I think the first time I saw or even heard of Johnny Iuzzini was when he was a judge on Top Chef. To me, there isn’t anything much cooler than a motorcycle riding, modern-day Elvis looking guy with tattoos who also happens to be a pastry chef. Super cool! I saw Johnny wrote a new book, Sugar Rush, but unfortunately, I was not able to cross it off my Christmas wish list. Luckily I came across this crumb cake recipe from his book, so I thought I would try a recipe before I bought it. Since it will probably be a long time before I get to taste one of his actual desserts, making one of Johnny’s recipes is the next best thing. And, crumb cake is a perfect place to start because everyone in my family loves coffee cake. What I love about this recipe is that as a pastry chef, besides the traditional measurements, all the ingredients are given by weight. Baking is about being precise and if you say you aren’t a baker, this is the way to get good results every time as long as you have a good, reliable recipe. No measuring cups are needed, you just keep adding ingredients and zeroing out the scale for each new ingredient. I had my scale for like a year before I used it because for some reason, even as a pharmacist, using it was intimidating probably because it was just different from what I was used to. But now, if there are weight measurements, I use them. You won’t believe the difference.
A few notes about this recipe. First, the batter barely covers the pan. I checked the pan size like five times, but it is 13×9. I was worried that I would have a really short cake. Second, the crumb is very wet and heavy and there is a ton of it compared to the cake. Given those two things, I didn’t think there was any way this recipe would work out. But, I knew I measured everything correctly, so I put it in the oven and crossed my fingers. I was pleasantly surprised to see how much the cake rose. The cake is really fluffy and light, compared to some crumb cakes that can be a little dense. The crumb gets really crunchy on top, providing a perfect texture contrast to the cake. Honestly, no joke, this one of the best crumb cakes I ever had.