March 21, 2014

New York Style Crumb Cake

One of my absolute favorite things ever is Entenmann's crumb cake. I was completely devastated when Hubs and I moved to Fort Bliss, and no one there sold it! 

Depression quickly ensued. Not only did no one sell it, but Entenmann's doesn't deliver. What's a girl to do???

Each time we move to a new duty station, there are things I'm glad are gone and there are so many things I miss. At least when it comes to food, I have options. Rather than pout about the unfairness of army life, I have learned to make so many things for myself. Remember my Zuppa Toscana imitation? It's so good, better than the original even. I was absolutely positive I could re-create my favorite coffee cake too.

And I did.

NY Crumb Cake

This crumb cake is genius, if I do say so myself. And I do!

The recipe has been through several incarnations, but I've finally got it just right. Now I can share it with you. If you've never tried crumb cake, let me tell ya…. it is buttery, yummy, delicious goodness. Especially served with a cup of coffee or tea.

Ready for the recipe? Here goes:

You'll start by making the crumb topping.

Ingredients for crumb topping

Mix together ⅓ cup of white sugar, ⅓ cup of dark brown sugar, ¾ teaspoon cinnamon, and ⅛ teaspoon  salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl.  To this, add 1 stick (8 tablespoons) of melted, unsalted butter. You want the butter to still be a bit warm. Mix until combined, then stir in 1 ¾ cups of cake flour.


Please don't use regular, all-purpose flour. I promise your cake will not taste the same. It won't even be close! Cake flour has a much finer consistency that improves the texture and crumb-factor of your cake. It also doesn't rise as much as all-purpose, which is a bonus in this case. Listen to ArmyLife.

Back to the recipe, mix until your dough is thick and cohesive. Set the bowl aside to cool to room temperature. The crumb will be ready once you've finished mixing the batter.

Process for making crumb topping,
from upper left to lower right 

Next, preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Coat a 9x9 baking pan with a spray that includes flour, OR butter and flour the pan. Start your batter by mixing together 1 ¼ cups cake flour, ½ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon baking soda, and ¼ teaspoon salt.

Ingredients for batter

To this, add 8 tablespoons of unsalted butter which has been softened and cut into chunks. Cut this into your mixture using a pastry cutter. Once blended, there should be no visible chunks of butter and your batter will resemble coarse, pea-sized crumbs.

Butter cut into the flour mix

Blend in 1 whole egg and 1 egg white, along with 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract, and ⅓ cup buttermilk. I use my hand mixer for this, I think it makes the cake light and fluffy. (Side note: For a different flavor, try using almond extract instead!)

Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and smooth into a nice, even layer. Now, return to the crumb topping you mixed earlier. You have two choices for crumbling the batter:

           1. Use a fork to break up the pieces, then pour on top of the cake batter. OR…
           2. Use your hands to smoosh the dough into a solid piece, then break off both larger and smaller chunks to top the batter with.

I generally go for option two. I like getting my hands in there and I love the size combination of chunks, from tiny to gigantic. Totally up to you, peeps. Pick your favorite.

Top: Batter
Bottom: Crumb topping
There's no need to press the crumb into the batter. As the cake cooks, it will rise around the crumb, so no smooshing, ok?

Bake around 30-40 minutes, until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for another 30-40 minutes.

THEN (this is the best part), cover the WHOLE THING with as much powdered sugar as you can stand. I like a lot. Don't skimp here, I promise you'll regret it.

And there you have it, NY Crumb Cake!

Slice the cake into good sized pieces, brew a cup of coffee, sit back and enjoy. This is a great way to start your Saturday morning.

I'll be back again soon, my friends. But until then, happy cooking! As always, the standard recipe is below.

Thanks for reading, everyone!
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The Standard Form:

NY Style Crumb Coffee Cake


For the crumb topping:
⅓ cup sugar
⅓ cup dark brown sugar, packed
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 ¾ cup cake flour (do NOT use all-purpose)
For the cake batter:
1 ¼ cups cake flour (no substitutes!)
½ cup sugar
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 egg white
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
⅓ cup buttermilk (can substitute plain yogurt, but buttermilk is best!)
Powdered sugar


Make the topping first. Combine the sugars, cinnamon, and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter. Stir in the cake flour, until the dough is thick and cohesive. Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature, about 15 minutes. It should be ready by the time you are done mixing the cake batter.

Make the cake batter next. Start by preheating the oven to 325 degrees, Spray a 9×9 baking pan with baking spray (or grease and flour the pan) and set aside. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, until it resembles coarse peas with no visible chunks of butter remaining. Add the egg, egg white, vanilla, and the buttermilk. Beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until the batter if light and fluffy. Pour the batter into the cake pan and smooth into a nice, even layer.

Go back to the crumb topping. Use a fork to help crumble it into pea-sized pieces, if desired. I like to use my hands to smoosh it together and break off larger chunks. Sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake batter, covering it completely.

Bake cake until golden, about 30-40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in center should come out clean, indicating doneness.  Cool in pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Generously dust the cake with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.

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