Old-Fashioned Crumb Coffeecake

            Old-Fashioned Crumb Coffeecake
                Serves 8 to 10

This cake is best eaten on the day it is baked, though it may be made a day ahead.  The batter is quite heavy, so you may prefer to beat it with an electric mixer at medium-high speed for a minute or so rather than whisk it by hand.

1 T dry bread crumbs
2 cups flour
1 cup plus 2 T sugar
1 tsp salt
10 T unsalted butter  (1 ¼ sticks), softened by still cool
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¾ cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
¾ cup pecans, chopped fine
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Generously grease the bottom and lightly grease the sides of a 10-inch springform pan.  Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with the bread crumbs, then shake lightly to coat.  Tap out excess crumbs.

Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl until blended.  Add the butter and cut in with the whisk until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Remove 1 cup of the flour mixture to a separate bowl and set aside.

Whisk the baking powder and baking soda into the flour mixture remaining in the mixing bowl.  Add the buttermilk, egg, and vanilla; whisk vigorously until the batter is thick, smooth, fluffy and frosting-like, 1 ½ to 2 minutes.   (I used a mixer for this step)  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.

Add the nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the reserved crumbs of flour, sugar, and butter; toss with a fork or your hands until blended.  Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressing lightly so that they adhere.  Bake the cake until the center is firm and a cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack; remove the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving.  When completely cool, the cake can be slid off the pan bottom onto a serving plate.