Bake 52 Week 19: New York-Style Crumb Cake

This was my week to host and as I browsed through the cookbook trying to decide what to choose, I really had no direction.  I wasn’t in the mood for anything in particular, so I just marked a few recipes that looked good to me and hoped one would stand out.  When I came to the recipe for New York-Style Crumb Cake, I knew it would be my pick.  I’m not a huge fan of cake in general, but I do love a good crumb cake, so I was excited to try this recipe out.

Unfortunately, I think it was a fail.

I attempted the recipe twice.  The first time, I had no dark brown sugar, so the cake came out of the oven looking like it was covered in raw sausage.  Yum.  The cake was also rather dry and unsatisfying. I used powdered buttermilk in this attempt and wondered if that might have had an effect.  I also had to bake the cake a good 10 minutes longer than the recipe suggested.

Knowing that my good friend Tiffany, who gives me my weekly progesterone shot, also loves crumb cake, I decided to make another attempt and let her help me taste test.  This time I tried cupcakes and used dark brown sugar.    I don’t think the crumbs came out looking anywhere near as dark as those in the picture in the cookbook, but they were slightly less raw-sausage-ish than my first cake.  The cake was still on the dry side though, in spite of using liquid buttermilk in place of powder.  And the cupcakes themselves baked up kind of weird and most of the crumbs drown in batter.  They weren’t pretty, but they at least tasted better than the first cake.

Sadly, I think I’m going to have to stick with my Krusteez crumb cake mix in favor of this recipe.  I hope everyone else had better success than I did (and in looking at the blogs today, it appears that they did)!  If you want to make an attempt yourself, here’s the recipe:

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Don’t be tempted to substitute all-purpose flour for the cake flour, as doing so will make a dry, tough cake.  Be sure not to press the crumbs into the batter, but rather, let them just rest on top.  This cake can be served warm or at room temperature.

Crumb Topping

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 TB unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 3/4 cups cake flour


1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 salt
6 TB unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces and softened
1 large egg, room temperature
1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk, room temperature
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

1. For the topping: Whisk the granulated and brown sugars, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter together in a medium bowl to combine. Stir in the flour until the mixture resembles a thick, cohesive dough. Let the crumb topping mixture rest at room temperature until needed.

2. For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325°. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil.

3. Whisk the flour, granulated sugar, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-low speed, beat the butter into the flour mixture, one piece at a time, about 30 seconds. Continue to beat the mixture until it resembles moist crumbs, 1 to 3 minutes.

4. Beat in the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the buttermilk until combined, about 30 seconds. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat the batter until smooth and fluffy, about 1 minute.

5. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and gently tap the pan on the counter to settle the batter. Break apart the crumb topping mixture into large pea-sized pieces and sprinkle it in an even layer over the batter, beginning at the edges and working toward the center.

6. Bake the cake until the crumbs are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out with a few most crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.

7. Let the cake cool slightly in the pan, about 30 minutes. If desired, remove the cake from the pan using the foil, then dust with confectioners’ sugar before serving.

I was so underwhelmed that I didn’t even take the time to stage a nice picture with a slice of the cake.  The kids thought it was good and ate it anyway…but a good share of this went into the trash.  Bummer!



6 Responses to “Bake 52 Week 19: New York-Style Crumb Cake”

  1. Em Says:

    Bummer that it didn’t work out for you. I’m not sure what happened. Ours was great. Nick is planning to make it again while I’m gone. We’ll see how his turns out.

  2. Talesha Says:

    I’m sorry you didn’t like it, but I’m so glad you picked it because I LOVED it – I think I would have dug it out of your trash! I like that you tried it in muffin tins, I think I’ll do that next time.

  3. Bekah Says:

    I think both of your attempts look great. Good idea to do them as muffins… yum. I didn’t use dark brown sugar either, wish I would have, cause I had the same sausage-ish looking feeling about my crumbs. But they tasted super. Great pick. I don’t think I had ever made a crumb cake before… but I LOVE coffee cake!

  4. Amanda Says:

    I wish I was more of a crumb cake connoisseur so I could weigh in with a more credible opinion. I agree that it could be more moist, or at least mine could have been, but I haven’t tried a box either. And great minds think alike. 🙂

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