There’s a sweetness in simplicity. An era of T-ball in the streets, neighbors gossiping on their stoops, and telephone numbers that began with words rather than numerals. These are some of the memories the Walsh family associates with their crumb cake recipe, one handed down and perfected through the generations.
“This recipe was developed in a home kitchen with many attempts at perfection. Family members were force-fed crumb cake until they never wanted to hear those words again,” Hampton Bays resident Susan Walsh said. She, her son James Walsh, and longtime friend Sean Tupper are the owners of Clarkson Avenue Crumb Cake Co., named after the East Flatbush street where Susan grew up. Together, they’ve taken an old-fashioned family recipe and brought it to East End, operating out of the Stony Brook incubator in Calverton.
“There are so many Brooklynite and other borough transplants that have settled on the East End. It is great to watch folks take a bite; it instantly brings them back to their roots. That’s what we are all about,” James said.
After briefly closing down, voluntarily, to ensure the safety of their team and customers, Clarkson Avenue resumed production on May 1. James said, “We began to see the change we were all looking for in terms of the virus. Knowing that we operate out of a very remote facility also contributed to our reason to start up again. We are taking every precaution to keep ourselves and others safe.” During a normal busy season, Clarkson Avenue Crumb takes part in multiple charity events and farmers markets to get the word out about their product. But now online sales are key to keeping afloat.
With its reopening, a new endeavor began: cake of the month. What started as a signature family dessert has transitioned to a variety of flavors, a twist on the classic. Each month the company now offers limited edition crumb cakes to drive traffic to its website as well as introduce a fresh new flavor before. This month, to welcome spring, is carrot cake — a carrot cake bottom with frosting, topped with crumbs. June will be an almond based crumb with homemade cherry preserves. For July, expect a campfire cake consisting of chocolate cake infused with marshmallow and graham cracker crumb. And to celebrate national chocolate chip cookie day on August 4, August will be a vanilla based cake topped with chocolate cookie dough crumb. Each theme is symbolic of the season and every creation is unique to not only customers but themselves as well.
“We love food and love to create and share with others. We’re using the time to think of new crumb cake-related products,” James said.
Shipping is done Monday through Wednesday. All cakes are to be refrigerated once received, but if saved for an extended period, they may be frozen as well.
“In the words of Grandma Marie Mulligan Delia, ‘All good things come to those who wait,’” Susan said.