New York - Style Crumb Cake (9 inch square cake)

A buttery cake topped with a thick layer of cinnamon - sugar crumbs.
From Cook's Illustrated, May & June 2007, Erika Bruce, p 23.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Cooling time30 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Desserts - Cakes
Servings: 9 servings
Author: Catherine Christiano


Crumb Topping

  • 3/8 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/8 cup dark brown sugar
  • 7/8 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter melted and still warm
  • 2 cups cake flour


  • 1 3/8 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into tablespoon-sized pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/8 cup buttermilk
  • confectioner's sugar for dusting



  • Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.


  • Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Cut a length of parchment paper or aluminum oil long enough to have excess to overhang edges. Fit parchment into pan, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhand edges of dish. The excess edges are needed to lift the cake out of the pan after baking.
  • In bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.
  • Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. Do not press topping into batter. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, approximately 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.