Reading baking books and trying out recipes is how I meditate.

But lately my weeknights are too busy to get anything going in the kitchen except dinner, and sometimes even that’s a stretch. So whenever I stumble onto a recipe for something completely awesome I save it in my weekend file.

I love serving up some fresh baked sweets on a weekend morning. My kids dig it, of course, but my reasons are actually selfish. Morning baking helps me set the weekends apart from the workdays, and reminds me to slow my roll and have some fun, dishes be damned.

My go-to cookbook for blissful browsing is “Milkbar” by Christina Tosi, founder and badass head baker of Brooklyn baked goods mecca Momofuku Milkbar. She is the genius behind the concept of “the crunch” – her name for the various salty/sweet buttery mixtures she uses for everything from cake layers to pie crusts.

When I bought the book I immediately became obsessed with the Cornflake Crunch, something like sweet Chex mix with salty, buttery clusters. I loved the stuff so much I set out to come up with my own alternative uses for it.

But even if baking isn’t your thing,  please make some Cornflake Crunch and just eat it.  You won’t believe you made it this far in life without it.

My top three? Spooned over ice cream while still slightly warm from the oven, layered parfait-style with greek yogurt and blueberries, and this cake.

I mean, cereal-themed coffee cake? I don’t want to brag and say that it’s the perfect breakfast treat, but it might be.

Even if baking is not your thing, please make some Cornflake Crunch and just eat it. You won’t believe you made it this far in life without it.

Butter Crunch Coffee Cake

Ingredients For the Cornflake Crunch
  • 5 cups cornflakes, crushed to about 1/4 their usual size
  • 1/2 cup powdered milk
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 9 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small chunks
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 275º F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cornflakes, powdered milk, 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar, and salt with your hands.
  3. Add the melted butter and toss to combine.
  4. Spread the mixture on a rimmed, parchment-lined baking sheet.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown with caramelized bits.
  6. Set aside to cool while you make the cake batter.
INGREDIENTS FOR the Butter Crunch Coffee Cake

30 minutes active time, 1 hour 30 minutes total time

  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups full fat plain yogurt
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Using the paddle attachment on a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar for 4-5 minutes until fluffy and pale yellow.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on low speed, until well combined.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat again on low until well blended.
  5. In another bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon until combined.
  6. Add about a quarter of the flour mixture to the mixer and blend on low speed until combined.
  7. Add about 1/3 of the yogurt and blend again.
  8. Continue alternating flour mixture and yogurt until everything is combined.
  9. Do not overmix. A little bit of lumpiness will produce a better cake texture than a super smooth batter.
Baking Instructions
  • Grease a 13-by-9-inch pan or line the bottom with parchment paper.
  • Pour batter into your prepared pan.
  • Combine the cooled cornflake crunch with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, cut into small bits, and the remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar.
  • Use your hands to incorporate, making sure the extra butter and sugar are evenly distributed.
  • Sprinkle the mixture evenly over the top of the batter.
  • Bake for about 25 minutes, then check the center with a toothpick. It may need 5-10 more minutes depending on your oven. When the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done.
  • Let cool for 15 minutes or so before cutting.
  • Enjoy!