New York-Style Crumb Cake

What’s your favorite part about crumb cake? Is it the light, moist cake or the crumb topping? For me it is all about the crumbs, and this cake is loaded! Now don’t get me wrong, the cake part is very important too, but come on-look at all those crumbs! Luckily this one has it all-a moist and tender cake layer loaded with melt-in-your-mouth cinnamony crumble nuggets. This recipe calls for cake flour, which is essential for creating this tender , buttery cake. Don’t be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make it dry and tough…and nobody wants that! Enjoy with a cup of freshly brewed coffee or tea for a wonderful way to start your day.

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New York-Style Crumb Cake

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For the Crumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
  • 1/3 up dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  1. For the topping: In a medium bowl, stir together sugars, cinnamon and butter until combined. All flour and stir until mixture forms a thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottom and sides of a 8-inch square baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up two sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, on low speed, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt to combine. While the mixer is running on low speed, add butter one piece at a time; until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Pour mixture into prepared pan, spread into corners, and level surface with rubber spatula. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Yields: 8 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes

Source: Cook’s Illustrated, January 2008

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33 Responses to New York-Style Crumb Cake

  1. IamSimplyTia says:

    I’m going to email you my address. I’ll be checking my mail every day. I hope to find some of this in the mailbox soon. I kid!

    But in all seriousness, this crumb cake looks absolutely divine. I bet it’s moist and very flavorful. I’m going to try it soon and it better come out as lovely as yours.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I have not had crumb cake in ages and your pictures bring back fond memories of eating this growing up. Thanks for sharing!

  3. julia says:

    Wow, that looks pretty dang perfect! You nailed that crumb topping!

  4. Wow….look’s gorgeous….and planning to try soon..the crumbs…is intresting

  5. That crumb topping is just too pretty. Looks awesome.

  6. shellbell says:

    That looks good I never have had a crumb cake before but would like to make one> But have a question can you use self rising flour instead of cake flour please let me know and Thank you.

    • Christina says:

      For most recipes I would say that you could use self rising flour just as long as you adjust the baking powder and salt. But for this recipe I would only use cake flour. Cake flour has a low protein content so less gluten forms when you mix it into the batter. Low protein and less gluten makes for a fine, soft, even crumb. It is essential for creating this tender, buttery cake, otherwise it will make the cake dry and tough.

  7. Had never heard of this – but I agree, it´s all about that topping!

  8. Wow, this is gorgeous. I was convinced that you had used cinnamon chips for the topping because they are so uniform and perfect! What a great recipe!

  9. susie says:

    That is some serious crumb on the cake it looks amazing!!! It’s my favorite part of a crumb cake. 🙂 YUM!

  10. nijah06 says:

    Yummy That crumb cake looks great!

  11. The Teenage Taste says:

    Ohmygosh, I made this EXACT crumb cake a few months ago. Mmmmmmmm…it was so good! I loved the streusel topping!

  12. Julia says:

    Looks fantastic!

  13. Lacy says:

    Oooohh this sounds fantastic! I love the crumbly topping. Have you ever heard of Kenny’s Krumbs?? It’s actually the crumb topping of a coffee cake packaged and sold. Love, it looks very similar to your topping. I must try this!

  14. I would definitely have trouble keeping myself from eating the crumb topping off of the entire cake!

  15. Oh yeah… I WILL be making this! Love it!

  16. foodandnews says:

    yum! looks divine

  17. Stefanie says:

    This is gorgeous! The cake looks so moist and tender, and the topping is beautiful!!

  18. That is one insanely good looking crumb topping! It totally makes it!

  19. I love what you’ve done with the crumble – breaking it up like that – it looks so adorable. Tip about using cake flour and not switching it out I’m also storing for future knowledge!

  20. That topping looks divine! I could eat it on top of my yogurt in the morning with fresh blueberries. That makes it a perfectly acceptable healthy breakfast food, right? YUM!

  21. Beautiful recipe and photos… just as I’ve become accustomed to here on your website:) I can’t believe that topping.. it’s different from any I’ve ever seen!

  22. ChgoJohn says:

    I’m with ya about the crumbs, Christina, and this little cake has more than its fair share. I bet its really tasty, as a result!

  23. Love the look of your crumb

  24. Your crumb cakes always look so perfect!

  25. {Main St. Cuisine} says:

    This looks so wonderful. I may have to take a day off from my January diet to make (and eat) this crumb cake. Thanks for sharing the recipe and your great photos!

  26. The crumbs on your cake are so perfectly uniform – – it’s beautiful 🙂 *YUM*

  27. That pretty much looks like everything I love about crumb cake. Awesome!

  28. For me, crumb cake is ALL about the CRUMBS!! This looks awesome. Would love to be having this with my morning coffee.

  29. kat says:

    That crumb topping is so pretty! My favorite part is the crumbs 🙂

  30. huntfortheverybest says:

    i like your crumbs! they look great.

  31. This looks wonderful! I love to eat cakes and cookies that are soft and melt in your mouth!

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