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

179 Comments

  1. I need this recipe converted to high altitude?

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Amber, I wish I could help, but we have no experience baking at high altitude. I know some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

    2. Hi Amber, I live at 6900′. For the cake: Add 2 T of flour, then follow the recipe. For the crumb: The drier air at elevation requires more liquid or less of the dry ingredients. It can also significantly enhance sweetness. So, I reduce the flour by 1/4 cup and the granulated sugar by 1/4 cup, then mix all dry ingredients together (including the flour), and then add the melted butter. Then follow recipe instructions for assembly and baking.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Can I use box cake mix with this .

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      You could probably add a crumble topping to a box mixed although the cake itself would be different.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. Monique Butler says:

    Hello! Perfect! Can this be frozen?

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

  12. 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.

  13. Hello! I’m wondering if I could make this into muffins. I’m thinking it would work with a much shorter bake time. What do you think?

    1. Hi Jackie! You can turn this crumb cake into muffins. See recipe note.

  14. Maggie Gressle says:

    Looking forward to using this recipe but would like to use a spring form pan…any ideas as to which would be the best size and for how long?? Appreciate any help you can provide!

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Maggie! Try this Crumb Cake Recipe instead. It’s a smaller recipe written for a 9 inch springform pan. Hope you love it.

  15. I always succeed when I use Sally’s recipes, but this one didn’t work so well. The crumbs completely sank to the bottom of the cake. It was still tasty, but not pretty and doesn’t deliver the same texture. I jazzed it up by cutting the cake into squares and dusting the now-plain top with powdered sugar.

    I bake with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free flour, so that could be what made the difference here. Most of the time recipes turn out just fine, though.

    1. Allison Metzger says:

      When I make the crumb cake, I bake it for about 10 -15 minutes with the cake batter only (until you see it starting to set), then remove the partially baked cake, add the crumb topping, and put it back in the oven and bake for the remainder of the time, 30-45 minutes, depending on how long you had it in with the cake batter only. It always works for me

  16. Wow, Thanks Sally.
    We had a baking challenge today with relative and made a New York Crumb Cake decorated with Swiss Buttercream Frosting waves at one end and Best Sugar Cookies shaped into surf boards with Royal Icing. Yes, over the top, but we needed a trip to a warm beach in these times and this worked for us. Thanks for your really excellent and successful recipes and instructions. It all worked great.

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      How fun! Thank you so much for sharing, Paul. We’re glad to hear this recipe was such a hit.

  17. Gorgeous recipe! Just came out of the oven. I appreciate that you always include the weight in grams and that you include little tips. It would have been very easy to over mix the crumb (in effort to combine well) without the note to stop when the crumbles form. Love your recipes & thanks!

  18. Love everything from Sally…but we were a little disappointed in the dryness of the cake. The recipe was followed correctly, the topping was very flavorful, but the cake was just super dry 🙁 maybe the glass pan was a wrong choice. Hopefully someone has some tips to share to keep this cake moist!

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Catherine, Thank you for trying this recipe. The butter and sour cream should both keep this cake very moist. I wonder if yours was simply baked a little too long. Any chance you used a metal pan? Metal pans will bake faster than glass, but either way if you try it again try checking the cake for doneness a bit earlier next time.

  19. Christine Sessa says:

    I am not a baker but this came out so amazing people think I am now! Holy cow is it good! Don’t over cook it like she says! It came out AMAZING!!!! I’m so proud of it! Better than the bakery.

  20. Fantastic cake! I’m always a sucker for cinnamon+sugar and Sally you are my go-to baking website. I added a little grated nutmeg which I love with vanilla/cinnamon to give a bit of donut flavor 🙂

  21. delicious! I didn’t change a darn thing! Followed the recipe to a T and it turned out perfectly! My husband ate HALF the cake in one day; I didn’t dare tell him how much butter was in this recipe, which is definitely a keeper! Thanks Sally!

  22. I tried this recipe in place of my usual one. I love the texture and the presentation. I would make a couple of adjustments:
    Crumb: Use equal portion brown and granulated sugar and 1 cup of butter. This might help with the crispiness of the crumb which hardened too much for our taste. The brown sugar should also be quite moist and not dried out. Add to the flavour, if you prefer that a more cinnamon smell and taste, by using double the cinnamon.
    Thanks Sally!

  23. Hi,I followed the recipe exactly but ended up with a sand-like topping instead of crumb. I’ve still pressed it on top of the cake and loosely covered with foil in the hopes that it won’t burn. I’m wondering, should I have gradually added the flour in the crumb topping and stopped when I got to the right texture instead of going for all 2.5 cups? Thanks for your help.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ali! Thank you so much for giving this recipe a try. So sorry you ended up with a sandy crumb. You can try gradually adding it next time. Make sure you’re spoon and leveling your flour when you measure as well, otherwise you may end up with too much flour. Hope it still turns out for you!

    2. Aaron Wilson says:

      I just made this myself. If you stir the topping to much you will get sand. The topping is kinda like buttermilk biscuits in the sense that you don’t mix to much and the ingredients look like you didn’t stir enough. You just want to make sure everything gets a little wet and clumps together. If there’s a little bit of dry flour here and there its ok.

  24. Can I cut the entire recipe in half. , Barbara

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Absolutely! For halving the 3 eggs, we 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!

  25. Aaron Wilson says:

    If I could give this more stars I would. I was apprehensive because of a couple of reviews but I should’ve known better because these were ridiculously good, by and far the best version of coffee crumb cake I have EVER had. Follow the directions to the letter and you will do fine, be careful not to over mix the crumble because it’s easy to do, you want the butter liquid but not molten hot. I did add an extra 1/2 tbsp of cinnamon because we love cinnamon. The cake is moist and the right density for coffee cake.

  26. I’ve now made so may of your amazing recipes. This is the only one I remember that calls for a larger amount of baking soda (1 tsp.) than baking powder (1/2 tsp.) If you have a chance, and because you’ve taught me anything I know about baking, I’d love to know why that is. Thanks for all your wonderful work and teaching, Sally!

    1. Hi John, your comment has been pending. Because of my work volume, I’m unable to respond to questions as soon as they are published. It often takes me 48 hours or more due to the daily amount of questions our 1200+ recipes receive. My team helps respond, but when they do not know the answer, they leave it for me. I received your email and responded to you there.

  27. Troy Gremillion says:

    Love this recipe! That said, I used to live in NYC and would visit friends down in Red Bank, NJ from time to time. I love my friends dearly, but there was a bakery there that sold a crumb cake that I loved just as much (just kidding!). Kidding aside, this bakery served a crumb cake much like this one, but with CHOCOLATE mixed into the crumb topping. Any suggestion on how much chocolate I might use and how to incorporate it into the topping? Would I mix chocolate chips in with the topping or melt the chips and then drizzle it on the cake after it’s baked?

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Troy! We haven’t tested a chocolate crumble with chocolate chips mixed in, so a chocolate drizzle would be the easiest way to give that flavor combination a try. Would love to hear how it goes for you!

  28. How do I prevent the cake from puffing up? Mine puffed up so much it pushed a lot of the crumbs to the sides. Thanks!!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Meg! Are you by chance using a smaller or different size baking pan? Smaller pans wouldn’t give the batter enough room to expand properly. While this solution may result in a denser cake, you could try reducing the baking soda down to 3/4 teaspoon. This will prevent the cake from rising as tall.
      Also, next time, use a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon to press the crumb topping tightly down into the cake so it sticks. Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try!

  29. Beth Barber says:

    Mine is of the oven and the house smells worderful. My agonizing 45minute waitng period is over. This is THE best crumb cake I’ve even had. I grew up in NY and never thought any other crumb cake was good enough. I was wrong. I love the tips you gave and I followed them all. I baked in convection over and only took 40mins. It is perfect. Can’t thank you enough.

  30. The cake was dry and the topping, even drier. We threw it out.

    1. Max McMahon says:

      If they were both dry… you over-baked it. Not the recipe’s fault

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