This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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.

Treat Yourself with These Breakfast Recipes

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
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 1x
  • 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

Scale

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

Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. I made this for our Bosses’ Day Celebration, and I didn’t even get any it was eaten so quickly! I love Sally’s recipes, and will be making it again!!

  2. Growing up in New York, this was my family’s FAVORITE go-to treat from Entemmans. They have since changed their recipe and I don’t like it anymore. When I found this, I made it immediately! Thank you! It turned out great but I have a question. The cake was a little dense, it may be that I’m at high altitude. Do you have any suggestions or adjustments for altitude?
    Thank you,
    Diane in Denver

    1. Hi Diane, we’re so thrilled to hear that you love this crumb cake recipe! I wish we could help, but have no experience baking at high altitude. Some readers have found this chart helpful: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/learn/high-altitude-baking.html

      1. My cake came out very dry and also the crumbs did not come out clumpy. Any suggestions?

      2. Hi Monica, how did you measure your flour? Be sure to spoon and level (or use weight measurement) to ensure that there is not too much flour added, which can dry out baked goods. Also, over baking (even just a minute or two!) can dry out cakes. This post on how to prevent dry and dense cakes may also be helpful to review. Thank you for giving this recipe a try!

  3. I love love all your recipes! And I just put this in the oven and I completely forgot the vanilla!! I’m hoping the butter will come through and flavor it.Ugh

    1. Hi Kristen, 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!

  4. Made muffins. Incredible. No changes or substitutions. Thank you Sally.

  5. Thank you for this recipe. The flavor is wonderful. I’m having a little trouble with the texture and wonder if you have any advice. My crumb topping came out a little crispy on top while I was hoping for a totally soft bite … would reducing the butter by a couple of tbsps help? I also think I’d prefer a softer, more moist cake and am thinking about trying this with your favorite vanilla cake. Do you think that would work? Thanks!

    1. Hi Stephanie, We are glad you enjoyed the flavor! If the cake wasn’t soft and the topping was a bit crispy, it sounds like it may have simply been over baked. If you try this again be sure to check your cake in the oven a few minutes earlier and if you notice the top browning before the center is completely finished baking you can tent the top with foil. Also if you don’t already have one, we recommend using an oven thermometer (we link to one we use in this post on tools every baker needs), as many ovens run hot.

  6. Delicious crumb cake. I made this in memory of my mom who loved crumb cake with thick soft crumbs, but purchased hers from a bakery in the NY area known for its crumb cake. This was so good. I love that you provide all the helpful hints before the recipe, making it possible for a baker like myself to be successful. It is a lot of cake, so I’m sharing with friends and family!

  7. Delicious! Moist buttery cake with a great vanilla flavor. Topping was perfectly crumbly, not too soft or crumbly, and flavored with cinnamon, butter and sugar. Loved the ratio of topping to cake.

  8. This recipe is fantastic—made it for the first time over the weekend. I was nervous at first because of previous comments, but don’t be—Sally really hit this one out of the park! The cake is moist and delicious, the crumb AMAZING!!! My colleagues thought it was store bought it was that good! This cake tastes even better a day or two after baking it (stored in an airtight container). Will definitely make again.

  9. Hi Sally! Debating between this and your old fashioned sour cream crumb cake. Leaning towards this but adding the streseul layer from the old fashioned recipe. Do you forsee any issues with this? And are either cakes more moist than the other? I love a moist cake!

    1. Hi Jenn, The butter and sour cream should keep both of these cakes very moist. Either topping would be great!

  10. Hi! I just posted but sorry, one more question! I noticed this crumb cake recipe uses melted butter for the topping while many of your others use cold. What decides which is better? Thanks! Love so many of your recipes!

    1. Hi Jenn, We use cold butter in the streusel of the old-fashioned sour cream crumb cake so that the streusel can maintain some of its structure in the oven or else it will all sink to the bottom of the cake. We hope you enjoy whichever recipe you decide to try!

  11. This crumb cake was perfect.
    If I bake the cake without the crumbles, how long would I have to bake it?
    I would like frost the cake instead of the crumb topping.
    Would that work? Any suggestions?

    1. Yes, you could do that. The bake time may be slightly less, but use a toothpick to test for doneness. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

  12. Thank you Stephanie
    As soon as the cake was cooled to room temperature, I cut the baked cake into 6 big squares. I wrapped the squares tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerated.
    This morning, day 2, I sliced a piece off one of the 6 squares. The refrigeration made the topping very hard.
    I microwaved the piece for 20 seconds. It was reconstituted, moist with a perfectly soft crumb crust. I expect, from past experience with biscuits and brownies, that the cake will be easily reconstituted for up to 5 days or longer.
    This is an Excellent Crumb Cake!

    1. Hi Ans, It sounds like it may have been over baked. If you try it again less time in the oven should help, and if you notice the top browning before the cake is cooked through you can loosely cover the top with aluminum foil to prevent the top from over browning.

    1. Hi Mara, We haven’t tested this recipe with gluten free flours, but some readers have reported success using 1:1 flour substitutes (like Cup4Cup). If you try it, let us know how it goes!

  13. OMG…this is the best coffee cake ever! I can’t wait to take it to work tomorrow..love love love your recipes !

  14. AMAZING! I will probably never ever use another Crumb Cake recipe. This will be the only one!!!! Also, I can always count all of your recipes to turn out great. They’re the best. Thank you!

  15. First let me say I love crumb cake. I grew up in NY where it’s a work of art. I have a recipe I’ve been making for years that I got from the Times many years ago. I didn’t think it was possible to beat that one but everything I’ve made from Sally is a winner. I had to try this. I followed the recipe exactly even going to the store for sour cream. I had non fat Greek yogurt at home but she recommends full fat. The crumb topping is like something my Aunt Jennie used to make with big moist crumbs as thick as the cake below it. The cake is moist, not too sweet and compliments the crumb topping perfectly. It’s time to put my Times recipe to rest and have a new go to.
    By the way…. this only gets better as the days go by so try not to eat it all in one sitting. Pure perfection, Sally!!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Deb! So glad you love this recipe.

      1. The real deal! Followed the recipe exactly. Perfect cake texture and moisture. The crumb topping amount is perfect. I would prefer the topping be a tiny bit less crunchy. I didn’t over bake it and still got a little too crunchy on top. It’s still 5 stars!

  16. This recipe sounds so yummy.. but if i make this cake it will disappear in two days between me and my hubby!
    Do you think i could reduce ingredients in half and bake in 8×8 pan?

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

  17. Hey, I made this cake but have it planned to serve in 2 days from now. I shouldve stored it in the fridge before baking and bake it the day of, but its too late for that now. Do you think if i store it in the fridge for 2 nights it will still taste delicious?

  18. Hi ! I haven’t made this yet, I was wondering if a shortcut of using a boxed mix can also be used ? I’ve done it that way before but the crumbs are never soft like a bakery

    1. Hi Mary, we recommend sticking with this homemade cake recipe as a boxed mix may be too thin to support the weight of the crumbs.

  19. The recipe was very easy to follow and it came out delicious! Thank you!

  20. Hi….quick question. My grandchild has an egg allergy. Would I be able to substitute apple sauce for the eggs? Please advise. Thank you

    1. Hi Diana, we haven’t tested this recipe with egg substitutes but let us know if you do!

  21. could I use a quarter sheet pan (9×13) with low sides? Is there too much batter?

    1. Hi Sheila, you’ll want to use a 9×13 pan that has sides approximately 2.25 inches high.

  22. I have a question. The ingredients list mentions “softened” butter and the instructions mentions “melted” butter. Could you clarify this for me? Thank you! I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  23. This was delicious! Now I would like to make it but with a chocolate base cake, could I just add cocoa powder to the recipe? Any suggestions on the amount of if I should use a different cake recipe? Thanks!

    1. Hi Beth, we would use a different cake recipe, but I fear chocolate cake batter (which is usually thinner and fine due to the cocoa powder) would not be sturdy enough to support a crumb topping.

  24. This is a beautiful New York crumb cake! Just curious if cake flour can be used in this recipe instead of all purpose. Thanks!

    1. Hi Susan, all-purpose flour is best the structure of this cake. It’s sturdy enough to support the thick wet ingredients and crumb layer on top. Cake flour would be too light. Hope you love it!

  25. When I was a little girl living on Long Island, my twin sister, grandfather and I walked around the corner to the bakery to get a crumb cake every Saturday. No one here in North Carolina seems to know about this delightful treat. After finding your recipe, I set out to make myself some memories. I haven’t gotten past the topping. I double-checked all of my ingredients and they are correct. BUT I ended up with a paste that’s nowhere near the crumbly topping. I PROMISE I didn’t overmix. I gently folded in the flour with a fork. The only thing I can imagine is that the butter was too hot from melting it in the microwave??? Please help!!!

    1. Hi Bonnie, Are you sure to add the butter first and then the flour? If you add the flour before the butter, the flour will absorb it all before the sugar can. Check out the section, 3 Tricks to the Best Crumb Topping, in the middle of the page. Let us know if you try it again!

Leave a Review!

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.