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. Followed the recipe to a T and it came out perfect! Friends, family and neighbors loved it! Definitely making again! Wish I could post a pic on here:)

  2. Muriel Romero says:

    I have lost count with how many times I have made this cake:). I have baked different kinds of pastries, but this one takes the cake (pun not intended 😉 ). I have followed this recipe exactly as described above and followed all the rules to making this cake, such as making sure that refrigerated ingredients are at room temperature and mixing the streusel topping. Every time I made this cake, it came out perfectly and it’s gone sooner than expected because of how delicious it is. I even halved this recipe.
    Thank you Sally for this recipe.

  3. Hi Sally hope all is well! I want to ask you about which of your several crumb or coffee cake recipes produces the crumb-iest topping? More crumb is better! Thanks so much for your recipes

    1. Hi Deb, This particular recipe definitely has the highest crumb to cake ratio 🙂

  4. Oh this gonna be serious trouble during quarantine! If only I could share with my work colleagues – but I don’t want yo share because it’s just THAT GOOD! Holy Moly! Do yourself a favor and make this now – you will not regret it! Ten stars!!

  5. Hi Sally! I’ve been trying to find a blueberry crumb cake with all the yum of this NY Style Crumb cake! Could I convert this by adding a layer of blueberries between the batter and crumb layer?

    1. Yes, absolutely! I recommend fresh blueberries.

      1. Tried it with fresh blueberries. Amazingly good!!!

  6. Taryn Brown says:

    Sally I’ve been doing loads of your recipes absolutely amazing every time you are a legend!!!!

  7. Jessica Chel says:

    Love this one. Not too hard for how beautiful and delicious it turns out. Perfect for a brunch. Seriously so good.

  8. This is an excellent crumb cake recipe. I used 2% Greek yogurt because that’s all I had (quarantine sigh), and it was still super tender and tasty. I also browned the butter in the crumb topping, because browned butter! I can’t wait to serve this for brunch when I can see human beings again.

  9. Could I halve the recipe? How many eggs since it would be hard to do a half? Thanks!

    1. If you cut the recipe in half I recommend you still use 1.5 eggs. Crack one egg in a separate bowl, mix it and add half to the cake batter and use the other half in your scrambled eggs 🙂

  10. I made this in 2 loaf cake pans and they came out divine! The crumb topping is not as thick as you made them, but there’s a good amount. However, it didn’t come out soft – it’s a bit crunchy, but the flavor is just as I remembered when I used to live in NJ. Such a nostalgic taste. Will definitely make this again!

  11. I left the question here a couple of weeks ago if this is your crumb-iest topping. I finally assembled the ingredients and baked, and it came out 5 stars. I admit I used a different base cake recipe since I wanted to use up some self-rising flour and buttermilk, but the crumbs are to die for! I tried a technique seen on your boards and elsewhere to add the crumbs 30 minutes later in the baking process so they don’t sink in and everything came out divine. The crumbs were thick, almost the same height as the cake, just what I wanted.
    Will use again and will definitely try your sour cream version!!

  12. very good

  13. Can you substitute sour cream with applesauce?

    1. I haven’t tested it. The cake’s texture may be a little rubbery, but let me know if you try it.

  14. The crumb was absolutely fantastic on this recipe; the cake, also delicious. Sally, has anyone ever tried doing 1 1/2 recipe crumb and a half recipe for the cake? My mom is from NY and loves the crumb part. I was thinking about trying this this for Mother’s Day.

    1. A few readers have, actually! Press it down quite firm into the cake batter before baking. So glad you enjoy this recipe.

  15. Quarantine Baker says:

    Hi Sally, Thanks for the recipe. I made this cake and it turned out great. The cake was super moist and soft. The crumbs that were against the cake were also soft, but the crumbs on top were crunchier and crispy. I used a metal round 8 inch pan and a glass square 8 inch pan and baked for about 45 minutes. I’m concerned that if I would have baked for any less time the cake would not have been ready. Any advice on how you make sure the crumbs are nice and soft and super thick?

    1. Hi! I’m happy to help. Tent the top of the cake with aluminum foil. This will prevent those top crumbs from drying out. You can also lower the oven rack, which will definitely help too.

  16. Hi Sally! Quick question on this recipe: could the batter be made one day ahead, refrigerated, and then brought back to room temp before baking? I’d make the crumb layer right before baking. Thanks!

    1. I don’t recommend it, Lizzie. The leaveners are activated when the batter is mixed together so if you let it sit overnight it won’t rise properly when baked.

  17. This looked amazing out of the oven and thought it was going to be a super hit with my son and husband who both love cinnamon cake things. Unfortunately, neither of them, nor me were greatly impressed with the flavor – or lack thereof… The cake just seemed like a plain cake with not much flavor, however the crumb topping was excellent – hence the 4 stars. I will try to make this again – probably for Memorial Day but I will try to add some cinnamon or cinnamon sugar to the cake portion for added flavor.

    1. Quick question; Could I put a thin layer of the crumbs inbetween the cake batter before I bake it or would it sink to the bottom? Thought it could be nice to have something in the middle of the cake to add more flavour and texture

      1. Hi Avani, I do just that in my Old-Fashioned Sour Cream Crumb Cake!

  18. OMG YES! i just did a side by side bake of your’s and one i found on allrecipes.com. Yours was better and so delicious. THANK YOU!! The crumb is amazing and yes, that is the reason anyone eats these. Can’t wait until the morning to go snag another piece and then freeze the rest. I cannot let this go to waste

  19. Patricia Carmeli says:

    Love the recipe and now use it at my cafe!

  20. This recipe was such a life-saver. I was just finishing up a coconut raisin banana bread for Dad on Father’s Day when the doorbell rang. We had surprise visitors come over to celebrate with us and I did NOT want anyone getting into his bread. I needed to find something that wouldn’t take too long to make or be a mess AND this was PERFECT.

    The instructions were easy to follow, it wasn’t overbearingly sweet even with the sugar crust, and though it says serves 12, I was able to get 20 slices from my cake.

    It was loved all around. I’m giving this 5 stars for the 5 ((FIVE)) slices my nephew snuck onto his plate! I’ll def be trying this again but with apples and berries.

  21. Is it possible to make the batter and crumb topping the night before, put it in the fridge, and then bake it in the morning?
    Thanks so much, Sally!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      I don’t recommend it, Jessica. The baking powder and baking soda are activated as soon as the batter is mixed together so it’s best to bake it right away.

  22. Hi. My comment/question is gone, and I never received a response. Not sure happened but I posted it a few days ago. I made this, baked it for about 40 minutes. My crumb turned out hard and crispy even though I gently folded in the flour and didn’t overwork it. Does the melted butter need to be cooled before adding it to the sugars? Just not sure what went wrong. Please let me know. I want to try and make it again. Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura! I can’t find your original comment on my end, but I’m glad to help. Try leaving out the white granulated sugar (and only using brown sugar) in the crumb topping. The crumb topping will still be plenty sweet, but the reduced sugar may help keep the topping on the softer side.

      1. Thanks Sally. I can try this next time. When I make the topping, it also seems like there is way too much melted butter to flour. Maybe i will also try to increase the flour. Either way, this is super yummy.

  23. I make this every time my aunts from Long Island visit and they swear it’s better than from their local spots! I omit the white sugar from crumb and add vanilla bean to batter! Thanks for the great recipe!

  24. JACQUELINE PARKER says:

    Love this cake and have made it twice in three months. Family loves it too

    1. RICHARD SMYTH says:

      Hi Sally : I was a chef in a restaurant for many years . Never made a crumb cake however. It came out delicious. Easy to follow instructions . Very thorough with great hints for every one to follow . Spot on!

  25. Shira McKernan says:

    Hi Sally,

    I’m already missing the crumb cake from the Jersey shore this summer so I’m going to try this, your recipes are the best! Before I start my question is how to best achieve a crispier crumb topping which I actually prefer. From your notes and the comments I’m guessing I can cook it a bit longer? Maybe more granulated sugar and less brown?

    1. Hi Shira! Yes, you can replace some of the brown sugar in the topping with white granulated sugar which will help produce a crispier crumb topping. Additionally, you can extend the bake time by a few minutes.

  26. I was so excited to make this crumb cake. I thought it seemed like a whole lot of flour. It smelled so good in the oven. I did everything right. It was WAY WAY to dry for me! I love very moist cakes and make them from scratch as much as possible. IF you love dry desserts you will love this. Next attempt I will will be using way less flour and even more sour cream. Very dissappointing but at least I figured out how I can make it more moist!

    1. Hi what can I use instead of sour cream in the cake. Can I use Greek yoghurt instead and what is the reason for adding this in the cake?

      1. Sour cream makes the cake moist! I made this today and subbed for Greek yogurt and it was delicious.

  27. Can this be made in an 8×8 dish by halfing the recipe?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Bryn, Sure can– the bake time will be shorter in the smaller pan. Begin checking at 30-32 minutes.

    2. Yes but the recipe for the crumb part is too much for a 8X8 pan. I ended throwing some away.

  28. Barbara Zulauf says:

    I absolutely love your vanilla sheet cake with the reverse creaming method. Would that method work for this cake as I’ve noticed the ingredients and ratios are similar?

    1. Hi Barbara, though I haven’t tested it, I’m sure it would work using that method but the ingredient amounts displayed in this crumb cake. Let me know if you try it.

  29. Amazing recipe! I’ve tried so many recipes but this one really hits the spot! Thanks so much!!

  30. The cake is great…but only because it’s moist. It has little to no flavor. So if you’re going to attempt this try to add your own spin on it. The crumb topping did not work with this cake, even after adding the aluminum foil to prevent any further browning, the cake itself takes too long to bake and by the time it’s finished your “moist crumb” topping is crispy.

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