Friday, March 15, 2013
Miss DeBoth's Peanut Butter Streusel
This is one of my favorite vintage cookbooks, and the only one I own that was autographed by the author, too. It was published in 1936. Jessie Marie DeBoth was a very prolific cookbook author and "homemaking expert" who also ran a travelling cooking school. In a 1939 interview in the Spokane Daily Chronicle, she promises that her class will "demonstrate party suppers that look so good, taste so good, and are so easy to prepare that women attending the school will be tempted to run right out and throw a party."
Miss DeBoth was keen on cooking innovations, so I think that she would approve of using powdered peanut butter in her Peanut Butter Streusel Cake, which is in Food For Family Company and Crowd. As a matter of fact, powdered peanut butter is even better than regular peanut butter for making a streusel topping, because you want it to have a crumbly texture. Streusel is generally only made slightly moist with the inclusion of butter.
DeBoth suggests using a Two-Egg Cake for the base of your streusel cake; this is a fairly standard yellow cake; you could use any plain cake recipe you like. Here is her recipe for Peanut Butter Streusel:
PEANUT STREUSEL CAKE
Use brown sugar instead of white. To Two-Egg Cake recipe add 1/2 tsp cinnamon and 1/2 tsp. nutmeg. Pour batter into greased square cake pans, cover with Peanut Streusel Topping and bake in moderate 350 oven about 25 minutes.
Peanut Streusel Topping: Mix 1/4 cup peanut butter and 1/2 cup sugar until granular, sprinkle on cake before baking.
If you use powdered peanut butter, you can definitely make a more complex, traditional streusel that incorporates chopped nuts (maybe even peanuts) and butter - I think it would work really well; the texture would be better, too. In fact, you could use powdered peanut butter in any recipe calling for cocoa powder (substituting it, for example, for some of the flour in a cake recipe to flavor the cake). If I make this, maybe I will (like Miss DeBoth's eager students) be inspired to "run right out and throw a party." I had better run right out and buy some powdered peanut butter first, though.