← Back to Search Results
baking American
New York-Style Crumb Cake Recipe-20323

Photo by:
Comments: 0


I learned the hard way: New York-Style Crumb Cake is not to be confused with coffee cake-ever. A very passionate born and bred New Yorker (aka Renato Poliafito) informed me, quite brutally, about the not-so-subtle differences between the two. It was a dressing down I won’t ever forget. It was as if I’d confused Picasso with Norman Rockwell. First and foremost, New York crumb cake is all about the crumb topping. It is obscenely large in proportion to the cake. In fact, the topping is nearly identical in thickness to--or even thicker than-the cake. Second of all, the crumb should never contain nuts-no crushed nuts, no whole nuts, no hint of a nut whatsoever. Finally, a true New York crumb cake is swirl free. This was the hardest part for me to reconcile, as I love a chocolate nut swirl, and this cake seems like a natural swirl candidate. But I obeyed the New York Crumb Commandments and am now a convert myself.

Yield: One 9-by-13-inch cake


For the crumb topping:

  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and warm
  • 2½ cups all purpose flour

For the cake:

  • 2½ cups all purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ cups sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and position the rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass 9-by-13-inch pan. You can use a metal pan, but the edges of the cake may turn crispy (although that is not traditional, it is not an altogether bad thing).

To make the crumb topping:

In a medium bowl, stir together both sugars, the salt, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter and whisk until combined. Fold in the flour until it is absorbed and set the mixture aside.

To make the cake:

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until it is completely smooth and ribbonlike. Serape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat the mixture until it starts to look fluffy.

Add the eggs, one at a time, and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds. Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, scraping down the bowl before each addition, beating only until it is just incorporated.

To assemble the cake:

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Use your hands to scoop up a handful of the topping and make a fist. The topping should hold together. Break off in chunks and drop them over the cake. Repeat to use all the topping. Remember, the topping layer will look outrageously thick.

Bake the cake for 45 to 65 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Rotate the pan two times during the baking process. Cool the entire pan on a wire rack for about 30 minutes before serving.

The cake will last for 3 days, tightly covered, at room temperature.


Renato likes this cake with really huge crumb chunks. To attain these gargantuan boulders of sugar, make sure you give the crumb time to rest. I sometimes cheat the process and spread the topping mixture on parchment-lined baking sheet to make it dry a bit faster: however, you don’t want it to dry out completely

© 2010 Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Note from Cookstr's Editors

Nutritional information is based on 12 servings


Nutritional Information

Nutrients per serving (% daily value)

687kcal (34%)
89mg (9%)
0mg (0%)
280mcg RAE (9%)
119mg (40%)
564mg (24%)
20g (101%)
33g (51%)
3mg (16%)

Would you like to leave a comment about this recipe?

Notify me of new comments on this recipe. Add comment

We'd love to hear what you think!

Please or to add a comment to this recipe.

Sign up for
The Cookstr Weekly

Free handpicked cookbook recipes delivered straight to your inbox

Explore Cookbooks on Cookstr

cooking-for-friends Cooking for Friends
by Gordon Ramsay
american-masala American Masala
by Suvir Saran
american-vegan-kitchen American Vegan Kitchen
by Tamasin Noyes
antipasti-fabulous-appetizers-and-small-plates Antipasti: Fabulous Appetiz...
by Joyce Goldstein
david-rosengarten-entertains-fabulous-parties-for-food-lovers David Rosengarten Entertain...
by David Rosengarten
the-mozza-cookbook The Mozza Cookbook
by Nancy Silverton
lucid-food Lucid Food
by Louisa Shafia
spice Spice
by Ana Sortun
urban-italian-simple-recipes-and-true-stories-from-a-life-in-food Urban Italian: Simple Recip...
by Andrew Carmellini
the-country-cooking-of-ireland The Country Cooking of Ireland
by Colman Andrews
the-vegetable-dishes-i-cant-live-without The Vegetable Dishes I Can'...
by Mollie Katzen, Greg Atkinson
the-splendid-tables-how-to-eat-weekends The Splendid Table's How to...
by Sally Swift, Lynne Rosetto Kasper
the-gourmet-cookbook The Gourmet Cookbook
by Ruth Reichl
125-best-vegan-recipes 125 Best Vegan Recipes
by Maxine Effenson Chuck, Beth Gurney

Thanks for signing up!

You'll receive an activation email in your inbox shortly. Don't forget to click that link and activate your new Cookstr.com account!

Already a member? Sign in here

Sign up for Cookstr!

  • Receive a free, handpicked selection of recipes in your inbox weekly
  • Save, share and comment on your favorite recipes in My Cookstr
  • Get updates on new cookbooks, Cookstr features, and other exclusives we know you'll love
By signing up you accept the
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy
New to Cookstr? Sign up here
Thanks for commenting!
Would you like to share your comment on Facebook or Twitter?