wrote about. And the cake sounds very familar to an Oatmeal Snacking Cake recipe that I found in Cook’s Illustrated. Definately one to be kept for the ages.

    Reply
  8. Isabel

    i am at a starbucks, attempting to do some office-catch up… i’ve just read this post and am on my way home to bake this bad boy up! what i love most is that i’ve got everything it takes in my pantry–that doesn’t always happen. thank you thank you thank you!

    Reply
  9. matt

    LOVE the look of this cake. Fantastic shots, love the old-school look of em, and the fantastic in oven shot! Lovely exposure

    Reply
  10. Jen

    Ashley- This looks fantastic. I can’t wait to try this one, only I’m going to have to wait for it to cool down a bit before I turn on the oven. I love cakes that stand on their own without any need for a frosting.

    Reply
  11. Kathy

    Thx for sharing about your little guys. We have 3 boys–all 3 were born 19 mo. apart, with my oldest just over 3 when the youngest was born. Boys are just delightful and I love, love, love being a ‘boy Mom’! Our 2nd was a bundle of energy like yours. If I described my boys with a color, he would be bright, sunshiny yellow, with a tinge of orange! Lots of energy, always smiling and laughing, playing tricks on his brothers. Thanks to God, he has ‘bookends’ that are calmer!

    Yum about the cake; I am making it first thing in the morning. Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Hina K.

    This was so delicious!!! I got so many compliments =)…I absolutely love your blog!!!

    Reply
  13. Michael Sclafani

    Last night’s North Carolina ruling paired with my own sorrow that I may never have a child has me sitting here literally “ugly crying” over your post. Please promise to love that son no matter who he end up loving in the future. The world will be a better place for it.

    -Michael

    Reply

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