This classic Crumb Cake recipe is reminiscent of the types of coffee cakes I used to grow up back East. These coffee cakes, don’t include a coffee flavor, they actually get their name because they were sold in local coffee and donut shops and would be enjoyed with a hot cup of coffee.
They are typically comprised of a soft and fluffy cake, with a center of cinnamon sugar and nuts and topped with a crunchy, chewy crumb topping. For another delicious crumb cake recipe try my Blueberry Crumb Cake or my Fresh Fig Cake with Crumb Topping Recipe.
What is the Difference Between a Coffee Cake and a Crumb Cake?
- Technically speaking a coffee cake has a thinner layer of crumb topping, whereas a crumb cake or “New York Style” crumb cake has a much thicker layer. Practically an equal ratio of crumb to cake! But I don’t take it that far.
- It you really wanted to add coffee flavoring to this cake, you could add 1 teaspoon of instant coffee into the cinnamon sugar mixture that gets added to the center of the cake.
- You can also bake this cake a day ahead and reheat it before guests arrive. It also freezes beautifully (see notes below).
Step#1: Beat Butter and Sugar
- The secret to this cake’s fluffy texture is using room-temperature butter, eggs, and sour cream. This will help the ingredients blend together better. Especially, the butter and the eggs.
- Combining butter and eggs is a bit like creating an emulsion. Butter and eggs really don’t want to combine when cold, but will do so willingly when at room temperature!
- Just place your sticks of butter on your countertop before going to bed and they will be at the perfect temperature when you awake.
How to Heat Up Eggs for Baking?
If you forgot to take out the eggs, the easiest way to bring them to room temperature is to place them in a Pyrex pitcher of warm water for at least 5-8 minutes. I like to use a Pyrex Pitcher because the eggs are easily submerged on all sides.
Step#2: Grease a Non-Stick Cheesecake Pan
This cake can definitely be made in a 9″cake pan, but I really love the height you get in a removable bottom cheesecake pan. Cheesecake pans are higher than cake pans, and that extra room will allow for a beautifully, high slice of cake. Just be sure to spray it well with baking spray.
Step#3: Mix up the Cinnamon Pecan Filling
- Next to the crumb topping, the best thing about this cake is the cinnamon nut filling!
- It may look like a lot of filling, but it will bake into the cake while in the oven, so when it’s done you’ll have just the right amount of sweet cinnamon center with buttery pecans.
- Since the cinnamon-pecan filling is in the center of the cake, you’ll need to create two layers of batter. The easiest way to do this is with an ice cream scoop.
- Scoop out 5 balls of batter on the bottom of the pan and then use an offset spatula to connect the balls which will spread the batter.
- Then sprinkle the cinnamon sugar and pecans on top.
Step#4: Add the Second Layer of Batter
- This batter is thick and sticky, so the best way to add the second layer is by scooping 5-6 balls of batter with an ice cream scoop. This will assure even distribution of batter.
- Then connect the dollops gently by spreading them together with an offset or icing spatula.
- Try not to catch the nuts below in the batter above, but if you do not to worry the crumb topping will hide it.
Step#5: Make the Crumb Topping
- In my opinion, the best crumb toppings are sweet and crunchy with a little bit of chewiness. This crumb topping gets its chewiness from the use of brown sugar and butter and not too much flour.
- I also like to add a bit of baking powder to my crumb topping as well, because it forces the topping to puff up and in doing so it creates a softer crumb. Not only does it look pretty once the cake is baked, but the extra softness creates a wonderful texture to the cake too!
- If you’re a fan of crumb toppings, you’ll also enjoy my Orange Pecan Muffins with Crumb Topping.
- Be sure to distribute the crumb topping equally, keeping in mind it will puff up and expand in the oven. That way you’ll be assured the crumb topping will cover the cake completely.
Tips for The Best Crumb Topping
- Be sure to whisk together the dry ingredients before adding the wet ingredients. This will assure the cinnamon and sugars are well combined
- Baking powder in crumb topping helps the crumb puff up and become lighter and more luxurious
- Don’t skimp on the butter, it keeps the crumb soft and chewy and prevents it from becoming too crispy.
Make Ahead Tips:
- You can make this cake a day ahead and allow it to cool in the cheesecake pan uncovered.
- Once it’s completely cooled cover it with foil and place in the refrigerator.
- Then 20 minutes before serving place in a 300F oven, covered with foil, until warmed through.
- Allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before releasing the cake from the tin.
Step#6: Dust with Powdered Sugar
- Allow the cake to cool slightly and then dust it with powdered sugar. The nooks and crannies in the crumb topping create a beautiful surface to hold the sugar in place.
- Be sure you allow the cake to cool at least 20 minutes before removing it from the pan. It will be easier to transfer to a cake stand that way.
Storage and Freezing:
- Store the cake in the refrigerator for freshness. Then reheat in the oven or microwave to serve warm.
- To freeze allow the cake to cool completely. Slice into individual slices, and then wrap in wax paper and foil.
- To reheat wrap each slice in paper towel and microwave on high in:30 increments until warmed through.
FOR THE CAKE:
- ½ cup (120 g) of salted butter
- 1 cup (200 g) sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) vanilla extract
- 2 1/3 (280 g) cups flour
- 2 tsp (10 ml) baking powder
- ½ tsp (.5 ml) baking soda
- 1 tsp (5 ml) salt
- 1 1/3 cup (320 ml) sour cream
FOR THE FILLING:
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) cinnamon
- 1 tbsp (15 ml) sugar
- 1 cup (150 g) chopped pecans
- ½ cup (60 g) of flour
- 1/4 tsp (1.25ml) Baking Powder
- 2 tbsp (15 ml)sugar
- 2 tbsp (15 ml) brown sugar
- ¼ tsp (.75) cinnamon
- 5 tbsp (75 ml) melted butter
- ½ cup (75 g) of chopped pecans
- Powdered sugar for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350F/176C.
- Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time until combined. Add vanilla extract.
- In a separate bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Add to the butter mixture in thirds, alternately with the sour cream.
- Spray a 9" spring form with baking spray, turn out half of the batter into pan via an ice cream scoop. Place 5 balls of batter on the bottom of the pan and connect them by spreading them out with an offset spatula.
- Combine cinnamon and sugar together. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top of the 1st layer of batter, top with 1 cup of chopped pecans.
- Then spoon over remaining batter via an ice cream scoop of 5 batter balls and with an offset spatula carefully cover the first layer with this second layer.
FOR CRUMB TOPPING:
- Combine flour, sugars, cinnamon and butter, mix with a fork until crumbs form. Add nuts. Sprinkle on top of batter.
- Bake at 350F/176C for 50-55 minutes or until a tooth pick comes out clean.
- Allow to cool. Unmold from pan, dust top with powdered sugar, and place on a cake stand.
Store the cake in the refrigerator for freshness. Then reheat in the oven of microwave to serve warm. To freeze, allow the cake to cool completely. Slice into individual slices, and then wrap in wax paper and foil. To reheat wrap slice in paper towel and microwave on high for :30 until warmed through.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 73mgSodium: 83mgCarbohydrates: 33gFiber: 1gSugar: 19gProtein: 4g