Super Crumb Coffee Cake

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs!

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

 Because the crumb part… is the best part.

If you’re anything like me, you pick off the crumb topping from your coffee cake.  Or you take the piece with the most crumb topping on it.  If I could make a meal out of crumb topping… believe me, I would.

This is a cinnamon, sugary, buttery crumb-topped coffee cake. Heavy on the crumb.

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Today’s coffee cake is an easy-to-follow recipe.  This homemade version of the classic is a far cry from any of those overly-sweet, fake-tasting store bought versions you may be used to. It’s buttery, moist, soft, and pairs well with a morning cup of coffee. Let’s face it, this coffee cake will pair well with an afternoon cup o’ joe too.  Actually, the coffee is optional. You’ll love this cake no matter what you’re drinking with it.

I got the recipe from my favorite cookbook. The bible of baking, I like to call it. A 1,000+ page book of kitchen-tested recipes, tutorials, and baking tips. My Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe – trust me, you need this cookbook. They are the culinary geniuses behind my Death by Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies.

The cookbook doesn’t call this cake “super-crumb.”  I do. I baked the crumb cake in a smaller pan than what the recipe states, making the crumb layer in my version thicker for each piece.  Kevin had a slice and asked if there was more crumb topping leftover. Even the “super crumb” wasn’t enough for him. I knew I was marrying this man for a reason. 😉

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

What makes this coffee cake so easy is that the crumb-topping and cake batter all start in the same bowl.  The crumb topping’s ingredients (butter, flour, & sugar) is essentially the cake’s ingredients without any liquid. A recipe deriving both cake and crumb topping from the same mixture was a selling point for me.

Simply combine your flour, sugar, salt, and cut in the butter. I used a whisk to cut the butter in and a large fork to mix everything around until the mixture resembled course crumbs.  Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture and continue with the rest of the cake batter ingredients.

The cup you set aside is your crumb topping. How easy is that?

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

The recipe calls for buttermilk.  There are no substitutions for buttermilk here.  I tried.  Since I no longer work in the office, I had the spare minute to test this recipe a couple of times.  Buttermilk is one of the culprits for how moist the cake’s crumb is.  Trust me, you can’t leave it out!  It’s required for this recipe – the lactic acid present is what will allow the baking soda to react and leaven the cake. If you buy a carton of buttermilk, you can use the extra in my Triple Chocolate Layer Cake.

You can always make your own buttermilk at home using regular milk + lemon juice.  Here’s how I’ve done it before: Measure 2 teaspoons of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup.  Then, add enough milk (1%, 2%, or whole) to the same measuring cup until it reaches 3/4 cup.  Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes.  The homemade “buttermilk” will be somewhat curdled and ready to use in your recipe.

Another requirement? Room temperature egg.  Don’t worry, I have a shortcut for that too: Place the egg in a bowl of warm/hot water for 5-10 minutes as you get your other ingredients ready. Easy!

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

The original recipe called for nuts, but I chose to leave them out.  I increased the vanilla extract used and the brown sugar used as well. I also increased the cinnamon, as per the usual. Love cinnamon.

This cake is a wonderful option to make ahead the night before brunch or even a holiday breakfast, like Mother’s Day coming soon. If busy mornings are the norm in your house, make this coffee cake ahead of time.  That’s exactly what I did. I made it on Saturday morning and on Sunday, it still tasted incredibly fresh. The crumbs were piled high, the cake hidden underneath was moist and tender, and the taste?  Oh so cinnamon-buttery.

In some bites, the crumb layer was thicker than the cake layer! Amazing.

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

Old-fashioned crumb coffeecake at its finest, my friends.

Follow me on Instagram and tag #sallysbakingaddiction so I can see all the SBA recipes you make. 

Super-Crumb Coffee Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon flour, for coating the pan
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (measured correctly)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, firm and cold
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature1
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature2
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Generously spray a 9-inch springform pan3 with cooking spray or grease with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 Tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess.
  2. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl until combined. Cut in the butter in very small pieces using a pastry blender or mix with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the butter/flour mixture.
  3. Mix the baking powder and baking soda into the remaining flour mixture. Add the room temperature buttermilk, egg, and vanilla - you may want to do this with a mixer. The batter is very, very thick. Vigorously mix everything together until the batter is smooth, fluffy, and resembles frosting - about 2 full minutes. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Toss with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressingly lightly so they stick. Bake the cake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - 50-58 minutes. Mine took 55 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then remove the sides of the springform pan and allow cake to cool completely before serving (about 2 hours).
  5. Make ahead tip: Cake tastes best on day 1 or day 2. The cake may be made 1 day in advance. Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cake can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes:

1See note in the post about buttermilk substitution.

2See note in the post about bring egg to room temperature quickly.

3Don't have a springform pan? Use a 9x9x2 (not 8-inch) square baking dish.

Update: Crumbs are likely to sink to the bottom of the cake is your butter is not firm enough, therefore making a crumb too soft to stay put on top. You can try using frozen butter and cutting that into the mixture with your pastry blender.

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

 

 

You won’t mind waking up to a few of my similar recipes for breakfast!

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

Homemade Monkey Bread with Caramel Sauce

 

Raspberry Chocolate Coffee Cake

Dark Chocolate Raspberry Coffee Cake

 

Iced Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Iced Pumpkin Coffee Cake

 

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

 

After one bite of this coffee cake, breakfast will seem like a real treat.

A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs! Recipe at sallysbakingaddiction.com

376 comments

  1. I ADORE this breakfast cake! I originally made it following the recipe exactly, and it was very good. The next time I made it, I added another tablespoon of butter to the crumb mixture and it helped the crumb topping hold together a bit better. When making the cake today, I realized I had dark brown sugar and used it in the crumb topping. What a wonderful discovery! It adds another layer of flavor to this delicious cake!

  2. Sally, thank you for sharing this recipe. Made it for this morning’s staff meeting; and everyone loved it! Could this recipe be used for coffee cake muffins?

  3. Thank you for such a great recipe! J wanted to let you know it translates to gluten free perfectly! I converted it to gluten free 1:1 with the Pillsbury GF flour mix and the results are delicious!!! 

  4. You are quickly becoming my go to site for quick and easy, but oh so delicious recipes! As the mother of a very active 13 month old….quick is a necessity!! 🙂

  5. We had been eating those store bought streussel cakes and I finally decided to make one from scratch. My cake came out a little darker than thw picture (I was looking for that yellow buttery color but it was more of a tan or brown sugar color) but it was moist and fluffy.  I probably could have taken it out of the oven a few minutes earlier because the edges were a bit overbrowned but I will make this again. I had to laugh though because at first bite it didn’t taste like a store bought coffee cake that we had become used to! Lol. I had it with french vanilla ice cream for dessert and my husband dipped his in milk…..he loves it!

  6. This recipe was fantastic. I made just one adjustment; I added a half a cup of dark chocolate, chocolate chips to the batter. This was the most delicious Super Crumb Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake. 

  7. Hi Sally! I have only made this coffee cake one other time, even then the topping sank. I have it in the oven and upon looking at it, the topping has been completely swallowed up by the cake. I made the flour mixture yesterday, kept it in the fridge, separated 1 cup today & put it in the freezer for 40 mins while the egg came to room temp. I also waited until I put the batter in the springform until I topped it. Any idea why it sank? Thanks a bunch.

  8. This coffee cake is delicious I did add 8 oz of Cream cheese to the batter and the top crumble because I needed to use it up. It is so good! Thank you for this recipe!

  9. Hi Sally ! I love your recipes because I know I’ll get exactly same thing shown in pictures when I try anything from your website 🙂 . Only the problem is with this cake. I made it two times. Although it tasted absolutely delicious, it’s CRUMBS were somewhat powdery. Not like yours (big chunks). And also yours had a brownish- caramel like color mine was just plain white/ beige. I made sure my butter was frozen. I really really liked it and want to improve its “outlook”. Can you plz help me out in guiding what did I do wrong?

    • Blue, you can try to form larger crumbs with your hands– so, after setting aside the 1 cup of crumbs– use you hands to squeeze some of the crumbles together to form larger clumps. Does this make sense? As for the color– is your cake cooked through? Check your oven temperature (use an oven thermometer!) to make sure the temperature is accurate. If so, turn the oven temp up 10 or 15 degrees to help get those edges/top brown.

      • Ooooh wow ok now I know how to make those big chunks. Thank you !
        And yes I use oven thermometer 🙂 . I’ll follow ur instructions closely next time I bake this coffee cake. Keep posting wonderful recipes for us !! 

  10. Wow!  Thanks for this recipe!  AMAZING and really hard to mess up.  I had a very running batter, so when I saw you said it was very, very thick, I panicked and added half a cup of the reserved crumble topping.  That did the trick for the batter, so I made a bit of extra crumble topping to go on top and viola!  It worked perfectly.  I also thought maybe it was a bit moist and possibly I didn’t cook it long enough but I just went on faith and once it cooled it was perfect!  Thank you so much!  Love all your recipes! Can’t wait to try more.

  11. I want to make these into muffins. Mini or medium.  Do you know what the timing would be in the oven? Thanks! 
    I tried it last week and it was delicious in the springform pan. 

  12. I think I’m going to attempt to make this in a bundt pan, then cut off the top, core out some around the middle, put in some apple pie filling, put the top back on, and frost it with snickerdoodle frosting for Christmas. 

    This is my favorite, and most baked, recipe from you. Thank you so much!

  13. I just made this for some last minute New Year’s Day company – fabulous! The cake was so moist and soft and the crumb topping was fantastic! Thanks for sharing this!

  14. I have either a 8.5″ or a 9.5″ springform pan. I guess I should use the 9.5″? Just curious why you recommend going to a 9″ square instead of an 8″ square if no round pans are available, since an 8″ square is the same surface area as a 9″ round…
    Or does it have to do with your recommendation that it be baked in a square (glass) dish? Baking is a mystery. Just want to make sure I don’t make it so thin that it dries out. Thanks!

    • I would use the 9.5 inch springform pan.

      • The recipe is delicious!  I used the 9.5 springform. My cake didn’t rise much, but was fluffy enough inside. I feel like all the crumbs may have restricted rising.   But my crumbs didn’t sink, and the overall result was a recipe better than any of the Joy of Cooking coffee cakes that I have made through the years. thanks

  15. This is the best coffee cake I’ve ever had.  Similar to (dare I say, better than) Starbucks. Even my picky husband loved it. 

  16. I came across this recipe early before anyone woke up and thought what a nice surprise for breakfast! I whipped it up before my husband and stepdaughter woke up, and an hour later we had a warm, delicious coffee cake! It was SO easy to make- and it was DELICIOUS. I used the buttermilk substitution (milk + lemon juice) and it came out super moist. Love!!! Will be making again!!!

  17. This is in the oven as I type this! I used my food processor to cut the butter into the flour. Easy peasy!

  18. This recipe is the absolute bomb! I was wondering if I can double the recipe and use a 9 x 13 inch pyrex to bake it or should I make two batches to serve to the crew?

    • I recommend baking two separate cakes. Working with less batter reduces the chances of you overmixing the batter. Overmixing leads to a super dense crumbed cake, not something we want with this!

      • Thanks for you input. I agree, we do not want a dense crumbed cake!  I will follow your advice. 🙂

  19. Absolutely delicious and perfect in every way. So moist!! We did not wait two hours for it to cool because, even though I trust your instruction, it smelled way too good. Plus, it’s almost bed time. This could not wait another 8 hours!!! My husband said its the best cake I’ve ever baked. So, thanks! Also, just a note, I used a 9 inch cake pan because my square is 8″ and I don’t have a spring form. All good. Love love love this cake! 

  20. This was amazing! My four year old loved to help make this and couldn’t wait to eat it!!

  21. I looked online for NY style crumbcake and found this recipe. I ultimately decided to try it because it uses AP flour. I’ve fallen in love with this recipe and have made it many times. It’s very adaptable, and tastes great with blueberries, a swirl of raspberry jam, fresh cranberries, or chopped apple added to the batter. It was even great the first time I made it and added the baking soda and powder BEFORE cutting in the butter and reserving the one cup for the crumb topping (Note: Don’t start baking at midnight!). Thank you for sharing.

    I’m writing because I have two questions.

    1. How does this recipe compare with the Cooks Illustrated recipe that calls for cake flour? They’re both from the same publisher, and I was wondering how similar or different they are. Have you (or anyone) done a baking and taste test comparison?

    2. This is probably a crazy question, but has anyone ever made this cake without the crumb topping? Just to clarify, don’t reserve the 1 cup mixture for the crumb, but bake it all as the cake part? I know, I know, who’d want to make crumb cake without the crumb?

    • Hi Ann,
      Did you try to make this recipe without removing the 1 cup for the crumble? I have extra crumb from a previous batch and want to make the cake without having to take out extra crumb.
      Thanks!

    • Hi y’all. I actually came across this recipe, looking for a coffee cake to use up a batch of brown sugar topping. It was made for sweet potato casserole, but somehow multiplied exponentially. So, I did make it without reserving the one cup of flour sugar mixture . Simply used heaping measurs of baking powder and soda. While potentially not the same as the texture of the original recipe, It came out great- highly approved by my family. 

      • Miriam, sorry it took so long to reply I went on a baking hiatus for the summer. No I didn’t try baking the cake without reserving the 1 cup for the crumb, but I see that Miss Abbie Jean did so, and she thinks it came out great. So thanks Miss Abbie Jean for answering the question Miriam and I had.

        Now maybe if I wait long enough someone will bake the two recipes from Cooks Illustrated (my first question) and tell us how they compare!

  22. Awesome recipe Sally. Am hoping you might tell me how I could use this recipe and add coffee to it? Me and my boys would appreciate that! Thanks

    , Ben

  23. I would like to add lemon type sauce drizzled over. How would I do this

  24. Hi Sally,
    I’m slightly confused with one of your steps in your recipe…
    Am I to add all the cut up butter in the flour mixture first or take one cup of flour and set aside and put all the cut up butter in that one cup of flour??? I think I made it wrong 🙁

    Please advise.  Thank you.

    Diana

  25. Um… Shouldn’t a coffee cake have coffee in it?

    • “coffee cakes” don’t necessarily have coffee in them. I know it’s a little confusing! There is no coffee in this crumb cake recipe. Just because a word is in the name, doesn’t mean it is that. French fries, for example, aren’t actually French, and you don’t add French people to the fries. 

    • Coffee cake is meant to be eaten with  a cup of coffee. 😉

    • People who craving for caffiene dessert who doesn’t know what coffee cake really are, would be very disappointed about this.. heheheehe.

    • I like to make this cake with a Mocha Mousse or a simple syrup drizzle that I make with espresso instead of water

  26. I love this recipe! I’ve made it before as a cake but I made it this time as muffins and they were great! A double batch made about 18 large muffins, but there was tons of leftover crumbs! (I made 3 double batches and the first double batch of crumble was enough for the next 2 rounds.) How can i make the recipe again without having to take out some mixture for the crumble, because now I have a whole bag of it in my freezer!
    Thanks!

  27. I made this yesterday and it was easy AND delicious! I added some frozen wild blueberries I had on hand and it was super yummy. I thought this was so great I shared it on Facebook with my recommendation! Thanks!

  28. everyone listen up i made this cake it was delicious everyone loved it.everytime I want to make something i come to sally everything she has on her website is delicious I still have so many things to try on her website thank you sally  for you sharing your recipes with us!!!!

  29. I feel like I’ve commented on this recipe before (whoops), but I just remembered I remade this cake last week for my neighbour who had a rough surgery and took it over to her. She emailed me yesterday to thank me, tell me how delicious it was, and to say to send her the recipe! Thanks so much Sally for helping me help an elderly neighbour smile during a tough time 🙂 

  30. I’ve made this recipe about 3 times in the last 2 weeks because people keep asking me to make it for them! I have gotten RAVE reviews from everybody who has eaten it! OMG it is so delicious and addictive! Love this recipe!

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