What Happens When You Make a Cake Like a Scone?: Cranberry and Candied Ginger Buckle

I can't remember where I came across the recipe for a "Cranberry and Candied Ginger Buckle" from Milk Street, but I love candied ginger in basically anything, so I made the buckle back in November when fresh cranberries were plentiful.
The method for this recipe seemed quite unusual to me. It's a butter cake but you don't use the creaming method to make the batter. Instead, you use the food processor to cut the cold butter into the dry ingredients. You pulse cold cubed butter with flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the food processor (I added a little extra salt because I was using unsalted butter instead of salted); take out all but 165 grams of the resulting crumb mixture and put it in a large bowl (the portion you take out will be used for the cake; the portion still in the food processor will be used for the crumb topping); and pulse brown sugar, sliced almonds, and more cold cubed butter into the crumbs in the food processor to complete the topping. 

To finish the batter, you whisk together eggs, sour cream, and vanilla; add the mixture to the reserved flour-sugar-butter crumbs in the large bowl; and fold in cranberries and diced candied ginger. I could see small butter clumps in the finished batter, which I spread into a parchment-lined pan. Then I sprinkled the crumb topping over the batter and baked the cake until golden.
This cake looked good when I sliced it, with each slice filled with a generous amount of ginger and cranberries. But when I took a bite, I thought the cake was terrible. The texture was dry and crumbly and just awful. It reminded me a bit of the texture of a scone -- which makes a lot of sense, since you also make scones by cutting cold butter into the dry ingredients. But even if I were to consider this a scone, it was a bad scone. The crumb topping was unremarkable.
I couldn't get over how bad the texture was and I would not recommend this recipe to anyone. The recipe headnote says that this recipe is loosely based on a recipe from Rustic Desserts by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson. The original recipe has you cream butter and sugar like any normal person who likes moist cake. It's beyond me why anyone would decide that this food processor method is a good idea, but it's definitely something I'm never doing again.

Recipe: "Cranberry and Candied Ginger Buckle" from Milk Street.


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