This Easy Tip Guarantees A Crunchy Topping On Your Baked Goods

From cinnamon coffee cakes to berry-studded muffins and syrupy fruit crumbles, the commingling of tender cake and crunchy topping is one of life's greatest pleasures. It's this merger of moist crumbs and sugary bits that takes baked goods to the next level. But you should know, there's a science behind that canopy of crunch. Add too much of this, or too little of that, and you can end up with soggy lumps instead of crispy morsels.

Bon Appétit explains that "proper" crisp toppings balance rich, sweet, and hearty desserts. The topping often contains oats, flour, butter, and brown sugar, and can be jazzed up with nuts, seeds, and coconut flakes as well. But as delightful as crunchy toppings may be, the magazine suggests watching the ratio of cake and filling to topping. Because if add too much, you may end up with a dense, fatty roof on your finest baked treats. 

Another great tip provided by the magazine is to watch that oven temperature. As tempting as it may be to crank the heat for quicker cooking, your baked goods and crispy toppings will both have greater success if you bake them slow and steady at a moderate temp, about 350 to 375 degrees.

With just three ingredients, you can get the perfect topping every time

One baking tip that really stands out is this one courtesy of Taste of Home – the magazine suggests sprinkling your batter before baking with a few simple ingredients including granulated sugar, coconut, and chopped nuts to guarantee a light and crunchy topping every time. And it makes sense. Each of those items has some texture to them for the irresistible crunch — and none contain butter.

This is important because, says Southern Living, while butter can encourage browning and crispness, it only happens if you use the correct amount. Otherwise, if you use too little the topping will be dry and floury, and if you add too much, the topping can become a "greasy blob." Our Everyday Life agrees and states that the most common cause of a sodden cake topper is too much butter. 

The site suggests using five tablespoons of cold or melted butter for every cup of dry ingredients (such as flour and sugar). Once blended, the mixture should consist of small, consistently sized clumps; larger clumps can create soggy sections on top of the cake. Or you can just skip that altogether with Taste of Home's great tip.

If you're looking for recommendations on the right kind of nuts for your crunchy topping, The Hungry Housewife really likes pecans. She adds brown sugar and cinnamon, too, and says it works great over pies, muffins, sweet casseroles, cupcakes, and cobblers.