New York Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake

I’ve been thinking a lot about my grandparents lately, and all the little things that remind me of them.  From to the kitchen stash of sweetener and jelly packets pilfered from restaurants to afternoon Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, there are some things that always trigger happy childhood memories.  Of all the things that scream grandparents to me, crumb cake is in the top 10 of the list.  I can’t ever remember a time when mine didn’t have an Entenmann’s Crumb Coffee Cake on the kitchen counter next to the sink.  We had always referred to it simply as “coffee cake,” but I later learned that there are, in fact, several varieties of cake which can be called coffee cake.  No gathering was complete without a cup of coffee for the adults and a square of that sweet, buttery goodness for everyone.

I followed the recipe exactly, so I’m not going to repost the ingredients list here (but I will still gather them together for your viewing pleasure).  You can find the full recipe here.  This post is designed more to help you through the steps visually, as there are few changes I would make to this recipe.  In the future, I might use buttermilk instead of regular milk to add some moisture to the somewhat dry cake, but other than that, this is a pretty spot-on crumb cake.  While it may be easier (and more nostalgic) to go to the grocery store and buy that Entenmann’s Crumb Coffee Cake, this recipe is actually really easy and fun.

You will need the following ingredients:

 crumb cake ingredients

  • see the original recipe for the measurements
  • Don’t forget your baking ambiance!  This bakeventure was all about nostalgia and grandparents, so pick whatever reminds you of your grandparents (mine were partial to Frank Sinatra and anything with Spanish lyrics).

Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Grease a 9″x13″ baking pan (I used cooking spray and it came out fine).  Drop a small handful of flour in the pan and tilt it around until the whole thing is covered.  Throw out the excess.

prepared pan

Melt your butter and set it aside to cool.

Whisk together 1½ cups of the flour, the granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla, and canola oil (I won’t tell anyone if you substitute with a different oil).  Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients just until you have a lumpy batter.  Don’t over-mix it because it will make your cake tough (click on the images below to see them larger).

Spread the cake batter as evenly as possible in the prepared pan.  The consistency is more like a wet, stretchy cookie dough, so this will be a little difficult.  Just do your best to make sure it’s not too thick or thin anywhere and that it makes it all the way to the edges.

cake batter in the pan

In another bowl (or the same one you used for the dry ingredients for the cake), stir together the remaining 2½ cups flour, the brown sugar, and the cinnamon.  In this instance, it’s not particularly crucial to break up clumps of brown sugar unless they’re bigger than a large pea.

crumble dry ingredients

Pour the melted butter over the mixture and fold it in with a rubber spatula until it forms large crumbs.  You can’t really screw this part up (aside from perhaps under-mixing) because you can always crumble it a bit with your hands later.


Sprinkle the crumbs over the cake batter to cover it as evenly as possible.  Try not to leave any bald patches.

assembled crumb cake

Bake the cake for 10 minutes, turn the pan around, then bake for another 10 minutes.  Test it for doneness by sticking a toothpick in the center.  If the toothpick comes out clean, it’s done.  If not, bake the cake for another 3-5 minutes, being sure to watch it like a hawk to keep it from burning.

baked crumb cake

Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool completely on a trivet (or whatever else you use to keep hot things from burning your surfaces).  When it’s cool to the touch, sprinkle it with powdered sugar.

crumb cake

Slice it into squares with a sharp knife and enjoy!

New York Crumb Cake

P.S.  Happy belated Grandparents Day!

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