Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake

Like I mentioned on Monday, I had one of the best pieces of crumb cake while vacationing in Vegas.  I have always had a thing for crumb cake – I blame that on my mom.  She LOVES crumb cake and when we were little my dad would go to this special bakery once in a while to buy what was possibly the most amazing crumb cake ever.  It was made up of mostly crumbs, with just a little bit of wonderful cake on the bottom.  My mom, sister and I would literally eat so much that we would get sick… and then still go back for more until the whole thing was gone.  Needless to say, we couldn’t buy it all that often.

Crumb Cake

Why I’ve never tried to make crumb cake at home I’m not sure, but after our trip I decided it was time.  So I gave this recipe a try.  I will warn you, this cake is good.  Really good.  Don’t blame me when you make it and then eat so much that your stomach hurts.  Not that I know about that or anything.

The bottom layer of cake is light and flavorful.  And oh the crumb topping.  It’s amazingly tasty.  Personally, I think this crumb cake has the perfect ratio of cake to crumbs.  This was also easy to make – which could be dangerous since it’s so good….

Crumb Cake
Yield: makes one 8 by 8 inch cake
For the crumb topping:
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (still warm)
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour (do not substitute all-purpose flour)
For the cake:
  • 1 ¼ cups cake flour (do not substitute all-purpose flour)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces (softened but still cool)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting the cake
  1. Start by making the crumb topping. In a medium bowl, mix together the two kinds of sugar, cinnamon, salt and melted butter until combined. Add in the cake flour and mix until incorporated and the dough is a cohesive mass. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8 by 8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (cut a big enough piece so that the paper hangs over the edges of the pan on two sides). Set aside.
  3. Add the cake flour, sugar, baking soda and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix briefly on low speed to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add one piece of butter at a time. Continue to mix on low speed for about 1 to 2 minutes, until the mixture resembles crumbs (and no chunks of butter are visible). Next, add in the egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and buttermilk. Beat on medium high speed for about 1 minute until light and fluffy.
  4. Place the batter in the middle of the prepared baking dish. Use a rubber spatula to spread the batter to the sides, making sure that it is in an even layer. Working with a handful at a time, use your fingers to break the crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces over the cake batter. Distribute evenly over the batter (do not press the crumb topping into the cake batter).
  5. Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool for at least 30 minutes. Lift the cake out of the baking dish by using the parchment overhang. Liberally dust with the confectioners’ sugar. Cut into squares to serve.

Smells Like Home, originally from Cooks’ Illustrated May 2007 and Cooks’ Illustrated iPhone app


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  1. Amie says

    This is lovely baked this this evening, iv had a piece with my earl grey tea latte, I never tasted such a buttery cake before, I am a fan of your web page which I found by mistake…going to work my way through your recipes 😀

  2. Lorraine says

    Excellent recipe. This is the second time I made this crumb cake. But this time I decided to add apples. Used your recipe for the apples from the apple bars. Delicious. Keep the recipes coming!!!!!!!!

  3. Fran says

    Ashley is right. As her mom, I am responsible for her love of crumb cake. When I was younger, I used to sneak into the dining room and literally eat the crumbs right off the top of the cake. My mom would go crazy because it was for her Rosary group. This was and still is my vice. This recipe is great! I know because I recently was visiting and kept eating her crumb cake. I knew I should stop, but couldn’t.

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