Crabby Appletons and Crabapple Coffee Cake

When we were little, my sister and I would sometimes get a bit grumpy.  Our mom would tell us "stop being such a crabby appleton!"  Turns out, that's the name of a 70's rock band.  Never knew that as a kid, but I did know that I hated when my mom called me that because she was usually right.

We also had a gnarly crab apple tree in the front yard that was my climbing tree (because I was very little and so was the tree).  The fruits in that tree were tiny and ornamental, and like most things, I never thought to give them a try.  Now I know better.  Along one of my favorite running paths in Seattle is a gorgeous crabapple tree with enormous fruits, just waiting to be picked.  Sadly, most were slightly out of reach - but I was able to climb the tree (JUST LIKE OLD TIMES!) and reach enough to cook with.

A beautiful day for urban foraging!

A beautiful day for urban foraging!

Crabapples are basically just apples that are smaller than 2" in diameter.  These guys were actually pretty large compared to a lot of the trees I grew up with, and the taste is like a more tart version of an apple.  As long as you're using sugar, you can use these as a substitute for any apple recipe, which is exactly what I wanted to do.

As I'm sure you all are aware, fall is coming into full swing, which means it is finally BAKING SEASON!  And since we were all out of breakfast items in our household, I decided to whip up a crabapple coffee cake.  

Before getting to the recipe, I just have to give mad props to all of you who can wake up in the morning and function properly - this has never been one of my strong points.  Mornings are always a struggle for me (you could say I'm a bit of a crabby appleton in the morning), so trying to experiment with a new recipe was a little rough going at first.  Case in point: I removed the lid from our compost bucket so I could easily drop the empty eggshells into the container (ha! so prepared!).  But then I just cracked the egg into the compost container.  Good lord.

Big sister apple, little sister crabapple.

Big sister apple, little sister crabapple.

Tiny apple, tiny seeds.

Tiny apple, tiny seeds.

That said, it was awesome having some fresh-baked goodies for breakfast on a Sunday morning.  Coffee cake time!

Crabapple Coffee Cake

Recipe Type: Breakfast | Author: Edible Terrain
Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Yield: 8 servings

Coffee Cake

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg (or 2, if you accidentally crack one into the compost)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 tablespoons milk (or milk substitute - we tend to use soy milk around these parts)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup finely chopped crabapples

Topping

  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter, melted
  1. Heat oven to 350.  Grease an 8x8 square pan.
  2. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
  3. In large bowl, beat sugar and butter until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla and blend well.  Alternately add dry ingredients and milk/apple cider vinegar to the mixture, mixing well between each addition.  Fold in crabapples.
  4. Spread batter in pan.
  5. In small bowl, combine topping ingredients.  Drop spoonfuls of the topping on the top of the cake, then use a knife to pull the spoonfuls through and across in a zigzag pattern.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool 10 minutes.
  7. Serve and enjoy while warm!
IMG_3097.JPG