Baking involves plenty of adaptation, based on your creativity, experience, and observations. This lemon crumb coffee cake began with a desire to use up lemon curd in a new way, and involves two adapted recipes; one for lemon coffee cake, and one for a lemon streusel topping.
The cake recipe is adapted from Taste of Home, which used lemon pie filling between two layers of the cake batter instead of lemon curd, and the lemon streusel topping is adapted from King Arthur Flour. While it tastes delicious, this cake definitely needs some further tweaking, for a few reasons. The cake is far more gooey than I expected, likely because of the curd; next time, I’ll either drizzle about 1 cup of curd over the first layer of batter, or leave it out altogether and add some lemon zest and extract to the batter, then serve the cake with lemon curd on the side.
For the streusel:
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3/4 cup chopped pecans
For the cake:
- 2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups lemon curd*
*If making lemon curd from scratch, use this recipe but decrease your quantities by 1/4. You could also decrease the lemon curd to about 1 cup drizzled, rather than spread, over your first layer of batter to yield a less gooey texture when the cake is done.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 cake pan.
Make the streusel: in a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, lemon zest, salt, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans.
For the cake: in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.
In a large bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, and mix until completely smooth. Add flour mixture slowly, stirring to combine completely. Batter will be very thick.
Spoon half of the batter into the baking pan, spreading out to make an even layer.
In a mixer, beat lemon curd for about 1 minute to thin out slightly. Pour over cake batter, then top with remaining batter and smooth out as best you can; this batter is very thick and is a challenge to spread evenly. I ended up swirling it into the lemon curd a bit.
Top with streusel mixture, covering the cake completely.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before serving.
Note: the lemon curd made the center of my cake look under-done, but it was baked all the way through. If you need to bake your cake longer than 35 minutes, cover the top loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.