Classic Coffee Cake (New York Style Crumb Cake)

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

Really the BEST! I looked for years for a coffee cake like this!

Years ago on a visit to New York I was passed the best coffee cake recipe. An elderly neighbor had brought some to the home of my daughter’s Aunt and it was amazing! We had a little chat about it, then before I left, she stopped by with the recipe. I was so appreciative; this must have been a great effort for her and was so thoughtful.

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

That’s what it used to be like, people! How recipes tried and true were passed along, to friends, neighbors and down the generations. The generous ladies gave freely, now and then someone, still wanting to be known as the “best” left out an ingredient or touch, and the stingy – well, they claimed “family secret.” We all know about them, now, don’t we?

That’s why I like to credit recipes when I can. If nothing else, it’s the right thing to do, but it brings back memories and most of my well-worn cards have a name on the upper corner.

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

I made that coffee cake forever and when my daughter asked for my recipe, I couldn’t find it. I felt like I’d lost a treasure. And so began my hunt. Recipe after recipe pulled off the internet (all wastes and failures) and searches through my books hoping the paper was tucked inside.

Since my daughter’s initial request, I’ve tried at least a dozen, probably more, and that was over a year ago! In the meantime, my daughter was having the same results!

Funny thing was, I had the recipe all along.

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

This coffee cake was in the April 2010 Bon Appetit, called New York Style Crumb Cake. Bon Appetit featured the same New York-Style Crumb Cake again this April and I almost didn’t give it a glance – their stylized photo makes it nearly unrecognizable as a classic coffee cake. I did adapt a bit.

Is this a New York-Style cake? I think not, but a classic coffee cake, yes! I think it’s worthwhile to share it, here, only slightly adapted. This coffee cake is more decadent than my original, not for the faint of heart! The cake is moist and delicious, the crumb is a little crispy, chewy. I love it and I hope my daughter and grandbabies will, too.

Classic Coffee Cake (New York Style Crumb Cake)

Classic Coffee Cake (New York Style Crumb Cake)


Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

This is the best Classic Coffee Cake, ever.

  • Author: adapted from Epicurious
  • Total Time: 1 1/2 hours
  • Yield: 12 servings



1 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract



Mix both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl. Add warm melted butter and stir to blend. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish.

Add flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt into medium bowl and whisk to blend.

Using electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter in large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, stopping now and then to scrape down sides of bowl.

Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add 1/3rd of the sour cream and vanilla extract and beat just until blended. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just incorporated, stop and scrape bowl down.

Continue to add in additions, sour cream, then flour (twice more of each, for a total of three additions each) until mixture is blended, beating each time just until incorporated and scraping bowl down after each addition is finished blending.

Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; this will be very thick. Spread batter evenly with rubber spatula or offset spatula; you may need to use clean hands.

Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes with only a little crumb attached (it’s easiest to test in an area with fewer crumbs, towards the center) and topping is golden brown and slightly crisp, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes.

May be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.


I have made this with yogurt instead of sour cream; it just depends what you have on hand, either works well.

Saving Money on Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

  • My daughter wanted to replace the Starbuck’s version they’d tried and loved. I can absolutely say that this is BETTER than Starbucks any day of the week, although it’s not a “clone” or a “copycat.” Hopefully, she’ll like it just as much if not more. I had a little trouble finding a current price for Starbucks – does anyone know how much a slice of coffee cake costs there?
  • With all the butter and sour cream, this is not a dirt cheap recipe to make, but it’s not too expensive if you have the basic ingredients on hand. Butter is the biggie, here, $2.79 a package, $2.35 for the recipe. Brown sugar is about $2.50 a bag, but I buy on sale with coupons and figure 20 cents a cup. White sugar at Aldi runs 12 cents a cup, 24 cents. Eggs at $1.39 a dozen (Aldi) 23 cents. Sour cream, about 12 ounces, $1.89. Flour (Aldi) 9 cents a cup at $1.55 a bag, 45 cents. Other ingredients, nominal, the total cost is about $5.40, or 45 cents apiece.

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42 thoughts on “Classic Coffee Cake with Crumb Topping

  1. This is excellent. I have made it several times and love it. I add a cup of chopped pecans to the topping. Not overly sweet, but keeps you coming back for just one more piece. Thank you

    • Thanks! I love it, too – and yes, it does make you want to go back for another, or if you’re like me, a smidge more at a time that ends up being a whole piece, anyway. I don’t know why I do that – and don’t just take the whole piece in the first place, lol!!

    • Hi Diana, I’ve been traveling so just picked up your comment. Not in this case because the baking powder in it – baking powder works best when baked within just a few minutes. You could do the struesel topping ahead. I often double the struesel and freeze half of it so I have it for the next time. I lay it on a parchment lined tray or plate and then bag it up in a ziploc and use it frozen..

  2. A slice of that enticing coffee cake and a cup of tea/coffee would be super-awesome just now. I’m salivating. Thanks for sharing.
    P.S. Thanks for visiting my blog.

    • Well I didn’t know trader joes had mixes! There’s one near me but I don’t stop in too often which is funny because it felt like years before our town got one!

      I’m guessing if you make it from a mix, it must be pretty good! You’ll have to try this, just once at least, to compare, though! 🙂

        • Ah, you are like my sister, she has a magic talent for “doctoring” things – but let me know how you like it! And if Trader Joes is better, let me know, too! haha! I’ll be over there in a heartbeat!

  3. I know what you mean about the recipes and the way they’re passed on and then lost 😉
    What a lovely cake! I know them as ‘Bohemian’ cakes, though, but I can’t tell you for sure that that is where they originated.

    • That’s so interesting! I did a little checking after you said this and saw several Czech cakes that looked a lot like this!

      I love coffee cake and there are so many I’d like to try. I have a rhubarb one that’s coming as soon as my rhubarb is fully up!

    • Hi Chitra, nice of you to say, even though I know you don’t eat many sweets…we’d have to pull you off the ceiling if you had a slice of this…you’d be buzzing! 🙂

  4. I love any cake with coffee ir that goes very well with coffee. But I guess every cake is perfect with coffee, yes? That only says that I love all cakes. 😀 These bars are full of amazing goodness. Thanks for sharing at FF! Enjoy the party. 🙂

    • Thanks Jhuls! And thanks for cohosting. This is even good without coffee – haha! I’m a grandma but still not adult enough to drink coffee! I always keep a little on hand because I like to sneak coffee into chocolate cakes, though – just a bit to up the flavor ante!

    • Thanks, Conor – it is the king of coffee cakes as far as I’m concerned. I was tempted to add a touch of icing to dress it up – something my Irish Grandma used to do, just a drizzle, but I refrained. The sugar police will be after me as it is!

  5. I’m not much of a cake maker/eater but I think this sounds like a great recipe. Simple ingredients and it makes a lot. I wonder whether I should cut down on the crumb topping if, as you say, it’s thick.

    • Well the crumb topping is a little extravagant but it is so good! It seems like a lot, but the cake is high. If you cut everything in half and baked it in an 8 x 8 it might be a better size for you and the cake and topping would be spread a bit thinner than it is on the full size. I think most of the ingredients would half pretty easily.

      • Baking the full recipe is preferred … I’d just freeze most of it anyway. 🙂 I’m making peach crumble bars this weekend or I might have given it a try. No sour cream in the house but I’ve got a whole tub of plain Greek yogurt.

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