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New York-Style Crumb Cake

European immigrants made this confection -- which has large, crisp crumbs on top -- a New York City coffee-shop favorite. An optional layer of jam between the batter and topping adds a fruity component.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12
New York-Style Crumb Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, March 2011


  • For the crumb topping:
  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Coarse salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • For the cake:
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Coarse salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 cup store-bought blueberry jam (optional)
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting


  1. Make the crumb topping: Mix together flour, sugars, cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Pour warm melted butter over mixture, and mix using your hands until medium to large clumps form.

  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Make the cake: Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. Whisk together flour, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.

  3. Beat butter and granulated sugar with a mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs and yolks, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Continue to beat until well combined.

  4. Spoon batter into pan, and spread evenly using an offset spatula. Spread with jam, if using. Sprinkle crumb-topping mixture evenly over top.

  5. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Transfer pan to a wire rack. Let cake cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cook's Note

Coffee cake can be stored at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Reviews (9)

  • Jaaisme 12 Jul, 2014

    I followed the recipe to the T. The cake looked nothing like the pic. The topping sank to the bottom. The cake tasted very bland. I believe it needs more sugar. The topping ingredients could be cut in half as I had almost half of it left after completely covering cake. There must be a lot of typos in this recipe. This was a waste of time and expensive ingredients.

  • Kaetchen 19 Apr, 2014

    I came across this as I was looking through old issues. It looked good, but when I read the recipe, I thought that only a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and no baking powder probably wouldn't work so well. I went on a further search and found Martha's Classic Crumb Cake at the Recipe Girl's site. It is similar, but uses more leavening and sour cream instead of buttermilk. I added a layer of jam between the cake and streusel. It was great.

  • Robert Quinones 10 Feb, 2013

    When ever I've made this recipe it has turned out great. You may substitute other jams for blueberry.

    I've never had the crumb topping sink to the bottom. Are those of you who've had that happen melting the butter used for the cake batter as well, or just letting it go to a room temperature?

  • prattba 3 Sep, 2012

    *If cutting the recipe in half - put it in a 8x8 pan, reducing the bake time to 45 min.
    *Add the jam, like the tip says next to the picture on the recipe, as it was way better than the plain version. You add 1/2 cup of jam for a half recipe between the batter and crumb topping.
    *My jam kind of sunk to the middle/bottom of the cake, it didn't look like the picture after it baked, but was delicious!

  • mscats17 31 Jul, 2012

    I've made this recipe numerous times and every time it has come out perfect - Great recipe. Try to make sure that your melted butter is not too hot & make the topping before you make the cake - as it sits it dries out more and is not to wet.

  • sonnyg 24 Feb, 2011

    i also noticed that the crumb topping was way too well as it sunk to the bottom... which hind sight make sence since your putting 3 1/2 cup of flour and 2 1/2 sticks of butter on top of 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 sticks of butter..that the top weighed more than the bottom...maybe a typo??? wasted a lot of ingredients and not something I would want to serve...

  • sommjet 21 Feb, 2011

    I agree with the comment below - the topping was way too "wet" - in order to get a "crumble" consistency, I had to add more flour - I thought the amount of butter might be incorrect too. It is delicious, however!

  • sommjet 21 Feb, 2011

    I agree with the comment crumb topping was way too "wet"...I have been making French crumble topping for apple pie for years - I was interested to see the difference with using melted butter, but I had to add more flour for the consistency to be remotely "crumb-like". However, it is delicious!

  • AZPoodlePerson 20 Feb, 2011

    I made this recipe for the first time this morning. It tasted wonderful. Would someone confirm that 2.5 sticks of butter is the correct amount for the topping? So much liquid made the topping mixture more like a dough and not like a crumb topping.

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