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. 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.

      1. This has been my go-to dessert recipe for a few months now. I have made it several times. This time I modified my Bob’s Red Mill AP Flour by adding 3 tbsps. of cornstarch per cup (5.5 cups), and sifting it into a cake flour. It really works to ramp up the cakey texture, flavor and presents as the Perfect NY style Crumb Cake

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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!

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. Catherine says:

    The trick with this recipe is to not over mix the crumb topping and to not over bake the cake. Check it way before you think it might be done so you can catch it right when it is no longer wet. I think this is why some cooks think it is the best, moist coffee cake ever & others think it is dry & the topping too hard.

  20. Can you set this up the night before but not bake it until the next morning?

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Max, we don’t recommend it. Once mixed, the leavening agents in the batter as activated and the cake won’t bake up properly. See recipe notes for make ahead suggestions.

  21. Fabulous cake, and I can’t decide if the cake is better or the crumb layer is better. Loved it, will try a variation with almonds mixed into the crumb the next time. Thank you.

  22. This was absolutely delicious! My crumb topping did sink to the middle of the cake, any tips to prevent this? Didn’t affect the taste but just for presentations sake I would love to know what I did wrong.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Anne! So glad you loved this cake. Did you happen to make any ingredient substitutions or changes? All the cake ingredients are important for a sturdy cake that can hold up the crumb topping. Also make sure not to over-mix your crumb topping. You want big crumbles.

  23. I can’t wait to try this cake. I would love to add a cream cheese “River” or even a layer if you think that would make more sense. I love your recipes, every one, and was hoping you’d suggest proportions for such a cream cheese addition! Thank you.

    1. Stephanie @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Naseem, We haven’t tried it with this exact recipe but you will love the cream cheese layer in either this Blackberry Cream Cheese Crumb Cake or Strawberries ‘n’ Cream Crumb Cake.

  24. Sue Robinson says:

    I’m making this today for the third time. It is so delicious and reminiscent of the crumb buns we got as children at a bakery in Levittown NY- after church on Sundays-a long time ago. Thanks for this fabulous recipe-my family loves it!

  25. Haven’t tried it yet Is there something I can use beside cinnamon. I’m very allergic to it. Grew up in New York. Long Island. So ready to try this cake.

    1. My hubby’s grandmother makes a very similar crumb cake but with nutmeg in the crumbs. We all love it so much that we always use nutmeg.

  26. Hi Sally! This is my *favorite* recipe to make and I have it on repeat! I have a friend coming this weekend who is gluten free. If I use GF flour, do I need to alter anything else in the recipe? Thanks so much!

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Emily, we haven’t tested this recipe with gluten-free flour so we’re unsure of the results or any other modifications that may be necessary. If you give anything a try, we’d love to know how it goes!

  27. I just made the my crumb cake. It smells devine and tastes fabulous. My only problem was that one spot had no crumbs on top at all. I covered the batter completely and evenly. Looks like a bubble came up and moved the crumbs. What did I do wrong.

    1. Trina @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Laurie! There could have been a bubble in the cake batter. In the future, you can try gently tapping the cake (before putting on the crumb topping) on the counter a couple times to get rid of any air bubbles. Hope you’re still enjoying the crumb cake!

  28. Hi, I’m just getting my ingredients together to make this, I wonder if a bundle pan would work ok

    1. Michelle @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Ruth, Do you mean a bundt pan? If so, we haven’t tried it, but I can’t see why not. We are unsure of the exact bake time. Let me know how it goes!

  29. I have a similar recipe except we use canola oil instead of sour cream, can this be done and do you know what the difference would be. I plan on making it this weekend. Thank you

    1. Lexi @ Sally's Baking Addiction says:

      Hi Terri, we don’t recommend it. This recipe was written to include sour cream for a supremely moist texture and tight (but not dense) crumb. For best results, we recommend sticking with sour cream.

  30. Just made this to enjoy with my family, of course all of Sally’s recipes never disappoint. The cake came out delicious, the cake layer was moist and scrumptious and the topping came out slightly crunchy and was so good. Seriously better than any bakery crumb cake I have ever eaten!

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