New York-Style Crumb Cake

This is mega buttery and moist New York-style crumb cake with EXTRA brown sugar cinnamon crumb topping. Yes, the crumb topping is just as thick as the cake layer! The topping is soft, not crunchy, and the cake is perfectly sweet. If you’re looking for a classic go-to crumb cake recipe, this one’s mine. You’ll fall in love too.

New York-style crumb cake

I’ve published a plethora of crumb cake/coffee cake/breakfast cake recipes on my website. One of my forever favorites has been (and will always be!) my apple crumb cake. Usually prepared a few times during the fall months, this tall towering beauty is buttery, moist, and absolutely LOADED with a soft crumb topping. Readers have loved this breakfast cake too.

My sour cream crumb cake recipe is similar– soft and cakey– though smaller and comes with fewer crumbs on top. Last month, I decided to combine both recipes to make a “plain” crumb cake that’s just as irresistible as my apple version and still boasts those delicious brown sugar cinnamon flavors.

That’s where we land on my New York-style crumb cake recipe.

Perfect New York-Style Crumb Cake

When I asked bakers for their opinion on what makes crumb cake “New York style”, most said the description means extra crumb topping with a soft and buttery tight-crumbed (but not dense) cake underneath. Today’s recipe checks all those boxes. Some highlights:

  • Soft, yet sturdy cake layer
  • Same ingredients used in both layers
  • Crumb topping as thick as the cake itself
  • Topped with a dusting of powdered sugar
  • Crumb topping is soft (not hard or crunchy)

It’s perfect.

New York-style crumb cake

Ingredients for Crumb Cake

This is a butter and sour cream based cake, so you already know it’s going to be flavorful, tender, and moist. The ingredients in the cake and crumb topping are mostly the same, which is extra convenient– especially since you’re likely making this before you’ve had your morning coffee. Good morning!

  • Flour: All-purpose flour is the structure of this cake. It’s sturdy enough to support the thick wet ingredients and crumb layer on top.
  • Baking Soda + Baking Powder: Baking soda and baking powder help the cake rise.
  • Granulated Sugar: Granulated sugar sweetens the cake.
  • Butter: Butter adds flavor and provides structure in the creaming process.
  • Sour Cream: Sour cream is the star of the show. It helps us achieve texture bliss– this cake is a little heavier than fluffy white cake. It has tight crumbs like pound cake, but it’s not quite as dense. Somewhere in between both cakes!
  • Eggs: Three eggs add moisture and bind the cake together.
  • Salt + Vanilla Extract: Use both for flavor.
  • Cinnamon: We can’t have crumb cake topping without cinnamon!
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar promises a soft, moist, sweet, and flavorful crumb topping layer.

crumb cake batter

How to Make New York-Style Crumb Cake

  1. Make the crumb topping. I like to make the crumb first so it’s ready to go as soon as the cake batter is done.
  2. Whisk the dry ingredients together.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together. Then add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla, and beat until combined. The mixture may look curdled– that’s OK and simply a result of varying textures/temperatures trying to emulsify.
  4. Combine wet & dry ingredients. The batter will be thick and creamy.
  5. Spread batter into pan. A 9×13 inch pan is best for this volume of batter.
  6. Add crumb topping to the top of the cake. Press it down so it sticks.
  7. Bake. If you find the top and/or edges of the cake are browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover the cake with aluminum foil. This is a large cake, so it takes at least 45-50 minutes to bake through.

Feel free to dust with confectioners’ sugar right before serving, too!

crumb topping for crumb cake

new york crumb cake photos

Soft (Not Crunchy) Crumb Topping

Now it’s time to chat about that luxurious crumb topping. Have you ever had crunchy streusel topping before? It’s good, but not quite what I’m delivering to you today. This crumb topping is thick and soft, as long as it’s not over-mixed or over-baked. Think of it like soft cookie crumbles on top of your breakfast cake. YES!

3 Tricks to the Best Crumb Topping

  1. Follow the order of ingredients. First, mix brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt together. Whisk in melted butter. Finally, use a fork to lightly mix in the flour. If you add the flour before the butter, the flour will absorb it all before the sugar can.
  2. Do not over-mix. You want a crumbly topping, so don’t over-mix the ingredients after you add the flour. If you mix everything too much, you’ll end up with paste instead of big crumbles. Yes, I’m literally telling you to do LESS!
  3. Press the topping into the cake. When you add the crumble topping on top of the cake batter, gently press it down into the cake layer so it sticks.

New York crumb cake

New York-style crumb cake

Cake for breakfast is always a good idea. This crumb layer is half of the entire cake and I haven’t heard any complaints about that! Nothing short of a dream.

Treat Yourself with These Breakfast Recipes

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New York-style crumb cake

New York Style Crumb Cake

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
  • Yield: serves 12
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This is my favorite recipe for classic New York-style crumb cake. The cake is buttery and moist and you’ll definitely enjoy the thick crumb topping!


Ingredients

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (310g) all purpose flourspoon & leveled

Cake

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (310g) all purpose flourspoon & leveled
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks; 170g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (240g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 2 teaspoonpure vanilla extract
  • optional: confectioners’ sugar for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 9×13 inch baking pan or line with parchment paper. You can use a glass, ceramic, or metal baking pan. The bake time is similar for each, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. Metal baking pans cook cakes faster. Set pan aside.
  2. Make the crumb topping: Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and salt together in a medium bowl. Stir in the melted butter, then gently mix the flour using a fork. Keep the mixture as large crumbles, do not over-mix. If over-mixed, this will turn into a thick paste. Set aside.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together. Set aside.
  4. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and granulated sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, and the vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until combined. The mixture may look curdled; that’s ok. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl as needed. With the mixer on low speed, mix in the dry ingredients until smooth. Do not over-mix. The batter will be thick, creamy, and sticky.
  5. Spread the batter evenly into prepared baking pan. Top with crumb topping. Using a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon, press the crumb topping tightly down into the cake so it sticks.
  6. Bake for 45-55 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours and begin checking at 45 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top or edges of the cake is/are browning too quickly in the oven, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  7. Remove the cake from the oven and set on a wire rack. Allow to slightly cool for at least 30-45 minutes before cutting. If desired, dust with confectioners’ sugar before slicing and serving. Use a sifter/fine mesh sieve.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Prepare cake through step 7. Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, add icing if desired, and serve.
  2. Sour Cream: Sour cream is a key ingredient in this cake. I don’t suggest subbing the sour cream with a liquid– plain full-fat yogurt would work though. I don’t recommend removing fat from this cake by using a lower fat yogurt or sour cream alternative.
  3. Room Temperature: All refrigerated items should be at room temperature so the batter mixes together easily and evenly. Read here for more information.
  4. Crumb Cake Muffins: Interested in making this cake into muffins? Standard size muffins (12 count muffin pan) or jumbo size muffins (6 count muffin pan) are best– I don’t recommend mini muffins because the crumbs are too large. Grease muffin cups or line muffin pan(s) with liners. Fill with batter to the near top of the muffin cup. Press crumbs tightly on top of the batter to help prevent them from falling off as the muffins rise. Bake at 425°F for 5 minutes, then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C) and continue to bake for 15-17 for regular size muffins (20-22 minutes total) or another 22-23 minutes for jumbo size muffins (27-28 minutes total). Yields at least 2 dozen standard muffins and 10 jumbo muffins.

Keywords: cake, crumb cake, breakfast cake

61 Comments

  1. This looks so good, Sally! I’m a sucker for streusel, and the amount on this crumb cake looks amazing. And you’re right, cake for breakfast is DEFINITELY a good idea!

  2. This looks amazingly good, Sally! I have tried and love your apple crumb cake (♡♡♡), so this one is obviously going to be just as delicious 🙂 Sometimes the simplest things have the best flavor! Would it be possible to incorporate some kind of cinnamon sugar ripple through this cake, like in your sour cream coffee cake? In my book, extra cinnamon takes things from terrific to T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C!! And I’m definitely hoping on board the Cake For Breakfast train; at least once in a while anyway! Sometimes you just need to indulge a little, take a break from all the yoghurt and granola and bran cereal 😀

  3. Sally, I’m so glad I was still up to see this recipe. As I like to bake something special for our Sabbath (along with my homemade challah) I will hopefully make it tomorrow morning. I am excited about the soft crumb topping (I do live in NYC!) and hope it comes out like that. I don’t appreciate when the topping gets crunchy. Now I can go to sleep with a smile on my face, dreaming of a yummy baked good.

      1. Cake is cooling and I stole a corner to taste. It’s delicious and the crumb is perfect. I made it in 2 8″ pans so we can have one today and I will freeze one for another week, or give it to my daughters who always appreciate my baking. I just tell them its a Sally recipe and they know it will be good. By the way, I always chill my crumbs while making the cake batter. They come out more ‘crumby’ and are easier to break apart with your fingers to sprinkle. As I don’t generally bake dairy, I substituted the sour cream with a non dairy sour cream and a little soy milk (because I didn’t have a full cup of sour cream. Yummm!!

  4. Sally,
    Love your recipes and always the extra time and effort you give to produce such a perfect product! Can you make this In two 8×8 baking pans?

      1. Good Morning Sally!
        Just baked this in two 8×8 pans and will freeze one and eat one! Simply fabulous smell and delicious!

  5. Sally, I’ve been making crumb cake for years & it always gets raves. My recipe is similar, however, after making my topping I freeze the ‘crumb clumps’ while making the batter. I find that this makes bigger crumbs that keep their shape which my family prefers.

  6. Good morning:

    This looks so good.

    I have a question .

    I want to make this cake but my husband can not eat any kind of cheese, sour cream .
    So how can I substitute the sour cream?

    Thank you and have a good day.

    Olga.

    1. I generally don’t bake dairy so I substitute the sour cream and cream cheese (none in this recipe) with Tofutti brand or Wayfair brand sour cream and cream cheese. They work beautifully, are available in most large groceries and you really cannot taste the difference, even in frostings that are not baked.

  7. I was just looking for a cake recipe made in a 9 x 13 pan to bring to work. I think I found it! Thank you Sally!!

  8. I will be making this soon! Love crumb cake but don’t like to have to chisel through the topping! This version sounds perfect. And also wanted to let you know I made your peanut chicken with zucchini noodles this past Sunday. What a hit! Everyone loved it, there was not one morsel left over and it has been requested to be served every Sunday

    1. Absolutely! For the 3 eggs, I recommend using 1 egg then cracking a 2nd egg, beating it, and using half of it. Use an 8-inch or 9-inch square baking pan. The oven temperature stays the same, but the oven time will be shorter. Enjoy!

  9. Thank you for the recipe! I am looking for something to take to a church meeting that would be easy for people to pick up and eat with their hands. Do you have any idea how long it would need to bake if I split the batter and topping into mini muffin pans? I appreciate how much testing and work goes into all of your recipes….thank you!

    1. Hi Trina! I don’t recommend mini muffins, but standard size muffins or jumbo muffins would be great! See my recipe note.

  10. Sally,

    What is the paper you used in the pan? 2020 is my year to learn new techniques & bake more & ive seen the paper a lot lately but have never tried it!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Shannon! I use pre-cut unbleached (brown) parchment paper sheets– you can find them on Amazon or at some grocery stores.

  11. Hi Sally! This looks INCREDIBLE and I can’t wait to make it! Question: My dad adores raisins — do you think I could add them to the cake batter without compromising the recipe results? Thanks so much for sharing your talents, expertise, and time with us!

  12. This looks incredible! I was wondering how this would work as muffins? Would you suggest a bake time of about 18~20 minutes at one temperature? Or would I do 425° for 5 minutes and then lower to 350° for 16~18 minutes to create a high top muffin?

    1. I made this recipe and it was off the chart delicious! So yum. I used a glass baking dish and turned my oven down 25 degrees. Perfection.

  13. Hi Sally! This cake looks delicious and I cannot wait to make it! I see in your photo that you used a glass 9×13 pan. Is that what you suggest using? I have a glass one as well as a metal one. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Megan, I always bake this in a my glass pan, but you can use a glass, ceramic, or metal baking pan. Metal baking pans cook cakes faster so if using one be sure to watch it and use a toothpick to test for doneness.

  14. Being a Jersey girl living in PA, when I saw this I was ready! Didn’t care that I was watching calories and mixer was hidden. It’s sitting on counter in all its glory waiting to share, maybe, with my kids. Family brunch tomorrow but it may not last that long. This is the only breakfast cake I’ll ever need. Thank you!

  15. This is definitely going on my “to bake” list. These best part of a crumb cake are the crumbs. You can never have too many crumbs. Will let you know how it turns out.

  16. I did not see the note in the recipe that metal pans bake the cake more quickly, so I cooked it too long – 50 minutes – and it was a little dry. It was still good, but I do wish it had been more moist. The moral of the story is to be sure check on your crumb cake as it bakes!
    One more note: Next time I will amp up the flavor and add a little extra vanilla to the cake batter.

  17. Hi Sally I made this Saturday, and my husband proceeded to devour most of it. Thankfully I stuck some in the freezer before he got started.

    This is a really well written recipe, kudos to you on that! I like the way you give good visual cues, Through the process. I think that is helpful to any baker, ( No matter what level of expertise) following a new or different recipe.
    I found this to be an easy recipe, yielding great results! Thanks again!
    Ps: I still think your next cookbook should be a muffin cookbook.

  18. Outstanding. Each component made this a standout. Buttery, moist cake, unapologetically rich crumb topping. Fantastic! I’ll be adding this to my rotation. Thanks.

  19. I made the cupcake version of this recipe. The cake part is amazing. The crumb part is not clumpy, it’s very powdery… Not sure if the issue is not enough butter or too much flour. Overall a very delicious recipe, will definitely make again with slight alterations to the crumb top. Thanks Sally!!

    1. Hi Marie! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 If you found the topping a little powdery, next time try reducing the flour in the crumb topping by 1/4 cup. Thanks for your positive feedback!

  20. Sally,
    I made this recipe today. I have a picture of the finished NYC crumbcake but can’t post here. I’ll post in Instagram and I think you want the pictures sent to your email. I look for that too.

    This crumbcake is a big hit!!!

    1. Hi Namita! So glad you enjoyed it 🙂 See my recipe notes! Cover the cake tightly and refrigerate for up to 2 days or freeze up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature, add icing if desired, and serve.

  21. The crumb topping on this cake is amazing and so easy to make. The cake was delicious. It was nice to have on a rainy morning for breakfast.

  22. I printed this off to bake this morning! Question for all your recipes. When you say “spoon & level”, does that matter if you are doing it by weight? I always just weigh the amount I need and don’t worry about spoon and leveling it. Your recipes by weight is actually why I found you in the first place, it makes every recipe a success every time!! Thanks

    1. Hi Cat, The spoon and level method is more if you are relying on measuring cups, not necessary if you are measuring by weight.

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