Everyone needs an easy go-to coffee cake in their recipe arsenal. You'll want to bake this Classic Crumb Cake all the time so you can enjoy it for breakfast, snack, and dessert... And to be prepared for any last-minute guests who happen to swing by!
(This recipe for Classic Crumb Cake was originally published in January 2009, but was updated with new photos in 2020).
In my world, there's nothing better than sitting on the couch with a cup of coffee after a long day of work in the kitchen. It may sound silly, but it's really my special treat to myself and my motivation to get the dishes done and the kitchen clean (which is the last thing I want to do after hours of cooking and photography).
Even better is when I can enjoy that afternoon coffee with a little sweet treat. I always have some sort of cookie or pastry sitting on my kitchen counter and even when they're "breakfast-y treats," I try my best not to actually eat them for breakfast. But come my 4:00 break? All treats are fair play. This classic crumb cake is one of my go-tos.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRUMB CAKE AND COFFEE CAKE?
Until I made this classic crumb cake, I never even realized there was a difference between coffee cake and crumb cake... I just assumed they were interchangeable names. But apparently, crumb cake is a type of coffee cake, coffee cake being any kind of cake that goes with coffee.
So, what makes a crumb cake? According to this super informative post, crumb cakes have more "crumb" topping than the typical coffee cake and those crumbs are bigger. And because of the extra crumb topping, crumb cakes are generally sweeter than typical coffee cakes.
CLASSIC CRUMB CAKE RECIPE
For this classic crumb cake, I used a recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook. (affiliate link) I've made coffee cakes before and I definitely noticed that this recipe called for a lot more crumb topping with a lot more butter involved! I almost adapted the recipe to cut down on the butter in the topping, but if you want a true classic crumb cake, I recommend sticking to it!
You'll start by making the cake. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 9″x13″ pan.
Then, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each. Add vanilla, flour mixture, and sour cream and mix just until blended, taking care not to over-mix.
Spread batter evenly into prepared pan.
Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers, cut in the butter. When well-mixed, the mixture should form large, moist clumps.
Now spread the crumb topping over the batter in the pan.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until cake is turning golden brown. Turn the pan once during baking. Cool on a wire rack.
It's one of the most moist cakes I've had and, of course, that cake to crumb topping ratio is perfection!
I recommend serving with a nice hot cup of coffee. Because this crumb cake is a type of coffee cake, after all. It's also lovely with tea.
And though I mentioned trying to avoid sweet baked goods for breakfast, this crumb cake does give you a really good reason to get up in the morning. It's also a really nice addition to a brunch spread.
But my favorite is using it as a reward for a productive day of work.
I have a feeling you'll find yourself wanting to bake this crumb cake all the time... As a treat for yourself and to have it on hand for those unexpected guests who pop over.
What's your favorite afternoon sweet treat?
If you're looking for more coffee cake recipes, check out my Funfetti Coffee Cake and my Baked Apple Coffee Cake Doughnuts. I also love the idea of this Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake from Frozen Bananas!
Classic Crumb Cake
- 10 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 ¼ cups sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Crumb topping (recipe below)
- Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 1 ¾ cups cups (3 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and lightly butter a 9″x13″ pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes.
- Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after adding each. Add vanilla, flour mixture, and sour cream, mixing until just blended, taking care not to over-mix.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Spread the crumb topping over the batter in the pan.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes until golden brown, turning the pan once during baking. Cool on a wire rack.
- In a large bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
- Using a pastry blender, a fork, or your fingers, cut in the butter. When well-mixed, the mixture should form large, moist clumps.
- Recipe from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (affiliate link)