Philosophizing About Food With Francine: Streusel Cake and Recipe


by Francine Black

A taste of fall: cinnamon pecan streusel sour cream Bundt cake. We’ve enjoyed this lovely cake with a hot steamy latte or a mug of hot cider from Bauman’s and it’s a perfect treat along with a cozy blanket and a good book. 

That crunchy topping is actually the bottom of the cake and running through the middle is an another luscious layer of streusel. Originally, streusel Kuchen or crumb cake was a yeast dough covered with crumbles made of sugar, butter and flour. 

I can remember eating this in my Alsatian grandmere’s kitchen way back in the late 1940’s. She would roll her tender brioche dough out thinly like a pizza, sprinkle streusel all over it, and then she’d bake it into a large round golden cake in the oven of her wood burning stove (which was the house’s only source of heat). The cake was absolutely delicious! 

Streusel seems to have originated in Silesia and has been most popular in German, Polish, and Ashkenazi Jewish cuisines. As is so often the case, home cooks and chefs used their creative spirits to expand and adapt so that now we find crumb toppings in use both in sweet and savory dishes. 

Traditionally, the fall is a time we associate with the warm, homey scents of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom so it’s no wonder that these spices can find their way into streusels. For our cake, we chose to use just the cinnamon. 

One more addition to our list of comfort foods, this cake is worth sharing with your family and friends. Warm wishes to you, dear friends!

The Recipe

In case anyone would like the streusel cake recipe:

*use unsalted butter throughout and for the cake, use room temp ingredients.


Crumble together well;  1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup flour, 1 cup brown sugar, 2 tsp ground cinnamon, pinch of salt, 1 stick cold cubed butter, then set aside.

Butter bundt pan - set oven at 350F


Beat together 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup light brown sugar. 

When fluffy, add 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating very well after. each addition. 

Beat in 2tsp vanilla and 1 1/2 cups full fat sour cream.

Sift together 2 1/2 c flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt. 

Add gradually to batter, stirring gently with whisk until no trace of flour remains. 

Don’t beat or the cake will be tough.

Sprinkle 1/2 of the streusel into the bottom of the prepared bundt pan. Add 1/2 of the batter over streusel. Then add the remaining streusel over that and then fill with remaining batter, smoothing the top.

Bake for 1 hour 10 minutes (my oven time) at 350F. Check with tester at 1 hour, and bake until til no wet batter remains. Cool in bundt pan 15 minutes before unmolding onto serving plate to cool the rest of the way.

I hope you enjoy this!

High in the mountains above Bally, where the dense groves of treetops seem to touch the sky, is Francine Black, Boyertown’s own version of chef Julia Child. Her daily activities reflect the things she most values: family and friends, music, and lovingly prepared food.

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