New York Style Crumb Cake

If you love moist, light coffee cake, you’ll love this cake.

If you love moist, light coffee cake with crumb topping, well, again, you’ll have no trouble devouring a piece of this lovely cake.

If you love moist, light coffee cake with an abnormally divine ratio of buttery crumb topping to cake…well, then, consider hoarding this entire pan for yourself because that is exactly what you are getting.

The cake itself is delicious – lightly sweet and fluffy – but nothing extraordinary to write home about in and of itself. However, the sheer amount of golden, sweet crumb topping is the real star of this cake and makes the entire concoction worth enjoying. Bite after bite after bite.

I’ve been waiting for just the right coffee crumb cake to come my way. My husband, who has an unholy love for coffee cakes, deemed this one of the best. Which is great, because I think this is going to be our breakfast Thanksgiving morning. You know, to kick off a day of great eating.

**Looking for Thanksgiving Dinner inspiration? Take a look at my menu-in-progress and plan away!**

New York Style Crumb Cake

One Year Ago: Roasted Fruit with Streusel Topping
Two Years Ago: Salsa Verde Tostadas
Three Years Ago: Banana Bars with Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Yield: Serves 8-9

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Note: if all-purpose flour is substituted for the cake flour, the cake will be dry and tough. I usually don't have cake flour on hand so I use a substitution of cornstarch and all-purpose flour. I measure 2 tablespoons cornstarch into a 1-cup measure and fill the rest of the way with all-purpose flour. That ends up being 7/8 cup all-purpose flour and 1/8 cup cornstarch. Then I sift the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer onto a piece of waxed paper (repeating as necessary depending on how much I need - for this recipe there is a total of 3 cups of cake flour). The recipe can also be doubled and baked in a 9X13-inch baking dish (increasing the baking time to about 42 minutes).


    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 salt
  • 8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)
  • 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 salt
  • 6 tablespoons 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 (optional)


  1. For the topping, in a medium bowl, combine the sugars, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Add the flour and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the mixture is thick and smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. For the cake, adjust an oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Cut a 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit the parchment into the dish, pushing it into the corners and up the sides; allowing the excess to hang over the edges.
  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of an electric mixer), mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer running at low speed (electric or handheld), add the softened butter one piece at a time and continue beating until the mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.
  4. Scrape the batter into the baking pan, spreading it into an even layer. Break apart the crumb topping that was set aside into large pea-sized pieces and spread the topping in an even layer over the batter. Bake the cake until the crumbs are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on a wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan by lifting the parchment or foil overhang. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired, just before serving.

Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Cook’s Illustrated

34 Responses to New York-Style Crumb Cake

  1. […] this Christmas and we had to have the milk cake.  He didn’t have his recipe though but used this recipe from one of my favorite blogs. Actually it’s my favorite cooking blog and the only one I read […]

  2. Amy says:

    I followed directions exactly. This was gooey when I checked it at 35 and 40 minutes. I baked this for 50 minutes, toothpick came out clean, but after cooling and cutting, it was still underdone in the middle. I have a thermometer in my oven so I’m sure the temp is accurate. Anyone else have this problem? The temp is supposed to be 325 right?

    • Teresa says:

      Yes! I’m having this problem right now! I got up early to make this for Valentine’s Day. It’s been on my list to make for years, and I’m finally getting to it. My oven is 6 months old, and I’ve checked to make sure the temperature is accurate. It is. It’s going on 50 minutes in the oven right now. I want this to work out so desperately!

  3. Emily says:

    I just made this for my family (it’s New Year’s Day) and oh my lord!!! This is delicious!! It’s so fluffy and soft and delicious!! Best breakfast and so easy too.

  4. Peggy says:

    I’m a bit confused about the parchment. Do you mean from one side, across the bottom then up the other side? Or do you mean around the inside walls of the pan to give support to keep the crumbs from falling off as the cake batter rises?

    I love crumb cake, can’t wait to try this!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Peggy, yes, I mean down one side, across the bottom and up the other side so that there are two overhangs of parchment on opposing sides. Hope that helps!

  5. Debbie says:

    Do you think I could make this, bake it and then freeze it, then thaw at room temp when I need it?

    • Mel says:

      Debbie – it’s worth a try – I’m worried it might dry out, a bit, though. I’d almost try warming it after it’s defrosted to help moisten it up a bit.

  6. brand says:

    Found your blog in the Bing stay at home mom business directory, very nice job, thanks.

  7. hol says:

    THIS IS AN ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS RECIPE!!!! The cake was sooooo soft and perfectly sweet. My twin kindergarteners begged to take it for snack at school the next day:)

  8. Mel says:

    Jill – could you line the pan and still take it to the brunch? I guess I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be able to line the pan – it really does help with the cake (especially the topping) sticking to the pan but if you want to avoid it, just be sure to grease and flour the pan really well. Good luck!

  9. Jill says:

    Do you have to line the pan? I would rather not since I am going to be transporting this pretty far to a brunch and I need to make it the day before.
    Love your blog! Thanks!

  10. annette says:

    One of the best New York Style Crumb Cakes my family has been enjoying for years comes from Crumb Cake Creations! They’re a New Jersey based bakery which ships throughout the US. I’ve yet to find a crumb cake with larger crumbs than these. Plus, they have a ton of varieties aside from the typical crumb cake you’d expect. Carrot, blueberry jam, red velvet, and pumpkin are just a few of the ones I’ve seen. My favorite happens to be Pumpkin Crumb Cake.
    Check them out in time for Easter – you wont be disappointed.


  11. grace says:

    as far as i’m concerned, a crumble-less coffee cake isn’t worth my time. this looks outstanding!

  12. Carol says:

    I am seriously in love with your site. You do such a great job and have the most fantastic recipes!! I’m totally impressed. I have my list of favorite blogs. And then there are the “absolutely fabulous, can’t miss” blogs. You’re one of those. Nice!!

  13. Alli says:

    Oh wow, that is an awesome tip for how to use all purpose flour instead! Thank you! 🙂

  14. Marianne says:

    I made this last night and thought it was good, but not worth the calories. Then this morning, once it had cooled completely and the cake kind of thickened, it was fantastic! I highly recommend waiting to enjoy this one…then it’s really worth it!

  15. Laura says:

    Is lining the pan with parchment essential? Would wax paper be an okay replacement? I have heard great things about this Cook’s Illustrated recipe, I’m excited to try it!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Laura – I prefer parchment over wax paper for lining pans that will be baked, mostly because I had a really bad experience with waxed paper once underneath a cake. I don’t know why but it started smoking and gave off a weird odor (I’m thinking the wax residue had something to do with it). If you don’t have parchment, I’d say substitute with foil over wax paper.

  16. I like the idea of having this the morning of Thanksgiving. My mom typically doesn’t do much of a breakfast the morning of because of all the other cooking that’ll be done the rest of the day but I bet I can convince her to make this yummy treat. Thanks for the great recipes!

  17. TJ says:

    This coffee cake is AMAZING! I’ve had this recipe from cook’s illustrated for years and its my GO TO recipe!! Its a little tedious with the topping but SO worth it!!! I’m glad to finally see this recipe digitally!!

  18. This is one of my favorite types of coffee cake, I think it brings me back to my childhood. I have no doubt that Cook’s Ilustrated has taken it right over the top!

  19. kristin says:

    It looks delicious. Can’t wait to make it!

    Homemade coffee cake is the best with coffee!

  20. Monica says:

    Okay, this one is bookmarked!

  21. Lisa Hansen says:

    I LOVE me a good coffee cake. I can’t wait to try this one out!

  22. Heather of Kitchen Concoctions says:

    The crumb topping is my most favoritest part of coffee cake, apple pie, and pumpkin/apple muffins!

  23. Lynda says:

    We love this recipe Mel! The first time I made it, my husband requested it again as soon as the first pan was gone. It’s a keeper. Just looking at your photo makes me want it again!

  24. Beth says:

    I am stopping over from the Homeschool Blog Awards – saw your nominations and wanted to check out some new blogs =-) You have some amazing looking recipes!! If you have an Christmas baking coming up I’d love for you to link it up to my Holiday Baking Linky – – I am your newest reader. I’d love for you to follow me back, if you want to!

  25. Kim in MD says:

    Another amazing CI recipe…I love it! I especially love the crumb to cake ratio. You are right, Mel- this would be a delicious Thanksgiving morning breakfast!

  26. I love crumb cakes…this looks wonderful. Looks like the one from S’bucks, but I bet it’s much better:-)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *