New-York Style Crumb Cake

As I have mentioned before, I cook and bake not only because I love to eat, but because it makes people happy.  When I feel completely helpless, I know that at least I can make some good food.  My neighbor has been really sick, I mean really sick.  He is doing much better now though, and I feel so fortunate to have him (really his whole family) in my life.  I am a better person and parent because of them.  Every week I think about what I can cook for them – I wish I had the time to cook every night for them – but at least I am able to help out every once in a while.  I think of him as a miracle, and pray that each day he continues to get better and better.

With every miracle comes a tragedy.  My very dear friend at work lost her husband yesterday.  My thoughts and prayers are with her.  They have a 7-year old daughter, and he was not sick, it just happened suddenly out of no where.  When I brought this crumb cake into work, she loved it.  I remember the smile she had on her face.  I wish I could make her another one. 


New York City is definitely one of my favorite food cities.  I was fortunate to spend a lot of time there growing up – then more time right after college.  My husband and I always have a long list of places to visit when we are there – almost all related to food.  Now that our kids are old enough, we have started to spend time there again – and I swear it is like a drug.  Once you get a little taste, you just want more.

In April, we spent a week there – with breakfast, lunch, and dinner all planned out.  I had read about Chelsea Market many times, and it was on my list – but I wasn’t sure we would have time to get there.  One morning we headed over to Cook Shop in Chelsea for breakfast, and afterwards decided to take a leisurely walk towards SoHo.  Lucky for us, we just happened to walk by Chelsea Market on our way downtown.  It was a Friday morning – and it was empty – we basically had the whole place to ourselves.  It was amazing, just incredible!  We walked into each and every shop and marveled at the wonderful food.  Everything looked so fresh and delicious – we wanted to try everything.  We decided to grab just one treat that we could snack on later on – and my older daughter had her eye on these crumb cakes.  They looked unbelievable – and they had a crumb topping that was at least an inch thick, if not more.  You could taste the butter with every bite…one piece was easily enough for all four of us.

When I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, my mind immediately went to Chelsea Market.  This was exactly the crumb cake that we tasted.  This crumb cake definitely brought me back to the city.  The funniest part of the recipe was the serving size – yes, those are NYC sizes.  I served this for dessert one night and took the rest to work – people were coming back for seconds.  This is the real deal here.  



  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, warm
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


For topping:
Mix both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add warm melted butter and stir to blend. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.

For cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and beat just until blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating just until incorporated after each addition. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; spread batter evenly with rubber spatula or offset spatula. Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is deep golden brown and slightly crisp, about 1 hour. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.

Makes 12 very large pieces, or 24 medium pieces.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  New-York Style Crumb Cake

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine