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.

piece of 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.

square of New York-style crumb cake on a plate

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

Overview: 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

collage of 2 new york crumb cake images

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. Stir 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.

sliced New York crumb cake on parchment paper

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.

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piece of homemade 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 (100ggranulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks; 230g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

Cake

  • 2 and 1/2 cups (313g) all-purpose flour (spoon & 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

150 Comments

  1. 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 😀

    1. Thank you so much, Erin! I hope you love this recipe just as much 🙂 To add a swirl, use the swirl from my cranberry orange Bundt cake!

  2. 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 recommend a dairy-free yogurt.

    2. 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.

  3. Hi Sally – this looks amazing! do you think this recipe could be halved?

    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!

  4. 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!!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Kelly McVicars Gilmore says:

    Curious how this differs from your Super Crumb Coffee Cake (which I love)?

    1. Hi Kelly! The super crumb coffee cake is a little smaller and thinner, not as fluffy, and has crispier crumbs on top. Both great!

  8. 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!

    1. Absolutely! I recommend folding 1 cup of raisins into the batter. (And I think I want to try it too!)

  9. 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. Hi Lexi! See my recipe note at the bottom for muffins.

      1. Fantastic, thank you!

    2. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

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

  14. 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.

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

  16. Susan M Torres says:

    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!!!

  17. If batter is divided into two standard loaf pans, what would the baking time be, 50- 55 minutes?

    1. Hi Terry! That would be my guess. Begin checking at 45 minutes with a toothpick. The loaves may taste a little dense.

  18. It is unbelievable!!!!! I can’t stop eating it!!! Wow!

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. Sally! I love all your stuff. I overbaked this one just a touch; or maybe I was just hoping for a little bit more moist cake. Did you ever have an experience with the crumb top still tasting mildly of flour? It looked exactly like your picture shows, so I know I didn’t over mix, but… ya. A little bummed, but I’ll add a glaze tomorrow when serving to hopefully cover any remaining flour flavor. Thanks!

    1. Hi Shay, This cake should be extra moist so if you think it’s over-baked I suggest baking for a few minutes less next time. My best tips with the crumb topping are to make sure that you are not over-measuring the flour and mix the ingredients in the correct order. In my photos the tops look white because they are dusted with confectioners sugar 🙂

      1. Thanks! I will definitely pull it a few minutes sooner next time. I got a new oven a year ago and still am learning that it seems to bake quickly! it was still delicious and I tried it again this AM and didn’t notice the same flour-y taste. Thanks for the response! And the recipes!

  22. Would this work in a tube pan?

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I can’t see why not.

  23. Hi Sally! Would this do well in a bundt pan??

    1. I haven’t tried it, but I can’t see why not. I’m unsure of the exact bake time. Let me know how it goes!

  24. I made these are regular muffins, but found them sort of underwhelming (not enough flavour). Would it work to add blueberries next time into the batter? or maybe more cinnamon or something?

    1. Hi Lev, You can certainly add some cinnamon and/or even a pinch of nutmeg to the batter of the cake itself. And yes you can fold in some fresh blueberries if you wish.

  25. Baked exactly as written, wonderfully moist and delicious! Had to freeze most to keep from eating the whole pan, thank you Sally!

  26. Kelly McVicars Gilmore says:

    Hi Sally, do you have any suggestions for bake time in loaf pans??

    1. I’m unsure of the bake time for a loaf pan. Be sure to test with a toothpick – it will be done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  27. Sally’s delicious recipe lives up to her descriptions. I felt like I was doing something wrong mixing the crumb topping ingredients so little, but she’s right that it will turn to a paste if you over-mix. The cake had great flavor, many big crumbs, and I got many requests to make it again soon! Thanks Sally!.

  28. I’ve been baking for decades and love Sally’s recipes — everything I’ve tried has had rave reviews. The cake in this recipe is incredible – moist, not too heavy. Love it! But, the topping just did not work for me. Followed the directions, but it’s very dry. It’s like sand. Such a waste of ingredients. I’m scraping the topping off before I eat it because the topping is so gritty. It’s really unpleasant. Not sure what happened. Sadness. I’d totally make the cake again, but would consider another topping.

  29. Melanie Malone says:

    Much more work than other recipes. It didn’t have the rich taste I expected it to and I had to sprinkle the top with extra cinnamon to give it more flavor

  30. Cindy A Weaver says:

    My family moved from NJ to TN and missed our Sunday morning ‘crumb buns’ very much. These get two thumbs up from everyone! Thanks!

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