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A twist on a favorite childhood memory

Published August 20. 2014 04:00PM

When I was a kid, if my father wanted to speak disparagingly of someone, he called them a "crumb bum."

This was somewhat confusing for me, a small child, because on Sundays after church, we often went to the bakery where he would purchase an entire box of "crumb bums" and eat them, slathered with butter, much to my mother's chagrin.

My mother, "The World's Greatest Cook," hated butter and used it sparingly, if at all.

In regard to the great butter debate, I took after my father; nothing beats butter.

I eventually figured out that the "crumb bums" and "crumb buns" are not the same; neither are shortening and butter.

This week I'm sharing my mother's recipe for Crumb Cake, but I've made two changes. I substituted dark brown sugar for light brown sugar, because that's what was in the house; and butter for shortening, because ... well ... it's butter! I'm also tweaking the name, in honor of my dad.

Crumb Bum Cake

15-18 servings

2 and one-half cups dark (or light) brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

3 cups flour

One-quarter teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together brown sugar, butter, flour and salt, using clean hands, until mixture resembles crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the crumbs.

Add eggs, milk, vanilla and baking powder. Beat with a mixer until well blended. Spread into prepared pan and top with reserved crumbs. Bake on center rack in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool.

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