New York Style Crumb Cake

I remember as a little girl we would have “snack cake” after school. It was usually some type of apple or banana cake. Something that was easy and a little “something something” to tide you over until dinner. This is NOT your mother’s snack cake. No offense Mom.  New Yorkers will know this cake; this is a simple recipe but something you will be craving at all times of the day- not just after school or work. I changed the crumb topping slightly from the original recipe (which used half granulated and half dark brown sugar) because I was out of dark brown sugar and did not feel like running out to the store to get some. I like it just fine that way.

New York Crumb Cake

NY Crumb Cake 2

NY Crumb Cake 4

New York Crumb Cake

recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

yield: 8×8 inch square (about 8-10 servings)

Crumb Topping

1 3/4 C (7 oz.) cake flour

2/3 C light brown sugar (original recipe calls for 1/3 C sugar, plus 1/3 Cup dk. brown sugar)

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

pinch salt

1 stick (1/2 C) (113 g) unsalted butter, melted but still warm

1. In a bowl whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Pour the warm butter over mixture and stir with a large metal spoon. Push down the mixture with the spoon to compact to mix and then “rake” the mixture back and forth to break it up but allow clumps to form. Set aside.


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

*If you don’t have buttermilk; take1/3 Cup milk and stir in 1 tsp. white vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes

1. Prepare a 8x8x2 inch square pan with a parchment sling. Spray liberally with non-stick baking spray. Preheat oven to 325° degrees F. Place rack in middle to upper middle position.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer with a hand whisk; whisk together the flour, sugar, soda, and salt. Fit the mixer with the paddle attachment and on low speed mix in the butter one piece at a time until the crumbs resemble no lumps; about 2 minutes. Mix the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla in a measuring cup and add in slowly with mixer on medium. Mix until smooth and light and fluffy about 1 minute. Careful to scrape down bottom of bowl and sides. Spread the batter into prepared pan evenly and top with crumb mixture starting on the outsides of the pan and working towards middle. You want pea size as well as larger clumps to stay intact including crumbs. Bake at 325° F for 35-40 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack and when completely cool dust generously with confectioners sugar.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. That looks great, and thanks for buttermilk tip. I have been in a situation with no buttermilk before so now I know what to do!

  2. Beverly says:

    Can I use ALL PURPOSES FLOUR instead?

    1. swooz says:

      Beverly, I don’t recommend it as it changes the texture of the cake, also the crumb topping would be too heavy.

  3. vivian nania says:

    can you use double zero flour?

    1. swooz says:

      Hi Vivian, Cake flour has a protein content of 7-8 % content. I’m not sure of your exact 00 content percentage of protein, but since cake flour is redibly available in all grocery stores-I would stick with cake flour.

  4. Bernadette Trasser says:

    This is one delicious crumb cake. It gets rave reviews every time I bake it. Thanks so much for your recipe. Question: applying the crumbs is very time consuming. Any tips? I’m always afraid that the cake batter is sitting out too long before being able to put it into the oven.

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