New York-Style Crumb CakeI am CRAZY in love with Cook’s Illustrated Baking Book*. It’s been out for a few months now, and I have yet to find a baking recipe I do not like. Yeasted waffles, Bluberry Swirl Muffins, Blondies, Scones, Pizza, Naan – the lsit goes on and on!

See this crumb cake? I *LOVE* it, family loves, it’s just one of many recipes I keep making again and again. This crumb cake is perfect for a long weekend, and has been my current go-to for brunch. Divided into twelve portions, this will feed our family for about three breakfasts when served with something like an egg and fruit, or yogurt and fruit. A little goes a long way and perfect with a cup of coffee! (I can’t wait to try this as a muffin!)

A Note About Substitutions

Usually I’m all about the substitutions, but when America’s Test Kitchen specifically says “don’t try this at home kids” they really mean it. I recently made the crumb topping with all-purpose flour, DON’T! I really tried to find an answer, a video, a blog anything saying if they had tried it.

I had waited and waited for an answer, but went ahead and made the crumb cake with the AP flour topping. I figured flour, is flour in the topping right? NO. The texture looked the same to me, but it was really dry once it was done cooking. With the cake flour you can still smush the crumbs together with the back of a fork after cooking. Not as flavorful either.

Several hours after I was done baking, ATK sent me  a link to the video I guess they made explaining the recipe further (behind a paywall at time of writing.)

So: USE ONLY CAKE FLOUR! (Your mileage may vary with other flours as well.)

*Post contains affiliate links.

New York-Style Crumb Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Dense and flavorful crumb cake perfect for a breakfast or brunch crowd.
Recipe type: brunch, baking
Cuisine: American
Serves: 12
Crumb Topping
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ⅓ cup (2⅓ ounces) granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup packed (2⅓ ounces) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1¾ cups (7 ounces) cake flour
  • 1¼ cups (5 ounces) cake flour
  • ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (OR low fat yogurt, OR 1 tsp vinegar + milk to equal ⅓c)
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioners' sugar
  • Foil or Parchment paper
  • 8x8 Baking Pan
  • Non-stick spray

  • NOTE: Don't be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make a dry, tough cake. If you can't find buttermilk, you can substitute an equal amount of plain, low-fat yogurt. When topping the cake, take care to not push the crumbs into the batter. This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. If doubling, increase the baking time to about 45 minutes. Cooled, covered leftovers can be stored at room temperature for a few days.
  1. Adjust oven to rack to upper-middle position and pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Make a sling of foil or parchment in 8x8 pan. Lay the sheets perpendicular to each other, allowing the extra to hang over the edges of the pan. Smooth the corners up the side of the pan, and spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Make Topping
    -Whisk melted butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Break up any large pieces.
    -Slowly add flour while gently mixing together.
    -The mixture will look like a stiff dough, set aside to cool.
  4. Make Cake
    -In a stand mixer with paddle attachment combine: flour, sugar, baking soda and salt.
    -With mixer running, slowly add 1 tablespoon of butter at a time. Continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no chunks of butter, about 1-2 minutes.
    -Slowly add buttermilk, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Beat on medium-high until the batter is light and fluffy, about 1 minute.
  5. Pour batter into prepared baking pan, and spread evenly with a rubber spatula.
  6. Break crumb topping in pea-sized pieces, and spread in an even layer over batter beginning around the edges and working towards the center.
  7. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating pan once halfway through. Crumbs should be golden, and a toothpick should come out clean when inserted in the middle.
  8. Let cool on wire rack for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Remove cake from pan by lifting sling, and dust lightly with confectioners' sugar before serving.,breakfast,brunch,coffee cakeI am CRAZY in love with Cook's Illustrated Baking Book*. It's been out for a few months now, and I have yet to find a baking recipe I do not like. Yeasted waffles, Bluberry Swirl Muffins, Blondies, Scones, Pizza, Naan - the lsit goes on and on! See this crumb...Misadventures and fun in the kitchen and beyond