The Perfect Crumb Cake

Coffee cake crumbs and powdered sugar are two of my favorite things!  Put them together and I’m obsessed with the creation, whatever it is.  This this crumb cake has both, how great is that?

My father-in-law said this was the best crumb cake he’s ever had…  and I happen to agree.     🙂  Are you ready to meet the perfect crumb cake?!

There is a better than 50/50 ratio of crumb to cake going on here.  Hello crumbs!  The cake is one of the most moist cakes I’ve ever made.  Plus, I sprinkled a ton of powdered sugar on top!  How you doin’?  Yup, this is pretty perfect.     🙂

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Crumb Cake Recipe
(Makes 9 servings)

Ingredients for Crumb Topping:

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons (equivalent to 1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 and 3/4 cup cake flour

Ingredients for Cake:

  • 1/3 cup low fat sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • crumbs (see ingredients above)
  • Powdered sugar, for dusting over the crumbs after the cake has been baked

Directions for Crumb Topping:

  1. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the white sugar, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and melted butter.
  3. Add the flour and stir until combined.  This works best while the butter is still hot.
  4. Set the mixture aside to cool, about 10-15 minutes.

Directions for Cake:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Grease an 8 x 8 baking pan and set it aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk, and vanilla extract.  Set aside the wet ingredients.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  5. Add the butter and 1/3 of the wet ingredients and mix until flour is moistened.  Then mix for an additional 30 seconds.
  6. Add the next 1/3 of the wet ingredients and beat for 20 seconds.
  7. Add the last 1/3 of the wet ingredients and beat for 20 seconds.
  8. Pour the cake batter into the greased baking pan.
  9. Using your fingers, break the crumb topping into chunks and try to form small balls with it that are about 1/2 inch in size (like plump blueberries) and drop them over the cake batter (do not mix them into the batter).  The crumbs do not have to be uniform in size.
  10. Bake for about 35 – 40 minutes.
  11. Let it cool for about an hour.
  12. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Crumb Topping Source:  What Megan’s Making

Cake Source: NYTimes


Crumb cake may seem complicated, but this recipe is very easy to make.  Make the crumb mixture first because it needs to cool due to the heat of the melted butter before adding it to the top of the cake.

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While the crumb mixture cools, make the batter for the cake.

This recipe calls for cake flour.  It can be easily found in the flour section of your local grocery store and it’s not expensive.  Look for it in boxes on higher shelves instead of the bags normal flour comes in that tend to be closer to the floor.

Flours all have different gluten levels. Cake flour has a high starch-to-gluten ratio, meaning that it has lower gluten levels as compared to all-purpose flour.  It is made from a fine-textured, soft, low-protein wheat.  Plus it is bleached, which is why it’s often whiter than unbleached flour.  As a result, you tend to end up with a light and moist cake and it won’t end up chewy or tough due to the very low gluten levels.

I know what you’re thinking.  Flour is flour, right?  I can substitute the cake flour with all-purpose flour, right?  Sort of.  In a pinch you could probably get away with using all-purpose flour, but I personally recommend grabbing a box of cake flour for this one.  All flours are not created equal.  Another substitution I’ve found is on the Joy of Baking site.  I have not tried any of their alternatives but I wanted to let you they exist.  Head over to their site for the details.

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Making the crumbs is easy but it is a bit time consuming.  Do they make a “crumb making” machine?     😉   Nah, not necessary.  I turned on my auto pilot button and made tons of crumbs while having a lovely conversation with my hubby.

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Any traditional crumb cake involves a white cake topped with some amount of crumbs.  Let’s be honest here though, if you could find one that was entirely crumbs you’d eat it.  The crumbs are my favorite part and half of this one consists of crumbs!  Okay, that’s reason #1 why this crumb cake is perfect.  Just look at those crumbs!  There is no mistaking this cake for anything except a crumb cake and that’s my kind of cake.     🙂

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They will not crumble all over the place when you bite into it.  These crumbs are moist and they hold their form.  The thick layer of cinnamon and sugary crumbs really make this cake.

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The cakey bottom is scrumptious and is reason #2 why this is a perfect crumb cake.  Even if you could probably enjoy the crumbs if you just piled them in an old sneaker, it really helps that the cake part is amazing too.  This cake is one of the most moist cakes I’ve ever baked.  Looks like that cake flour and sour cream worked their magic.     🙂

Let’s not forget about the powdered sugar here, reason #3 why this crumb cake is perfect.  I am obsessed with powdered sugar.  If you are familiar with my blog then you already know this about me.  I tend to coat a lot of my baked goods with this heavenly sugar and the one’s I don’t are usually just because I want to give my husband a chance to eat something without choking on it from time to time.     😉

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This crumb cake is truly one of the best things I’ve ever baked.  If you are a fan of crumb cakes then I know you’ll fall in love with this recipe, like I have.  Even if you’re not a fanatic about crumb cakes and you simply have a love for cakes in general you’ll still adore this recipe.  If you like coffee and cake for breakfast, you’ll gobble this up.

I made this crumb cake for family when my husband and I visited them in Vermont recenlty.  Everyone raved about it and it didn’t last more than 24 hours.  I sometimes measure my success in hours, so if something I made didn’t last long, like this crumb cake, then I take that as a sign that I made something great.     😉

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Get ready for those big crumbs!





Looking for other breakfast baked goodies?  How about Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake.


Or Cheese Danish.



  1. This crumb cake looks so moist.. yet so crumbly, I’m swooning. I’ve love a piece for breakfast.. *hint hint hint*. 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      LOL! I swore I heard harps when I took it out of the oven and then again when I ate it. 😉

  2. I love when a man says this is the “best” of what he’s eating…I just think it’s the biggest compliment! And I can truly see how this could be the perfect crumb cake! Pinning!

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome…so happy you like what you see! I just know you’ll love this. And you are so right, about men…there is something about a man saying “this is the best ever”. As if that is true validation you have made something to perfection. 🙂

  3. This looks so moist and flavorful! Can’t wait to try it!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks! I know you will absolutely fall in love with it. 🙂

  4. You can just see how perfectly moist this cake is. Baking with sour cream (which I try to sub greek yogurt for) always gives you that rich, moist texture. Looks delicious! 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks Sarah! I love using sour cream or Greek yogurt in so many of my baked goodies. I definitely notice that it produces a more moist cake texture. 🙂

  5. I love love love crumb cake! This looks perfect, indeed 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much Sally! I eat crumb cake any chance I can get because it’s my favorite breakfast time baked goodie (even though I’ll eat any time of the day). Usually I don’t say something is “perfect” because there is almost always room for improvement and it’s so subjective, but sometimes there is a clear winner like this recipe. 🙂

  6. Huge fan of crumb cake! This is gorgeous 🙂

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much Aimee! 🙂

  7. nikki says:

    Oh jeeeez this looks so good! I might have to make this! Won’t be putting the crumbs on old sneakers though lol.

    1. Tina says:

      LOL! Good call. 🙂

  8. Tahnycooks says:

    I totally agree with you; I would rather eat more “crumb than cake” yum! This looks fantastic!

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much! Crumb cake crumbs rule. 🙂

  9. I love the crumb topping!!! The whole cake looks delish!!

    1. Tina says:

      Crumb topping is so devine. especially this one. After making this crumb cake it got me wondering how else I could use this crumb recipe…can I even make a dish of just crumb topping? 😉

  10. AWESOME- ‘nough said!!

    1. Tina says:

      Awesome, indeed! 🙂

  11. Deborah says:

    I adore crumb cake, and this really does look perfect!!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you so much! I appreciate you stopping by. 🙂

  12. I love all things crumb! And this looks delicious…. A piece of this with my morning coffee sounds sooooo good. 🙂 Have a great weekend Tina.

    1. Tina says:

      Totally! Coffee with crumb cake is the best. Have a lovely weekend. 🙂

  13. CCU says:

    Your coffee cake looks heavenly my friend, delicious 😀


    1. Tina says:

      You’re very kind. 🙂 Thank you so much for stopping by!

  14. Sugar et al says:

    Love the step by step tutorial. You make it look easy. And of course, delicious! I’d love to take a bite of that now.

    1. Tina says:

      Thanks so much! I try very hard to make the instructions as clear as possible so I’m glad you approve. 🙂

  15. Cake with a crumb layer?!? Oh my gosh!!

    1. Tina says:

      I know, right?! It’s amazing. 🙂

  16. Hazel says:

    Hello Tina,
    Thank you for sharing this recipe. I’d like to give it a whirl, with mixed berries. Do you think it would work out?

    1. Tina says:

      I think that is a great idea and sounds delicious.

      1. Hazel says:

        Great! Thank you for your kind response. I hope you are staying well and safe.

  17. Thelma says:

    Crumbs just sunk into cake batter while baking. What did i do wrong?

    1. Tina says:

      I have made this recipe a few times and that has not happened to me. If I had to guess, it sounds like there was not enough flour in the cake batter because it was not thick enough to hold the crumbs on top while it cooked. I checked the original source of this recipe to make sure that I wrote the ingredients correctly and they are.
      I am sorry that this happened.

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