Wednesday, April 02, 2008

New York Style Crumb Cake


When I was very little, I would ride with my parents from Long Island to NYC; my parents would go to work, and I would stay at my grandma's house until they returned. We'd usually stop at a coffee truck pulled over on the side of the road and grab breakfast: for me, a carton of chocolate milk and a slab of crumb cake. I would ignore the cake's base (more of a sweet bread than a cake anyway) in favor of the sugary crumbs.

It's something I hadn't thought about in years until watching Cooks Illustrated's podcast on New York Style crumb cake -- and then I had to make it.

The result is a moist, dense (but not heavy) cake base topped by heaps -- and I mean heaps -- of brown sugar crumbs. This recipe does not skimp on the crumb topping; even after you slice the cake into pieces and chunks of topping fall onto the platter, your piece of cake still has a generous crumb cover.

The one thing I would change is the amount of cinnamon used in the crumb. Although the cinnamon flavor intensified the next day (and the day after that) I still would have liked a greater cinnamon punch. Next time, I'd probably add three tablespoons to the crumbs, taste them, and adjust accordingly.

Overall, however, a nice tribute to the NY Style Crumb Cake.




New York-Style Crumb Cake (adapted)

Crumb Topping
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or way more -- 3 Tbsp. -- to taste)
1/4 teaspoon table salt
16 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 sticks), melted and still warm
3 1/2 cups cake flour

Cake
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 ½ sticks), cut into 12 pieces, softened)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup buttermilk
Confectioners' sugar for dusting


For the crumb topping, mix together sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

For the cake, adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat to 325-degrees F. Line a 13x9 pan with a parchment paper sling (spray the pan with cooking spray, lay in a sheet of parchment, pushing it into corners and up sides, allowing excess to overhang edges of dish.

In bowl of standing mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.

Transfer batter to baking pan; using rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Form crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with outer edges and then working toward center. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

22 comments:

Lidian said...

You have just made me want a piece of crumb cake! And to think I am usually not a coffee-cake girl (I'll just skip over to the candy, thanks!)... I remember a lot of NYC to Long Island and back trips when I was a kid, too. We lived in Manhattan but the relatives were on the Island. We used to stop for muffins somewhere in Hempstead I think. Yummy!

Peabody said...

I love crumb cake. I had thought about making that recipe as muffins...I still might. Looks good.

Moon said...

My grandma used to make something like this and it was yummy warm. Thanks.

Putting Trance In Your Pants said...

i'm gonna try making all ur goodies

kellypea said...

Crumb cake is a favorite! I had no idea there was a New York "style," though. That would make amazing muffins just like peabody said. With apples...Mmmmm...

Chris said...

Wow! Now that's a crumb cake!

Laura Rebecca said...

I'm really happy with the result overall, but again, I'd up the amount of cinnamon in the crumb.

Kellypea, I had no idea it was a NY thing either ... maybe it's just Cook's Illustrated evoking the city to give the cake an appealing sense of regionality? (Is "regionality" a word?)

Ellie @ Kitchen Wench said...

That is an insane ratio of crumb(le) topping to cake! Of course, the sweet sugary crumb is always my fave part of such cakes so a creation like this can't help but take my fancy :)

EAT! said...

I made a similar recipe but added a layer of apples. I love crumb cake!!!

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid and we'd visit my grandparents in Queens, Grandpa always went out in the morning and returned home with a yummy Crumb Cake...and a bag of extra crumbs. What a treat. I found this recipe a couple of weeks ago and made if for our Mother's Day brunch, what a hit. Everyone loved it and we shared fond memories of days past with Grandpa and the Crumb Cake. I will be making this cake again.

Laura Rebecca said...

It never fails to astound me how many happy family memories are associated with food. Thank you so much for sharing your experience; I'm so glad the recipe made you and your loved ones happy!

R said...

Dear Laura...you're a g-d send! What is it w/Cook's Illustrated's website? Either subscribe ($25) or you can't have any recipes. I watched Chris Kimball melting over this cake. I live in NYC and Entemenns makes the only OTC coffee crumb HOWEVER, if you buy their 'premium' version similar to the one Kimball ate, the crumb layer is hard and very dense. ANyway, thanks so much. Your blog is beautiful, very warm and welcoming. R

Alice said...

I found your recipe while searching for a traditional crumb cake and tried it this afternoon. It was a huge hit! The cake was moist and a bit fluffy (not too dense), and the crumb to cake ratio was just right. There were plenty of yummy crumbs to make the whole creation perfect. I will not have to look for another crumb cake recipe again! Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

The crumb cake that I remember had yellow crumbs and no cinnamon. Anyone else remember this variety?

Beth and family said...

Wondering if covering the cake with foil while baking would keep the crumbs soft like Entenmanns. Hard crispy crumbs are no good.

Anonymous said...

As a kid we could buy Drake's Crumb cakes for a nickle, yellow cake, rich moist crumbs. Entemenns crumb is way too crunchy, actually they make a great black out cake. Ina Garten's NY Crumb cake, I think she calls it "The best Coffee Cake Ever" actually is a fool proof recipe and you can top the batter with blueberries before crumbling the crumbs over top. I prefer my cake straight tho. Dont cover when baking unless recipe specifically notes, make sure you're using butter and not a substitute, this recipe has a huge amount of butter, the crumbs should be rich and moist. Thanks for reminding me about a great cake...

BAKING is my ZeN...sweet nibbles for the soul said...

This looks great. I am in search of the best crumb cake. I will give this a try!

anna said...

this recipe was amazing! the only thing is my crumb top sank into the battered as it cooked but i thought it was good swirled with the cinnamon thru out the batter. i think i added a bit of to much butter i guess? but never the less this was wow wow wow in my mouth. the night befor i tried martha stewart recipe...she doesnt even come close to the taste of this recipe. it had no flavor really and a bit flourer taste too i did throw it out but this recipe yyyuuuuuummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmyyyy!!!

Karissa said...

Awesome :) I was reading your recipe here and for some reason forgot you were doubling the recipe. Of course I ended up referring to your page for a quick second when I had to remember how much baking soda, and I used double the amount. But if ended up coming out much better than the first time when I used half the called amount. Maybe something is wrong with my baking soda? lol! Either way, it's delicious and I mentioned you in my blog post about it. I made this four times this week, and there is absolutely none left lol!

RachelbasSarah said...

Oh we'er all in BIIIG trouble.
First I want to write to Anon that the 'yellow' crumb cake might be Drakes Cakes version.
I was at the market 4.15 and saw a Crumb Cake "New York Style" that almost knocked me over. It cost $3.99 which is now half of what Entenmanns charges for their Premium version. Entenmanns regular crumb cake is a waste of crumbs. The company is Table Talk-I bought one for me, one as a gift for someone who's addicted and never bakes. I promised to bake one using the recipe here. I won't EVER bake another crumb cake unless I can't find Table Talk's version. It does have that dense crumb with a thin layer of cake, so if that's not your thing...the epicurious might want to check out Ina Garten's version-its the version I was using before Cook's Country insisted they would improve on the perfection known as NY Style Crumb Cake!

kernsc said...

Laura - my Dad grew up outside NYC and I have a very difficult time finding anything that reminds him of the City (we live in the South now). I made these for him the other day, and Mom said he loves them and has eaten them every day. I'm thrilled to have this recipe. Thanks for helping me make my Dad so happy!

Laura Rebecca said...

@kerbsc
I am so happy to hear that! Happy Holidays!