There are muffins that aspire to be healthful, filled with the likes of whole grains, wheat germ and fruit purée. Then there are rich, chocolate-chip laden muffins that are more like cupcakes in disguise. These muffins fall squarely into that last camp. But they are as tender and buttery as any crumb cake. And like a crumb cake, their nubby, cinnamon-scented crumb topping makes them feel more appropriate for brunch than dessert. This is breakfast food at its most elegant and delicious.
For the crumb topping:
- 255 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 75 grams granulated sugar (about 1/3 cup)
- 105 grams dark brown sugar, lightly packed (about 1/2 cup)
- 6 grams ground cinnamon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
- 1 gram ground allspice (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 1 gram fine sea salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
- 170 grams unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons; 1 1/2 sticks)
For the cake:
- 170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (12 tablespoons; 1 1/2 sticks)
- 200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 325 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
- 10 grams baking powder (about 2 teaspoons)
- 3 grams baking soda (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- 3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
- ½ pint fresh blackberries (or use raspberries, blueberries or diced strawberries)
- Heat oven to 350. Grease or line 24 muffin cups.
- Make the crumb topping: whisk together flour, sugars, spices and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in melted butter and stir until crumbs form.
- Prepare the cake: using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, then scrape down sides of mixer. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and zest.
- In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in berries with a spatula and make sure batter is completely mixed.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling each cup only halfway. Pinch large crumbs from topping mixture and scatter evenly on top of the batter.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until muffins are golden and their centers spring back when very gently pressed with a finger. (A cake tester will come out with crumbs attached, but it shouldn’t be wet.) Transfer muffins to a wire rack. Serve warm or let cool completely and freeze.