Nowhere is the beauty and complexity of Cuba’s history more evident than in its architecture.
With Colonial stone fortresses,
a Baroque style basilica,
and a Moorish style cathedral,
Havana is one of the most architecturally diverse cities in the world.
Walking through the city visitors see the Spanish,
and Italian influences of the post-Colonial period,
along side classic examples of art nouveau and art deco, like the famous Baccardi Building standing tall in the center of Havana.
While some neighborhoods are comprised of Soviet-syle block houses,
American high-rise style apartment buildings dot the skyline view across the Malecon.
In fact, Americans walking through central Havana may be surprised to see this building,
El Capitolo, which was the seat of government in Cuba until the Cuban Revolution in 1959. Cubans are quick to tell you their national capital building is taller than the one in Washington, DC and, unlike ours, this neoclassical building only served as the seat of the House of Representatives and Senate for about 30 years.
But Havana is a city that was built by addition, not by substitution, and it’s not uncommon to find buildings that are crumbling next to more modern ones. Current economic and political realities that make paint expensive and restrict home and apartment owners from also owning part of the building or land make diversity in exterior upkeep a natural part of the landscape.
Today, money earned from hotels and state-owned restaurants is being funneled into restoration and, while there’s beauty in the restored buildings and gorgeous stained glass fan lights,
I also saw beauty and rich history in the peeling paint and broken glass.
For like so many baked treats, sometimes the crumbs are the best part, right? I know that’s true for these Crumb Cake Muffins!
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, sugar, cinnamon, and melted butter with spoon until crumbly. Reserve 1 1/3 cup mixture for topping.
- Stir in eggs, vanilla, baking powder, salt, and milk into remaining mixture. When well mixed, spoon batter into muffin cups, filling approximately 1/2 way. Sprinkle reserved crumbly mixture over batter.
- Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.
DISTANCE TRAVELED FROM PHILADELPHIA TO HAVANA: 1241 miles
This recipe yields 15 muffins.