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

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 to 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


For the 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)

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. To make 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. To make 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.

Note: 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.

(Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated)


140 Responses to “New York-Style Crumb Cake”

Comment Pages 1 2 3
  1. Lindsey on June 9, 2008 at 9:52 am

    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 :)


  2. Liz on June 9, 2008 at 10:21 am

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


  3. Kate on June 9, 2008 at 10:49 am

    It even looks better than Entenmanns!


  4. bridget on June 9, 2008 at 10:51 am

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


  5. jbw1203 on June 9, 2008 at 11:02 am

    oh wow, that looks delicious!


  6. noskos on June 9, 2008 at 12:18 pm

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


  7. Erin on June 9, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    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. Gretchen Noelle on June 9, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    This looks really tasty!!! Bookmarked!


  9. bunny on June 9, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    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. ash on June 9, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    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. sharon @ newlywedcook on June 9, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    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 :)


  12. katie102006 on June 10, 2008 at 6:45 am

    Wow that looks INSANELY delicious!!!


  13. Di on June 10, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    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. JackieT on June 11, 2008 at 8:42 am

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


  15. Michelle on June 15, 2008 at 6:57 pm

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


    • Natalie on May 6th, 2012 at 6:32 pm

      ME TOO!!!


  16. Chelle on June 15, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Hi Michelle,

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


  17. Michelle on June 18, 2008 at 10:08 am

    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! :)


  18. Chelle on June 18, 2008 at 11:01 am

    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! :)


  19. Sophia Hussain on June 18, 2008 at 2:40 pm

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


  20. Michelle on June 22, 2008 at 10:11 am

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


  21. Lindsay on October 5, 2009 at 5:27 pm

    I made this recipe exactly as it says and I’m confused – my crumbs were swallowed by the cake! how did that happen? Does anyone know what went wrong?


    • Janero on August 8th, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      You are not alone Lindsay, several other people, including myself had the same problem with this recipe.


      • jocelynn on August 29th, 2013 at 1:47 pm

        I made this as soon as I saw it in my cooks illustrated cookbook and its delicious!! my topping sank through though, and I think its because it took me too long making the balls. The next time I made it I let the topping cool to room temp and then I formed them into balls and set them aside. then I proceeded making the dough and then sprinkled on the topping. No sinking!! hope this helps =]


  22. Cathy Davis on October 22, 2009 at 11:50 am

    Cook’s Illustrated always has fantastic recipes! Thanks for sharing!


  23. Hot Polka Dot on March 4, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I’ve actually never tried crumb cake. All the more reason to make it. Yum!


  24. Abi on June 2, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    Hi Michelle!
    I just made this an hour ago and I can’t believe how delicious it is! It’s moist, flavorful, and scrumptious!! Thank you so much for posting this recipe. This is the first thing I’ve ever made from your site and I plan to bake so much more!! I was definitely surprised by how easy it was to make! My family is loving it. :)


    • Michelle on June 3rd, 2010 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Abi,
      I’m so glad you and your family enjoyed this! I *LOVE* this cake!!


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  26. Kathy on June 12, 2010 at 10:30 am

    I am baking this cake now, with about 5 minutes to go. Oddly, my crumbs have sunk. Can’t imagine what I did wrong. :(

    Any ideas?


    • Janero on August 8th, 2013 at 10:01 pm

      This happened to many people. Apparently, no one including Michelle, has any idea how to fix it.


  27. Kim on July 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    This was soooo good! I have an obsession with crumb cake and have like 15 recipes in my box for various ones but this one is by far the best! Of course I couldn’t wait the 30 minutes until it cooled. Thanks for the great recipe!


  28. Maria on September 8, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    absolutely loved it :] thanks so much


    • Michelle on September 13th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

      Maria – You’re welcome! I love this cake!


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  31. Tykisha Pulliam on September 20, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Oh no…I was on a roll with recipes from this site until this one. I followed this recipe precisely but my crumbs were horribly dry. The flavor of the cake was good but it could’ve been a lot moister too. I don’t know what I did wrong but I will try this recipe again.


    • Michelle on September 20th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Oh no! I’m sorry you didn’t have a great result, but I hope you’ll give it another try! It’s definitely a favorite!


      • Janero on August 7th, 2013 at 1:07 pm

        Tykisha is not alone in her failure on this recipe. I am an avid home baker and I followed this recipe word for word and doubled it and baked it in a 13 x 9 pan and it did not come out as pictured AT ALL. I even put an oven thermometer in to ensure the temperature was accurate. The first time I baked it the crumb topping completely collapsed and sank into the cake while cooking and ended up on the bottom of the cake and completely absorbed into the cake. The 2nd time I cooked it without adding the crumb topping and cooked the cake until it was almost 15 minutes done, then I added the crumb topping to cook for the last 15 minutes…..still the same result!! It was a crumb cake without any cake…ONLY CRUMB!! Something is seriously wrong with this recipe!!


        • Michelle on August 7th, 2013 at 9:13 pm

          Janero, Not all recipes can be doubled or halved with success. This may be one of those recipes. I have not attempted to double it, so that may be the issue. I’ve made this countless times and have never had an issue with the crumb.


          • Janero on August 7th, 2013 at 9:26 pm

            Thank you for your response. I do realize that not all recipes can be doubled, however, then why do you state this in your recipe above “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”


          • Janero on August 8th, 2013 at 10:04 pm

            Your recipe clearly states that it can be doubled. Have you tried doubling it and baking it with success??


        • Wuschel on November 29th, 2013 at 10:47 am

          There is usually nothing wrong with the recipes from ATK/Cook’s Country/Cook’s Illustrated. They research and test their recipes thoroughly. 😉


  32. Kim Q on September 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

    My dad grew up in Philadelphia and has fond memories of a similar crumb cake from a local bakery. So for his birthday yesterday, I knew I had to at least attempt this cake for him. Though it took trips to 4 different stores to find cake flour, (who knew cake flour was so difficult to locate???) it made for a successful cake. I actually baked it on Saturday and delivered it after it had cooled, and by dinnertime yesterday (Sunday), it was over half gone between just my dad and mom. And my peanut was able to help make the crumbs- an added bonus! Thanks for a wonderful recipe. :o)


    • Michelle on September 27th, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Happy belated birthday to your dad! (My mom’s birthday was today!) I’m so happy to hear he enjoyed this recipe for his special day!


  33. Ashley on December 27, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    Hi! I cant wait to try this recipe!! But i was wondering if it could be done in a bundt pan? If so would any changes need to be made?


    • Michelle on February 16th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

      Hi Ashley, I would not recommend making this in a Bundt pan – it is not nearly enough batter for a Bundt, and it would bake up much differently.


  34. ami on January 22, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    i made this crumb cake and i was fantastic, better than the kind you buy at the store. thank you!


  35. La cuisinière on May 12, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    Hey :)
    i tried out this recipe and although the cake just got out of the oven, i already tried it.;)
    im not sure if it is supposed to be that moist(?) but i really like it that way. :)


  36. Michelle on May 14, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    I made this cake and my topping sunk to the bottom? Any idea of what i could have done wrong? the cake is still delicious just upside down. :)


    • Michelle on May 16th, 2011 at 3:56 pm

      Hi Michelle, I’m wondering if you didn’t let the topping cool before putting it on top? I think if the butter was still too warm, it could have caused it to sink.


      • Janero on August 7th, 2013 at 9:42 pm

        Michelle, as you can see someone else had the same problem with this recipe as I did, and they used an 8″ sq pan. What do you mean when you say that she didn’t let the topping cool before putting it on top?? This is not mentioned in your recipe above AT ALL. Your recipe above states in step 4 to
        “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”

        This is obviously the problem with this recipe. You probably need to cook the cake first, then add the crumbs, then cook for a few minutes to set the crumbs. Is this how it was supposed to be done?


        • Michelle on August 8th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

          No, the cake is not supposed to be baked and then topped with the crumbs; the crumbs are put on, and the whole thing is baked together.


          • Janero on August 8th, 2013 at 10:08 pm

            Then why did you respond to Michelle above, with “I’m wondering if you didn’t let the topping cool before putting it on top?”


            • jocelynn on August 29th, 2013 at 1:50 pm

              because when you mix the topping together you are supposed to let it cool to room temp then form into balls.

  37. mary on May 24, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I have made this once already and it was great! I was given a suggestion to try to add sour cream for the 2nd go round – how would I need to alter the recipe?


    • Michelle on May 24th, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      Hi Mary, Well, the buttermilk sort of plays the role of the wet ingredient in this recipe, but I’m not sure you could do a 1:1 swap there. Any particular reason why you’d want to add sour cream to the recipe?


  38. Becca on July 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I just wanted to tell you that I am laying in bed drooling at this cake. I can’t wait to get to the store and make it tomorrow! (by the way I’m pregnant so it may explain why I am looking at cakes at 11:00 at night in bed lol)


  39. Kim on August 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    I made this cake this morning. Turned out great with the crumb topping. I think next time I just might add a little more cinnamon (I’m a cinnamon fanatic). The topping was a tad dry but if it was moister it probably wouldn’t have been as nice as a topping. Everything I’ve made off this blog is excellent – keep up the good work Michelle! I look forward to checking your site weekly and daily if I can.


  40. Jen on September 26, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Hi Michelle! I love your site!

    I’ve had this bookmarked nearly forever now and finally was craving the Crumb! I made it last night. It’s delicious, only, my crumbs sort of sank down into the middle of the cake as it baked. Any idea what went wrong or how to prevent that? I see the recipe refers to some pics on how to do it but they didn’t make it to your post. Thanks for the recipes!


    • Michelle on September 26th, 2011 at 3:58 pm

      Hi Jen, My guess is that most likely the crumb mixture wasn’t cooled enough when you topped the cake. You could even pop it in the fridge if you find it isn’t cooling down fast enough.


      • Janero on August 8th, 2013 at 10:13 pm

        This is about the 10th comment that people are mentioning that their crumb topping sank to the bottom including mine. In this response you say that the crumb mixture wasn’t cooled enough when she topped the cake. Why would the crumb mixture be hot?? Can you please figure out what is causing this problem?


        • Allie on September 20th, 2013 at 9:32 am

          Umm janero last I heard if you melt butter by microwaving, the butter will be hot!!! the crumbs should be hot for a while since you add in the butter. So just make the crumbs and push it to the side and go do something else while it cools down back to room temp.


        • Megan Jenkins on February 27th, 2014 at 4:15 pm

          This Janero person needs to chill. OUT. He/she is ruining my enjoyment of reading the comments. If he’s got a problem with how you run your blog, go on to someone else’s and figure out how to make it. Geez, dude, she’s just a blogger, she’s not God and she certainly can’t solve all of the problems of crumb cake land! Sorry for ranting, but, he’s being rude.


  41. snapdabble on October 2, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    I just made this for Sunday breakfast. Absolutely AMAZING.


  42. Joli on October 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Hi Michelle! Your cake looks amazing! Just a question from an amateur baker like me, do we need to sieve the cake flour? And if we do, do we do it prior to weighing or after weighing? Hope you can answer this question of mine! :)


    • Michelle on October 12th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

      Hi Joli, No need to sift the flour (or pass it through a sieve). You can just mix it as directed.


  43. Gordon on October 20, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Looks like it would just melt in your month.


  44. Joli on October 20, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    This is awesome! Baked this n it turned out real good! Thank you!


  45. Teresajoe on October 21, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Made this last night. Yes, it was amazing! Everyone loved it! Everything we make form Brown Eyed Baker is a favorite! Thanks


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  47. Donna on November 11, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    I just made this and it is delicious. My brother said it was the best crumb cake he ever ate in his life, I agree.
    The recipe was easy to follow and the results are fabulous.
    Thank you.


  48. Alissa on January 2, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    I’m so happy I found your site today!!:-) I baked this crumb cake today and it came out amazing! Tomorrow I’m baking the Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Icing! Can’t wait to bake many many more from your site!:-) I love it!


  49. molly on January 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    hello michelle,
    i was just wondering whats the difference between cake flour and normal flour because i’ve never seen cake flour in the store close to me and also will this recipe make a dry cake? by the way i tried your chocolate chip cookie and brownie recipe they were a BIG HIT I’m a fan! 😀


    • Michelle on January 5th, 2012 at 5:06 pm

      Hi Molly, Cake flour is finer than all-purpose flour. It is stocked in pretty much every grocery store in the U.S. (not sure where you are located) – popular brands are Softasilk and Swan’s Down. If you can’t locate it you can make a substitution with all-purpose flour and cornstarch – the directions are on this FAQ page:


  50. Katie on January 18, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I just made this – sort of. I used regular flour because I didn’t feel like running to the store. I also put in both eggs whole since I didn’t know what else to do with the second egg white and the batter was a little dry because I used plain greek yogurt instead of buttermilk. It was what I had on hand. So I guess I didn’t REALLY make it, but used it as a base and it is quite yummy although we did begin consumption less than 3 minutes out of the oven. : ) The crumbs are dry, but did not sink. The cake is moist. We like it!


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