In my opinion there is a giant misunderstanding about pregnancy cravings. I went into pregnancy with the assumption that I should stack jars of pickles next to my prenatal vitamins and cartons of ice cream next to the frozen spinach. As it turns out I didn't want pickles, ice cream, or spinach, and prenatal vitamins made me gag. So, yes, I'm going to go ahead and say, that for me, it was much more about things I didn't want to eat than the things I did, especially during the first few months.
If it was a color of the rainbow I didn't want to eat it. If it was once alive - four legs, two legs, fins - I didn't want to eat it. If it grew in the ground or up in a tree I didn't want to eat it, unless of course you count the tomatoes that went into the thin layer of sauce between the doughy crust and gooey cheese of my twice weekly pizza. Basically if it wasn't white or a cracker I didn't want to eat it.
My diet was bleak and bland. I hate to admit that. I was a healthy eater before so I figured I'd be a healthy eater during. Silly me. I ate what I could, when I could. For the first three months or so I subsisted on toast, oatmeal, cereal, pizza and pasta. I had become a pickier version of my already very picky four year old self.
Maybe pregnancy is like old age, where we revert back to a childlike state (the last time I saw my great grandmother she was eating Coco Puffs), because of the few things I could imagine stomaching - all white foods of course - two where childhood favorites; bagels and Entenmann's crumb coffee cake. I still love bagels, so that wasn't surprising, but Entenmann's coffee cake?
You definitely can't get Entenmann's coffee cake here in Zurich. And I definitely wasn't going to rush to the grocery store and into the kitchen to make it. So I did without. I did without Bagels too, because although you can find the odd bagel around town, they just aren't that good.
Even though I'm back to eating all colors of the rainbow, I knew one of my first just-for-fun cooking projects would be to try and replicate Entenmann's crumb cake in my own kitchen. Thankfully Cooks Illustrated tackled the recipe a few years ago with promising results of thick buttery crumbs floating on soft yellow cake. This is not health food, I know, but I felt it was my duty as a pregnant woman to satisfy one of the only cravings I've had. And satisfy the craving it did. I can't say it tastes like the original, because it's been so long since I've had the original that I honestly can't remember what it tastes like. But if you are craving a fluffy cake covered in a dense crumb layer then this will definitely do it for you.
Entenmanns' New York Style Crumb Cake
from Cooks Illustrated
*the key ingredient in this cake is cake flour. If you try and substitute all purpose flour your cake will come out dense and your crumb dry. If you don't want to buy cake flour or can't find it (we don't have it here in Zurich) then for every 1 cup of cake flour substitute 3/4 cup sifted all purpose + 2 Tbsp corn starch (a little mental math exercise). Sift the flour-corn starch mixture together at least 5 times to mix it and aerate it.
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp table salt
1 stick butter, melted but still warm
1 3/4 cup cake flour (7 oz) *
1 1/4 cup cake flour (5 oz) *
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces, soft, but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
Make the topping by combining the sugars, salt, cinnamon and melted butter in a bowl. Stir in the flour and continue stirring until you have a thick crumb mixture. Set aside, and let cool to room temperature for at least 10-15 minutes
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and sides of an 8x8 baking dish (I used a 9x7). Butter the dish and then put the parchment paper in.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour, salt, sugar, baking soda and salt on low speed until combined. With the mixer still on low add in the chunks of butter one at a time and mix until there are no large pieces and the mixture resembles a coarse crumb. Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk and beat on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about a minute or two.
Scrap the batter in your baking dish and top with an even layer of the crumb mixture. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a knife/wooden skewer comes out clean. Let it cool on a wire wrack for 30 minutes. Eat and enjoy!
Baked oatmeal as recommended by Ali and Amy
Speaking of Ali and Amy, I want to make Ali's Lamp Chops and Amy's Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Darcy's roasted vegetable salad with honey dressing sounds amazing
The tomato and sourdough soup, also from Jerusalem, that Jess made sounds absolutely delicious.
These onion and potato pierogis, and I should probably also get the cookbook
I hope everyone had a nice weekend. It was sunny and beautiful here, which after a long, very grey winter was amazing. It looks like today is going to be even nicer. Time to head outside and take advantage because as the Swiss like to tell you, just because it's warm today, doesn't mean it won't snow tomorrow.