I'm all about convenience when it comes to choosing a grocery store. In Boston, there was one I literally walked through between the indoor track and my apartment, and when I lived near Dupont Circle in DC I shopped mostly at the "Soviet Safeway" that may or may not have food on the shelves at any given time, but it was nearby! Now nowhere is super-convenient, which mostly means that I buy food a lot less frequently...but almost every week I make my way to Trader Joe's in Foggy Bottom, because there are certain things there that I like to buy: tomato and roasted red pepper soup, multigrain hot cereal, frozen in-shell edamame, crunchy salted Valencia peanut butter with roasted flaxseeds, nonfat plain Greek yogurt, and to cap off that super-healthy list: cookie butter.
I said back in August, “I am absolutely never allowed to buy this again.” Clearly I lied, since when Jess came to visit these bars had to happen. And this peanut-butter-textured, ginger/graham-cookie-tasting, spread of awesomeness just took a turn for the better. That’s right – Trader Joe’s now makes it in “crunchy” and my world just exploded.
With cookie butter, streusel, and cream cheese, this cake sounds super decadent, but somehow it’s really not. It’s actually more of a coffee/breakfast cake than a dessert cake and oh dear me it goes soooo well with coffee. Though if you want something more dessert-ish, you could double the cream cheese mixture, double the cookie butter, and double the streusel. Oh holy yum that would be amazing.
I got ambitious and did some fancy swirling to make the cake...but then it all got covered in streusel anyways, so clearly that step was unnecessary. Unless you made this without the streusel...OR you could make lines of streusel (my drug of choice) between the cookie butter and cream cheese so it gets kinda swirled in too? Up to you!
Cookie Butter Cream Cheese Crumb Cake
- ¼ cup canola oil, plus more for pan
- ½ stick unsalted butter, melted.
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons granulated white sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons buttermilk
- 2 ts pure vanilla extract
Crumb Topping Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
- ¾ ts coarse salt
- ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted & cooled
Cream Cheese Ingredients:
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
- 1 large egg yolk
- 4 teaspoons white sugar
- ½ - ¾ cup cookie butter/speculoos spread
- Place rack in center of oven, and heat oven to 350°.
- Lightly butter a 9 x 13 baking pan and dust with flour, and tap to remove excess.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg, butter, buttermilk, canola oil, and vanilla.
- Using a rubber spatula, fold dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) into egg mixture.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan, and set aside. The batter is thick.
- For the cream cheese mixture: Mix all the cream cheese mixture ingredients in a separate bowl until smooth.
- Spread the cream cheese mixture over the bars; I did this in vertical lines in the pan.
- And on the other sides of the cream cheese lines I added in a line of cookie butter.
- If you want slight swirls, take a chopstick and gently swirl the opposite of the lines. This step proved unnecessary since it all got covered in crumbs anyways. Oh well.
- For the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, combine all dry ingredients, pour melted butter over mixture, and toss with a rubber spatula until large crumbs form.
- Cover the cake in crumbs.
- Then transfer pan to oven, and bake for 12 minutes, rotate pan. Then cook another 10- 12 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.
- Check cake at 20-23 minute mark for sure.
- Let cake cook completely before slicing.
- Store in an airtight container.