A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs!
Because the crumb part… is the best part.
If you’re anything like me, you pick off the crumb topping from your coffee cake. Or you take the piece with the most crumb topping on it. If I could make a meal out of crumb topping… believe me, I would.
This is a cinnamon, sugary, buttery crumb-topped coffee cake. Heavy on the crumb.
Today’s coffee cake is an easy-to-follow recipe. This homemade version of the classic is a far cry from any of those overly-sweet, fake-tasting store bought versions you may be used to. It’s buttery, moist, soft, and pairs well with a morning cup of coffee. Let’s face it, this coffee cake will pair well with an afternoon cup o’ joe too. Actually, the coffee is optional. You’ll love this cake no matter what you’re drinking with it.
I got the recipe from my favorite cookbook. The bible of baking, I like to call it. A 1,000+ page book of kitchen-tested recipes, tutorials, and baking tips. My Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe – trust me, you need this cookbook.
The cookbook doesn’t call this cake “super-crumb.” I do. I baked the crumb cake in a smaller pan than what the recipe states, making the crumb layer in my version thicker for each piece.
What makes this coffee cake so easy is that the crumb-topping and cake batter all start in the same bowl. The crumb topping’s ingredients (butter, flour, & sugar) is essentially the cake’s ingredients without any liquid. A recipe deriving both cake and crumb topping from the same mixture was a selling point for me.
Simply combine your flour, sugar, salt, and cut in the butter. I used a whisk to cut the butter in and a large fork to mix everything around until the mixture resembled course crumbs. Set aside 1 cup of the crumb mixture and continue with the rest of the cake batter ingredients.
The cup you set aside is your crumb topping. How easy is that?
The original recipe called for nuts, but I chose to leave them out. I increased the vanilla extract, cinnamon, and brown sugar as well.
In some bites, the crumb layer was thicker than the cake layer! Amazing.
If you love starting your day with a piece of cake, you’ll enjoy my New York-style Crumb Cake and Pumpkin Coffee Cake, too.Print
Super-Crumb Coffee Cake
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 55 minutes
- Total Time: 3 hours
- Yield: serves 8-10
- Category: Cake
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: American
A soft, tender, easy-to-make coffee cake, heavy on the crumbs!
- 1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour, for coating the pan
- 2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
- 1 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 10 Tablespoons (1 and 1/4 stick) unsalted butter, firm and cold
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Generously spray a 9-inch springform pan* with cooking spray or grease with butter. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with 1 Tablespoon of flour and tap out the excess.
- Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large mixing bowl until combined. Cut in the butter in very small pieces using a pastry blender or mix with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Place 1 cup of the butter/flour mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use in step 4.
- Using a handheld or stand mixer with a paddle attachment, mix the baking powder and baking soda into the remaining flour mixture. Add the room temperature buttermilk, egg, and vanilla and beat on medium speed until smooth. The batter is very thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared springform pan, smoothing the top.
- Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the reserved flour mixture. Toss with a fork until well blended. Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressingly lightly so they stick.
- Bake the cake until the center is firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-55 minutes. Baking time varies, so begin checking at 45 minutes and don’t be alarmed if your cake takes longer. Mine usually takes the full 55 minutes.
- Cool cake for 10 minutes before removing the sides of the springform pan. For neat slices and best flavor, cool cake completely at room temperature before serving.
- Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: Cake tastes best on day 1 or day 2. The cake may be made 1 day in advance. Store covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. Cake can be frozen up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
- Buttermilk: Buttermilk is required for this recipe. You can make your own DIY version of buttermilk if needed. To do so, simply add 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of white vinegar or fresh lemon juice to a liquid measuring cup and enough whole or 2% milk to reach 3/4 cup. Allow mixture to sit for 5 minutes, then use in the recipe. Lower fat or nondairy milks work in a pinch, but the cake won’t taste as rich and moist.
- Update: Crumbs will seep down into the cake if the crumb topping’s butter is not firm enough. Make sure the butter is cold. You can even try using frozen butter and cutting that into the mixture with your pastry blender.
- Pan: Don’t have a springform pan? Use a 9-inch (not 8-inch) square baking dish.
- Adapted from Cooks Illustrated The New Best Recipe.
Keywords: coffee cake, crumb coffee cake
After one bite of this coffee cake, breakfast will seem like a real treat.
Reader Comments & Reviews
I am wondering if the first step could be done in a food processor rather than by hand with a pastry cutter?
Hi Ellen, a few pulses with the food processor should work, just be careful not to overwork the crumble mixture. Enjoy!
How long should this bake in an 8-inch springform pan? Thank you!
Hi Laura, we’re unsure of the exact bake time, but it will be a few minutes longer since the cake will be thicker. Enjoy!
Made this cake yesterday, I had a container of buttermilk I wanted to use and thought putting it in a cake would be good way to use it. We all enjoy a good crumb cake and when I found your recipe I thought it would be the one to try. The cake came out beautifully and we all enjoyed it but when I make it again I will cut the teaspoon of salt down for some reason it was just a bit too much for us. Also before I made this cake I made your Fluffy Buttermilk pancakes for breakfast and they were as fluffy and delicious as you said and today we will be having them again with the leftover batter. Happy New Year.
I made this yesterday and it is AWESOME. My partner had asked for a coffee cake over holiday vacation, I made a different recipe a few days ago and it was so dry I chucked it right into the trash. Should have known to come to Sally’s the first time.
The cake was heavenly!! My husband has been threatening for weeks to get a box version! So 2 days after Christmas I had time to make it. I do need to play around with the topping next time, it was Sandy. I feel like I incorporated the butter right, but I ended up drizzling some melted butter on the top as it was cooling. 45 minutes to the T it was baked perfectly. Thank you!!
Hi! I love all of your baking! I’m wondering if I could make this as a loaf instead? how would I need to modify to bake in a 9×5 loaf pan?
Hi Chandler, We have not tested this recipe in a loaf pan but you can try cutting the recipe in half for a 9×5 inch pan. We are unsure of the exact bake time needed but let us know if you give it a try!
Gets rave reviews from everyone that I serve it to, 100% of the time. Recently, I made this for a quarterly meeting and, I kid you not, one lady wanted to CashApp me! She said it was the best she’s ever had and made me promise to make one just for her. To note: the things that she loved the most were that it was moist, not dense and heavy, the cinnamon was just right, and the crumb was crunchy and not soft.
Delicious moist crumb cake. Will definitely make again
I question why people look at any recipes other than yours! I wanted to make a coffee cake for our neighbors who have company visiting. I searched for one from you and of course, it’s amazing! Mine was done in 45 minutes and was so flavorful and moist. The topping is incredible! This is now my “go to” coffee cake! Thanks
I love this recipe and have made it several times as a cake, but was wondering if I could also make it as muffins? Would I need to change the recipe or baking time at all? Thank you!
Hi Ryan! So glad you love this coffee cake. For muffins, we recommend filling muffin liners about 3/4 full, then pressing the crumb topping mixture into the tops. Use the same baking temperatures and time as our apple crumb muffins. Enjoy!
The cake was moist so its not like it was too dry, but overall this cake seemed dry, and not as flavorful as I thought it would be. I am by no means a great baker but I followed the recipe to a T, so not sure why it wasn’t as good as hoped.
Can you double batch this is the same pan?
Hi Noelle, we don’t recommend doubling this and using the same pan, but you could double it for a 9×13 pan. We’re unsure of the exact bake time.
This is amazing. Stays moist for days (if it even lasts that long). Every time I make it, I get rave reviews. It’s become my go-to coffee cake.
This recipe is so good! It’s one I definitely make on the regular and it doesn’t last more than 24 hours! Some have commented that the crumb topping was sandy and I found that too the first time I made it. I probably didn’t incorporate the butter well enough. My solution has been to add an extra 1-2 tbsp of butter to the topping only when I add the brown sugar and cinnamon and it works like a charm. Highly recommend this recipe!
A few tips: For those that had their topping sink into the cake, keep in mind making the ‘course crumbs’ here is a little different from pastry or biscuit dough. You don’t want bits of butter floating around on their own – use your hand to gently mold the mixture so the butter is properly clumped with the sugar and cinnamon.
I also STRONGLY recommend using cake strips or foil around the pan for this recipe. Because it’s a dense batter but also doesn’t have much fat, I have found it to be a little dry by the time I take it out. This time, I wrapped my cake strips around the pan and it was done by 45 minutes flat, if not earlier. The cake was soft and fluffy- even the edges! I realized later that I had completely forgotten the vanilla, but it was still delicious!
I love your recipes. Was wondering if you could add the weights to the measurements (1 cup all purpose flour = 120 grams). Makes baking so much faster!
Hi Michelle, This is an older recipe that hasn’t been updated yet to include weight measurements. This newer crumb cake recipe has them if you’d like to try that instead. Or we do have a list of common weights in the post How to Properly Measure Baking Ingredients (scroll down to the pink chart called “common weights”
I make this recipe as muffins and it honestly doesn’t get any better than this recipe. No changes. No substitutions
Thank you Sally!