Friday, August 19, 2011

New York-Style Crumb Cake

Are you ready for heaven in your mouth? If not, it's time to find something else to read.

Cooks Illustrated has once again found a desert worthy of the utmost praise. This crumb cake is delicious and unlike anything I've ever had. Don't be fooled into thinking this is just another coffee cake. As they aptly explain, there is a big difference between your basic struesel topped coffee cake and this distinctive bad boy of German origin. This cake is all about the crumb topping, formed by hand, much of which settles down into the cake as it cooks resulting in pure crumbly-cakey joy in your mouth.

Can I just say, this makes an excellent non-balanced breakfast.
 FYI: I know my food photography is below par, I'm working on it. Soon these images will look far more mouthwatering. Soon...

New York-Style Crumb Cake
adapted from Cooks Illustrated "Best-Ever Recipes" Dec. 2010

Crumb Topping:
1/2 c. (1 stick) melted butter (still warm)
1/3 c. sugar
1/3 c. brown sugar
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. salt
1 3/4 c. cake flour*

1 1/4 c. cake flour*
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
6 Tbs. (3/4 stick) butter, cut and slightly softened
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
Confectioners' sugar for dusting

For the topping, whisk together the butter, sugars, cinnamon and salt; then stir in the flour until a cohesive dough forms. Set aside to cool while you make the cake.

Heat the oven to 325 and prepare an 8"x8" baking pan by lining it with foil (allow some to hang over the side so you can lift the cake out later) and spraying with non-stick cooking spray.

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the butter, one piece at a time, and mix with a hand-held mixer until the mixture has a moist cornmeal-like consistency and no chunks of butter remain. Add the buttermilk, egg, yolk and vanilla and beat on medium-high for 1-2 minutes, until light and fluffy. Pour the batter into prepared pan and even out with a spatula.

Form the topping by taking the cooled crumb dough and forming large pea-sized crumbs using your thumb and forefinger (this process takes a while, but fear not, it will be worth it). Scatter evenly over prepared batter, working from the outer edges in. Don't weigh down the middle of your cake with too much crumb topping or it will sink.

Bake until the crumb topping is golden and a skewer inserted near the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Lift the foil sling to remove from the baking pan. Dust with confectioner's sugar before serving.

*Use cake flour, not all-purpose flour, for this recipe. It will make a huge difference in the texture of the cake and will make the crumb topping more difficult to work with.


  1. Natural light. Early morning is the best light!

    This looks like ridiculously yummy.
    Why is my wench not around in the far reaches of California?

  2. Yes, this I know. I'm always cooking in the late afternoon and evening, when my kitchen has horrible light. The camera I'm using doesn't help much either. I'll figure something out though.

    I know, I should be in California cooking all this deliciousness, shouldn't I? Someday...


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