For the cake batter:
3 cups all-purpose flour
½ tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons butter, softened
1 pound sugar
Scraped seeds from 1½ vanilla beans (or 2 tablespoons vanilla extract)
3½ eggs (see note)
1 ¼ cup best-quality mascarpone
1 ¼ cup crème fraîche.
For the crumb topping:
16 tablespoons butter, softened
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup plus two tablespoons light brown muscovado sugar
¼ cup plus two tablespoons sugar
Scraped seeds from one vanilla bean (or ¾ tablespoon vanilla extract)
1½ tablespoons cinnamon
Pinch of salt.
For the coffee whipped cream:
1 pint heavy cream
¼ cup plus two tablespoons powdered sugar
Scraped seeds from ¼ vanilla bean (or 11/8 teaspoon vanilla extract)
1 tablespoon coffee reduction (see below).
For the coffee reduction:
1 cup corn syrup
2 tablespoons ground espresso
2 tablespoons water.
Make the batter:
1. Sift dry ingredients together. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream softened butter on medium speed. Gradually add the sugar. Add the scraped vanilla seeds (or extract) and blend for 3 minutes. (Make sure not to overmix: incorporating too much air will yield something closer to a soufflé and it will collapse.) Add the eggs, one by one, until incorporated. Lower speed and add sifted dry ingredients 1 cup at a time. Leave the mixer on low speed to gradually incorporate the crème fraîche and mascarpone.
Make the crumb topping:
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream softened butter on medium speed. Gradually add the sugars, followed by vanilla seeds or extract. Lower speed and add cinnamon and salt, then, 1 cup at a time, the flour, until ingredients have combined to form crumbly, moist dough.
Make the coffee reduction:
Bring all 3 ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture reaches 115 degrees. Let cool.
Make the whipped cream:
Do it the Maida Heatter way, using a bowl that has been chilled in the freezer. With a hand mixer or the wire whip attachment of a stand mixer, whip the cream, sugar, vanilla and coffee reduction until the cream holds its shape.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch stainless-steel brownie pan. (You can use a glass baking dish of the same size, but don’t butter or spray it.) Pour the batter into the pan; it should reach halfway to the top. Gently scatter the crumble mixture over the batter; to account for rising, make sure not to fill the pan up to the top — 3/4 full is enough. Bake 40-45 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out dry (check at 35 minutes to be safe). Let cool on a rack. Once the cake is cool, dust with powdered sugar and a pinch of cinnamon. Serve with coffee whipped cream. Serves 10.
Note: For the ½ egg, give it a quick whisk, then pour half of the liquid into the mixing bowl. Save the other half for the scrambled eggs you might decide to make while you’re waiting for the cake to bake.
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