Crumb Cake

While researching recipes for crumb cake I came across a lot of “New York Style” crumb cakes.  Growing up in New Jersey I have had my fair share of crumb cakes, but it made me curious about where crumb cakes came from.  And even how is a crumb cake different than a coffee cake?


I didn’t find much information but I did find out that crumb cake is a variation of a coffee cake.  German and Dutch immigrants brought their coffee cake recipes along when they migrated to the US.  And most of them ended up in the New York area.  As time went on people started experimenting with their coffee cakes by adding more topping to the cake.  Coffee cakes can have crumbs on top but don’t need to, however crumb cake is about 1/3 crumb 2/3 cake and as the name implies always has crumbs on top.  Crumb cakes also is a square or rectangular shape while coffee cake can be made in a loaf pan or bundt pan.

My recipe is made by the reverse creaming method or “two-stage” creaming method. Reverse creaming method is done by mixing together the flour, leavener, salt and sugar.  Then adding in the soft butter and mixing it until small crumbs.  Then the wet ingredients are added.  This method helps to inhibit the gluten production.  The butter encases the flour molecules which adds a barrier between the flour and the wet ingredients.  The sugar in the cake also decreases the gluten production by absorbing some of the liquid.  Reverse creaming method cakes don’t rise as high as regular creaming method cakes since the creaming method adds air into the butter which rises the product during baking.  Reverse creaming method cakes are velvety and more tender making it the perfect way to make the cake base of a crumb cake!

And now the recipe:


  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  1. In a medium bowl mix together the light brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and flour with a whisk.
  2. Using a spatula add the melted butter and mix until fully combined and starts to turn into a floury dough.  Set aside.


  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 5×9 Pyrex or 8×8 pan.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt.
  3. Add in the softened butter, on tablespoon at a time and mix for 2 minutes.  It will look crumbly.
  4. Add the eggs, vanilla and sour cream.  Mix until combined.
  5. Pour batter into cake pan and evenly add crumbs to top.
  6. Bake crumb cake until toothpick comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle powdered sugar on top when done!



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