New York-Style Crumb Cake

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Speaking of my tried and true home recipes… here is a family (and friends) favorite I’ve made a zillion times, that comes from The Foster’s Market Cookbook, a wonderful book by Sara Foster who owns Foster’s Markets, two café takeout shops in Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Most of the pages in my own copy are well worn and full of food stains. The New York Crumb Cake page for certain, has seen its better days. This is not just another coffee cake – it is exceptionally delicious. There are so many reasons I love making it. When it’s baking, as you can see from the pictures, the incredible crumb topping sort of sinks down into the cake layer, keeping the cake rich and moist. The flavor of the topping is one that will have you picking up every last fallen crumb from your plate and popping it into your mouth. The recipe also makes a ton, which is great for entertaining. It freezes extremely well, too, so it’s nice to make as a serve-some-now-freeze-some-for-later. I only had to make this once for it to instantly become a regular hit at our house.

I want to note that the key to this crumb cake is to not over-bake it. The recipe says to bake at 350 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes. Let me emphasize that I bake at 300 degrees F on convection and it only takes about 25-26 minutes tops. Even at regular bake setting, I’d start checking it at 25 minutes and then watch carefully. The best way to test is using the toothpick test (make sure it comes out clean before removing cake from the oven).

 

First you’ll make your crumb topping and set aside. This is to-die-for delicious!

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Then make your cake batter and spread evenly in pan. It will be thin, so don’t worry that you don’t have enough.

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Then sprinkle on the topping evenly and very gently, push down just a touch into cake layer.

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After it cools for a little while, cut into squares or diamonds (I do squares) and sprinkle lightly with powdered sugar.

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New York-Style Crumb Cake

Sara says, “We’ve served this rich breakfast cake since we opened, for all the New York transplants and homesick Duke Students. It’s great with morning coffee. As you make this, you’ll think you have too much topping and not enough crust. Don’t worry; that is how the cake should look.”

Topping

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted  (I use salted butter ~Julie)

Combine the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl and stir to blend well. Stir in the butter and set aside.

Cake 

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup sugar

1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teapoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup canola or safflower oil

1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar, to garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Grease and lightly flour a 12 by 17 by 1-inch jelly roll pan.

Sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

Combine the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla in a separate bowl and whisk until well blended.

Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Do not overmix.

Spread the cake batter evenly in the bottom of the jelly roll pan and set aside. The batter will barely cover the bottom of the pan. It should look sparse.

Sprinkle all the crumb topping evenly over the dough and press lightly into the batter.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes (see my note above ~Julie), until the cake rises and the topping bakes into the dough.

Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Trim the edges and cut into 2 1/2 by 3-inch pieces. (For a smaller slice, cut the piece in half down the center or on the diagonal.)

Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve immediately.

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