Martha’s Classic Crumb Cake

So, it’s Sunday morning, about 6:30 AM and I’m in the midst of my usual scramble trying to figure out what to make for breakfast. I really don’t feel like the usual pancakes or French toast.  So, I start thinking about making a cinnamon crumb cake.  I really don’t remember the last time I made one and it’s my husband’s favorite.  I was leafing through Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook and I found a recipe for classic crumb cake.  Looking at the picture, I was instantly drawn to the sheer amount of streusel.  I am such a sucker for it.  Now, please don’t freak out when you see 3 1/2 sticks of butter in the topping.  I know that’s a a ton, especially since there is 1 1/4 sticks of butter in the cake.  I don’t know about you, but I have a Julia Child like love affair with butter and I have to admit even I was taken aback for a second.  But, keep in mind, this recipe really does make a huge, 13 x 9 crumb cake.  I would say it is definitely enough to serve at least 12, if not 16 people, given its richness.  The cake is obviously really buttery and moist and the cinnamon streusel is the perfect texture contrast.  I like to serve mine with just a dusting of confectioners’ sugar, along side a piping hot cup of coffee.  Ah, what a perfect leisurely Sunday morning breakfast, right?

I sent a large portion of the cake with my husband to school and the kids loved it.  One student told Justin not to tell me, but as good as the cake is, the streusel is the best part.  Why would I take offense?  She’s totally right.  As far as I am concerned, cake is just a vehicle to eat streusel.  If you just ate a bowl of streusel, most people would frown upon that.  I say most, because I certainly wouldn’t. 😀

Martha’s Classic Crumb Cake

Yield: one 13 x 9 cake, 12 to 16 servings.

1 ¼ sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Generously butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan; set aside. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture and sour cream; beat just until combined.

Spoon the batter into the pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Take caution not to overbake, or the cake will be dry!  Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar, if using.

Crumb Topping

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt
3 ½ sticks (1 ¾ cups) unsalted butter, room temperature

1. In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, until large, moist clumps form. (Alternatively, mix together in a food processor.) Topping can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Source:  Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

Leave a comment


  1. Sara

     /  April 18, 2012

    yum! i love crumb cake (from starbucks) and have never made it from scratch. however, in the last week, i’ve made cinnamon struesel muffins from duncan hines twice. it’s cinnabon’s struesel. so deelish! it’s a good thing i don’t live near you because i know i’d be over a lot to eat your yummy baked goods. my waistline would completely disappear. lol!

  2. I have never had a crumb cake. I am going to have to rectify this with your recipe. 🙂

  3. The layers in this crumb cake are actually perfect – much love goes out to this recipe and your baking of it 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  4. Crumb cake is one of my all time favorites, however, I have been disappointed with some at bakeries. Your layers here look to have the perfect texture and I know I would enjoy a piece or two of this. Well done on this crumb cake!

  5. Mmmm!! Streusel!! I’ll have to have Steve make this for me someday. He’s pretty good with a crumb cake!

  6. I have a weakness forstreusel. This sounds delicious! Great job, Kim.

  7. That looks amazing! I made a cinammon coffee cake last week for my parent meetings at school…it was fabulous, but this looks even better…it is all about the thick, crumb topping…definitely making this one soon!

  8. Danielle Spinella

     /  August 5, 2013

    This looks delectable and a must try for me! Great job on the instructions and step-by-step photos.
    I found a great place online to get delicious NY Style Crumb Cakes called Since we moved to Florida in 2010, its difficult to find Crumb Cake like we had back home in Jersey.

  1. אופים עם מרת'ה: עוגת פירורים | קסטיאל ועוד

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