This New Jersey Crumb Cake, topped with a generous layer of buttery cinnamon crumb topping, tastes like you just picked it up at the bakery on Sunday morning! Enjoy for breakfast, dessert, or an anytime snack!
Sunday mornings in New Jersey (and okay New York - turf wars are real) means stopping at a local bakery, bodega, or bagel shop, and seeing giant slices of crumb cake on the counter. Even wrapped in plastic, you can still smell the buttery cinnamon crumb topping and you know you want it.
I baked one or two giant sheet pans of this cake every weekend morning at the bakery, and, although they kept the recipe under wraps, I just knew I had to recreate those flavors here at home!
The ingredients are pantry staples, but if you find yourself missing one or two, I probably have a substitution for you. Read on and get baking!
See recipe card for quantities.
Missing an item in the pantry shouldn't stop you from enjoying a delicious New Jersey Crumb Cake! Try these common substitutions.
- Cake flour - I use cake flour in the crumb topping because makes it a bit lighter. If you don't have cake flour, feel free to substitute with an equal amount of all-purpose flour.
- All-purpose flour - I have not tried alternative flours in this recipe, but I have found that 1 to 1 gluten free flour is a good substitute in most baked goods.
- Buttermilk - If you use an alternative milk in place of the buttermilk, just leave out the baking soda. Your cake will still be fluffy. Using coconut milk will give you just a hint of coconut flavor, and I'm not mad about it!
- Butter - You can use vegan butter or margarine in place of butter in your crumb topping.
I'm a bit of a crumb cake purist, but in the bakery, we often put a twist on our weekly selections:
- Marble - Remove ½ cup of the finished batter and add in 2 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. Spread the pain batter in the pain, top with dollops of the chocolate batter, and use a knife to swirl it throughout. Bake as directed.
- Spiced Crumb Cake - For a Fall vibe, add ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves, ⅛ teaspoon ground ginger, and ⅛ teaspoon ground allspice to the dry cake ingredients. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
- Fruit - Before adding your crumb topping, try adding a layer of fruit. Fresh strawberries or blueberries are great! I sometimes like to add a layer of sautéed apples, like the ones I serve with my Breakfast Chops, on top of the batter, before adding the crumb. Delicious!
- Muffins - Want this cake, but in a portable form? Give my Crumb Cake Muffins a try!
This is such an easy recipe, you'll find yourself making every weekend! Follow along with the steps below.
1. Line a square pan with parchment paper, leaving excess to drape over sides to use to remove cake after baking. Secure flaps with metal binder clips.
2. To make the crumb topping, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cake flour in a medium bowl.
3. Pour cooled melted butter over the crumb topping ingredients.
4. Mix until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate until ready to top cake.
5. In another medium bowl, whisk all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt.
6. Whisk egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla in another bowl or measuring cup.
7. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined.
8. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly.
9. Break apart crumb topping and spread over top of cake batter, starting from the outside edges and working your way towards the center. It will seem like too much, but there is no such thing. The limit does not exist.
10. Bake at 325°F for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Rotate the pan halfway through the baking time. Allow to cool in the pan, then remove from pan and dust with powdered sugar.
When making New Jersey (or New York) Crumb Cake, it seem like a harmless thing to skip, you really need to allow your refrigerated ingredients (eggs and buttermilk, in this recipe) to come to room temperature before mixing. It aids in mix together more cohesively, making a smoother batter, and better cake texture.
If you forget, and sometimes we forget stuff, place your egg in a cup of water that is just above room temperature for about 10 minutes. You can warm your buttermilk to 'room temp' by microwaving it in 10 second intervals until just right (about 70°F). Two zaps should do it.
Want more cake for breakfast? Try my Easy Apple Cake with Almonds! Tender apples, practically floating in a light and fluffy almond flavored cake? I'm in!
The usual baking temperature for cakes is 350°F, but in this case, because of the thick layer of crumb, we bake at 325°. This ensure that both the cake, and the crumb, which contains flour, are perfectly baked and at the same time. Perfect crumb and moist cake!
Yes you can, but I prefer oil in this recipe. At room temperature butter is a solid, and the cake can taste like it has a dry texture. By using oil the cake will stay moist and delicious for days!
You can place your cake under the dome of a cake stand, or in an airtight container, for up to 3 days.
Cake for breakfast? Yes.
New Jersey Crumb Cake
- 1 ½ cups (300 g) brown sugar
- 1 ½ tablespoons (12 g) ground cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 ¼ cups (270 g) cake flour
- ¾ cup (170 g) butter melted (1 ½ sticks)
- 1 ½ cups (180 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- 2 teaspoons (8 g) baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (120 g) buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) canola oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- Preheat oven to 325°
- Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Cut excess. Spray 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into pan, pushing it into corners and up sides.
- Let excess paper hang over the sides of the pan. Affix to the sides of the pan with metal binder clips. Spray the piece of parchment paper and repeat with a piece of parchment laying in the opposite direction.
- Whisk sugar, cinnamon, salt, and all purpose flour in medium bowl to combine. Add melted butter and mix with sturdy rice paddle or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, crumbly dough. Refrigerate while you make the cake batter.
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold until just combined.
Assemble and bake
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread evenly.
- Break crumb topping apart, with your fingers, into pea-sized and slightly larger pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward center. It will seem like a lot of topping, but it’s worth it!
- Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating the pan once during baking.
- Let cool at least 15 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust powdered sugar over the top of the cake.
The nutritional and caloric information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It does not assert or suggest that readers should or should not count calories, and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s or doctor’s counseling.