New York-Style Crumb Cake

Entenmann’s has nothing on Cook’s Illustrated! I was watching some recorded episodes of America’s Test Kitchen and saw this incredible crumb cake being made. Crumb cake has been on my “to make” list for some time now, as I just can’t resist the light, fluffy cake topping with that sweet crumb topping. It was perfect timing because I was looking for something to make for our monthly neighborhood “Girls Night”. Although the recipe states that it serves 8-10, since I was bringing it for a crowd, I cut the cake into 16 pieces and placed each of them in a cupcake liner for easy consumption. I thought the presentation was so cute, and the cake was definitely a hit. My mom had a piece the next day and said that these rank in the Top 3 things I have ever made. Now that’s a compliment! I stowed away a couple of pieces for myself before I left, but in all honesty, I probably could have eaten this whole cake myself.

New York-Style Crumb Cake
(Source: Cook’s Illustrated, May 2007)

Serves 8 to 10

Don’t be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make a dry, tough cake. If you can’t find buttermilk, you can substitute an equal amount of plain, low-fat yogurt. When topping the cake, take care to not push the crumbs into the batter. This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. If doubling, increase the baking time to about 45 minutes. Cooled leftovers can be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Crumb Topping
1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup 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)

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: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

2. FOR THE CAKE: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of dish.

3. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating 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, scraping once if necessary.

4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Following photos below, 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.


24 Responses

  1. yum! I love crumb cake. I have a great Martha recipe that I use and love, but will have to give this one a try next time. Looks delicious πŸ™‚

  2. Oh my gosh, that looks awesome! Love the photos!

  3. It even looks better than Entenmanns!

  4. Good to know. I’ve had by eye on this recipe since it was published.

  5. oh wow, that looks delicious!

  6. Bookmarked it so I can make it later, looks wonderful!

  7. This looks wonderful! It’s been on my must-make list as well, so I’ll definitely have to try it after your review!

  8. This looks really tasty!!! Bookmarked!

  9. oh you got to make it! i bought the cooks illustrated test kitchen magazine just because of this coffee cake!! it looks just like the picture they had , great job!

  10. it looks amazing! i’m going to have to make this for hubby very soon. i’ve got it saved! can’t wait to try it!

  11. Seeing this is perfect timing for me! Tonight, my husband asked that my next baked goods creation be a plain coffee cake (I had bookmarked a blueberry one). Now, I don’t even have to go research. We just need to finish off all the brownies, bread and cake we already have πŸ™‚

  12. Wow that looks INSANELY delicious!!!

  13. Oh, I love this recipe. I’ve made it a number of times. I have several recipes for this sort of crumb cake, and the CI one is definitely my favorite.

  14. I recently watched the ATK episode that featured this recipe and wanted to make it too. Your’s looks tastier than theirs!

  15. Is that the correct amount of flour for the topping? My topping turned out way too dry…..

  16. Hi Michelle,

    I double checked and yes, that is the correct amount of flour. Did you use cake flour?

  17. No… I didn’t have any…. but I did back off on the all purpose flour when I thought it was getting too dry looking…..

    I guess I’ve learned that it really does make a difference!

    No worries, the cake disappeared anyway! πŸ™‚

  18. Michelle, I just went back and re-read the recipe and saw the commentary prior to the actual recipe, noting that AP flour will cause the cake to be dry and dense. I have edited this entry so that it now includes that paragraph. I hope you try it again! πŸ™‚

  19. Thanks for this recipe, it looks great, and the presentation tips are helpful too!

  20. Thanks Chelle! Considering how yummy it was even with a dry topping, I can’t wait to try it again with cake flour!

  21. I’ve been looking for this exact type of crumb cake! WooHoo!!! Thanks so much for posting it – yours looks delish by the way πŸ˜‰

  22. I made this today and half the crumbs sank into the batter. I followed the recipe to a “T”.


  24. I think your suppose to put the crumb topping on half way through the baking of the cake,at least that’s what it has said for any other recipe i’ve read.

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