Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake

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Crumb cake, a classic treat that has been savored for generations, stands out in the world of sweets with its distinctive texture and comforting flavors. This delightful dessert is known for its unique combination of a soft, tender cake base and a thick, buttery crumb topping—each element playing a crucial role in creating the perfect balance of moistness and crunch.

The origins of crumb cake can be traced back to Germany, where it is known as “Streuselkuchen.” German immigrants brought the concept to America, where it evolved into the crumb cake we know today. The American version typically emphasizes a more substantial crumb topping, which has become a beloved feature of this pastry.

One of the most appealing aspects of crumb cake is its versatility. It can be enjoyed at any time of day, making it a versatile choice for breakfast, brunch, or as a sweet end to a meal. Its simplicity is deceptive; while it may not boast the elaborate decorations of other desserts, its flavor and texture are sophisticated enough to please any palate.

The base of the crumb cake is similar to that of a butter cake, using staple ingredients like flour, sugar, eggs, and butter. However, it’s the proportion of these ingredients and the method of mixing that give the cake its characteristic light yet rich quality. The cake should be moist but not overly dense, providing a soft contrast to the crumbly topping.

Speaking of the topping, the crumbs are arguably the star of the show. They are typically made from a mixture of flour, sugar, cinnamon, and butter. The key to achieving the perfect crumb lies in the ratio of these ingredients and the size of the crumbs themselves. When done right, the topping should be golden brown, with a satisfyingly sandy texture that melts in your mouth.

Variations of crumb cake abound, with bakers adding their own twists to the classic recipe. Some incorporate fruit such as apples, blueberries, or peaches, which can add a tartness that complements the sweet crumbs. Others might infuse the cake with flavors like vanilla, almond, or even citrus zest to elevate the overall taste experience.

The process of making a crumb cake is a labor of love. It requires patience and precision, as the crumbs must be sprinkled evenly over the batter and baked to just the right degree of doneness. Achieving the perfect crumb cake is a testament to the baker’s skill, as it must strike the right balance between the tenderness of the cake and the firmness of the topping.

In addition to its delicious taste, crumb cake also holds a nostalgic charm for many. It’s often associated with family gatherings, holiday mornings, or cozy afternoons with a cup of coffee. There’s something about the simple pleasure of a slice of crumb cake that evokes memories and creates new ones.

Despite its humble appearance, crumb cake has a presence that can’t be ignored. It’s a reminder that sometimes the simplest things can be the most rewarding. Whether it’s the aroma of cinnamon wafting through the air or the anticipation of that first bite, crumb cake has a way of capturing the senses and bringing people together.

Moreover, crumb cake has found its way into the hearts of food enthusiasts beyond the home kitchen. Bakeries and cafes often feature their own versions of this classic, each with a slightly different take on the traditional recipe. From upscale patisseries to local coffee shops, crumb cake has secured its place as a menu staple.

The popularity of crumb cake has also led to its celebration in various forms of media. It has been featured in cookbooks, cooking shows, and food blogs, each highlighting the joy of baking and sharing this timeless treat. Social media platforms are filled with images of crumb cakes, inspiring bakers to showcase their creations and share tips and tricks for crafting the perfect cake.

In conclusion, crumb cake is more than just a dessert—it’s a symbol of comfort, tradition, and the simple pleasures of life. Its enduring appeal lies in its straightforward yet satisfying nature, a combination of soft cake and crunchy topping that has captured the hearts of dessert lovers everywhere. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or a newcomer to the world of sweets, the crumb cake is a delightful challenge worth undertaking, promising a reward that is as delicious as it is heartwarming.

Crumb Cake

Crumb Cake

Crumb cake is a delightful dessert featuring a fluffy cake base topped with a thick, buttery crumb topping.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 servings


  • ½ cup 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • cup granulated sugar
  • cup light brown sugar packed
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour


  • 1 ¼ cups cake flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into 1-inch pieces, room temperature
  • cup buttermilk room temperature
  • 1 large egg room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • confectioners’ sugar for serving


  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, including up the sides, leaving extra hanging over the edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.


  • To a medium bowl, add butter, sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to combine. Add the flour and stir until the mixture is completely combined. Be careful not to over mix or it can become like a paste.


  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed, add flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Mix to combine. Add butter pieces one at a time, mixing until there are no visible butter pieces and it has a very fine crumb, about 1 minute.
  • Add buttermilk, egg, yolk, and vanilla; beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping the bowl as needed.
  • Pour batter evenly into the prepared pan, spreading with a spatula if needed.
  • Using your hands or a fork, break up the topping into pieces. Spread the topping in an even layer on top of the batter.
  • Bake for 38-40 minutes or until crumbs are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes. Then, using the excess aluminum foil, lift the cake out of the pan to continue cooling.
  • Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.
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