You’ll love this New York Crumb Cake, with a thick cinnamon and sugar crumb topping over a coffee cake base. Simply whip up a deliciously tender crumb cake batter and top with a generous layer of homemade crumb topping, this sweet treat is perfect as breakfast or dessert!
Though I live in sunny Massachusetts now, I’m a Jersey girl at heart. Every trip back east wouldn’t be complete without a coffee and a piece of my favorite New York-style crumb cake.
New York crumb cake (sometimes also called New Jersey crumb cake) is all about the crumb topping. Forget a big cake with a thin layer of crumbles – New York crumb cakes have crumb toppings that are just as thick (sometimes THICKER!) than the cake itself.
That’s why I’m super excited to share my version of the east coast favorite. So brew a cup of coffee and enjoy this ultimate breakfast crumb cake recipe!
Ingredients You’ll Need //
Chances are good that you have everything you need to make this incredible New York crumb cake. It’s made with pantry ingredients.
Cake ingredients //
- Flour: All-purpose flour works best for crumb cakes. APF is a hearty flour that will create a tender yet strong cake that holds the crumb layer.
- Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens and mixes to soften the cake.
- Baking powder: Baking powder helps the cake rise and become light and fluffy.
- Salt: Salt plays many roles in baking. Including adding balanced flavor and mixing with other ingredients to provide a soft-textured cake.
- Egg: You’ll only need one egg, which will be a binder and add moisture to the cake.
- Milk: Milk adds moisture to the ingredients and helps them mix well together. I used 2%, whole milk or 1% will also work well in this recipe.
- Oil: Oil adds moisture to the cake and helps ingredients mix together. I used canola oil, but any light-flavored vegetable oil will work as well.
- Vanilla extract: Vanilla extract adds a rich flavor to crumb cake.
Crumb topping ingredients //
- Flour: All-purpose flour is the foundation of crumb topping.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar lends sweetness to the crumb topping. Its thick granules also provide a crumbly texture when mixed with flour.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is a key flavoring for a crumb topping mix.
- Butter: Butter binds all of the crumb topping ingredients together. We are not skimping on it in this recipe. (Yes, we’re using two sticks of butter…and it’s worth it!)
- Powdered sugar: A sprinkling of powdered sugar after baking tops off this decadent and delicious cake!
How to Make // The Steps
- Preheat oven and prep pan. Preheat your oven to 325° F and prepare a 9×13 baking dish by spraying with cooking spray, then set aside.
- Make the crumb topping. I like to make the crumb topping first so that it’s ready to go after the cake ingredients are mixed. Simply add flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon to a large bowl and mix to combine. Then pour in melted sticks of butter. Using a fork, mix until the ingredients are wet but form large clumps, or “crumbs”, then set aside.
- Mix the cake batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Then in a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla and whisk until completely combined.
- Then pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl, and mix until they are just combined.
- Pour batter and add crumbs. Pour the cake batter into the sprayed baking pan. Spread until it fills the pan evenly. (It will seem as if there is not enough batter, but the cake will rise).
- Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the entire surface of the batter. Press down very lightly to make sure the bottom of the crumb topping is set in the cake batter.
- Bake and serve: Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Rotate the pan once halfway through baking. When the cake is done, remove it from the oven and let cool completely. Then sprinkle with powdered sugar over the top of the cake before serving.
Crumb cake is any type of moist or dense cake that is typically topping with a streusel-type crumb topping. Coffee cake, on the other hand, is served with or without the crumb topping. All crumb cakes are considered coffee cakes, but not all coffee cakes are crumb cakes.
Crumb cake does not need to be refrigerated before or after baking. However, if you prepare the batter and crumb topping ahead of time, you can place the pan with the batter and crumb topping in the refrigerator up to two days before baking. Also, baked and finished crumb cake can be kept longer after baking by refrigerating (up to five days for best flavor and texture).
If your crumb topping for crumb cake is melting when baked, that means you have too much butter or liquid and not enough dry ingredients like flour and brown sugar. The crumb topping should be moist but very thick when mixed. If it is too thin, add more flour and brown sugar until you have a thick, clumpy crumb consistency.
Recipe Tips //
- Cake pan options: I use a 9×13 baking pan for this crumb cake recipe, but you could also use a 9×9 or 8×8 inch cake pan as well. These smaller cake pans will mean the batter will not spread as far, which means a taller cake to crumb ratio. If you do use a smaller pan, you may need to bake a few minutes longer and check doneness by inserting a toothpick until it comes out clean.
- Tip for making big crumbs for crumb topping: My personal crumb cake preference is for a large, clumpy, crumb topping that is almost as high as the cake itself. To achieve this, I make sure the crumb topping ingredients are wet enough from the butter and also that they are not overmixed (which will break up the crumbs).
- Though it will be hard, let the cake cool before serving. It’s key to let the cake cool before serving, as it is a light cake that needs the cooling time to really set and form its texture. Trust me, the wait is worth it!
Variations of New York Crumb Cake //
Crumb cake variations are truly endless! Below are a few flavor combination ideas, but get creative and try out your favorite ingredients to make this crumb cake recipe your own to serve.
- Coffee-infused: Add a touch of brewed coffee in place of milk in the cake batter and add coffee grounds to the crumb topping for a caffeinated cake treat.
- Chocolate: Add cocoa powder to the cake and a few sprinkled chocolate chips in the crumb topping for a chocolate take on crumb cake.
- Add a liquor: Mix in a bit of Gran Marnier or Amaretto to the cake mix and sprinkle the crumb topping with orange zest for a citrus-liquor twist.
- Fruit-filled: Add blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries to the cake and the crumb topping for a fresh fruit version of crumb cake.
How to Store and Freeze New Jersey Crumb Cake //
- Storing: Store leftover cake (if you have any) in a pan covered with foil or an airtight container on the countertop for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five days.
- Freezing: Freeze leftover cake wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw by removing from the freezer and letting thaw in the refrigerator for one day before serving. The texture will not be as moist as before freezing, but this cake does hold up after freezing and thawing (and is just as delicious).