My Recipe Box

Classic Crumb Cake


Serves twelve.

  • To learn more, read:
    Three Great Coffee Cakes
  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 54

Melting all the butter at once and reserving half helps streamline things.

  • 12 oz. (1-1/2 cups) unsalted butter; more for the pan
For the crumb topping:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Pinch table salt
  • 12 oz. (2-2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
For the cake:
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbs. confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Make the topping:

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. In a large saucepan, melt all the butter; remove from the heat. Pour 1/2 cup into a measuring cup and reserve for mixing the cake batter. Add the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the remaining butter in the saucepan. Stir with a fork, pressing when needed, until there are no lumps of sugar. Add the flour and stir gently until well blended and crumbly. Set aside.

Make the cake:

Lightly butter a 9x13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, milk, reserved 1/2 cup melted butter, and vanilla until combined. Pour the liquids over the dry ingredients and gently stir until just blended. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly.

Break up the crumb mixture with your fingers and sprinkle it evenly and generously over the cake batter. Bake until the top is lightly browned, the cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center, and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Cool on a rack and dust with the confectioners’ sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Photo: Amy Albert

Made it for my husband and the whole thing got eatin up! He loved it! great and easy recipe because it doesnt require a mixer. only complain is that it contains A LOT of butter!

You mean crumby cake. A flat, utterly tasteless cake, with waaaay too much flour in the crumb mixture so it, too had almost no taste. The crumb mixture was so thick and had proportionately so little butter, that it all fell off the "cake". My mother made a wonderful crumb cake with a moist buttery cake topped by a rich crumb topping which ever-so-slightly stuck together when cooked so that it was possible to eat it without the topping falling off. Unfortunately, the recipe got lost with her memory.

I followed this recipe exactly and was thrilled with the results. I was worried, because it did not seem like a lot of batter, when I spread it in the 9x13 pan, and there seemed to be so much crumb topping. But, it was the perfect ratio in the end. The crumb topping is the star here, and the cake is like the supporting cast-but together they made for a big hit. I sprinkled the top with confectioner's sugar. It is on day 3 now, and the texture and taste are still great. Perfect with a hot cup of coffee.

This is a great breakfast cake. Good as is or with fresh blueberries or raspberries added to the batter. Sometimes I don't use all the crumb topping just to reduce the calories and sugar. The texture of the cake is perfect.

This is one of my favorite recipes to make for my family or to bring to a friend. Make sure to slowly add the melted butter to the flour. Don't worry if it looks lumpy, it will be fine once it bakes.

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