Crumb Cake aka Coffee Cake (New York/Entenmann’s Style)

Whatever you call it, you have to call it delicious. This is one of those cakes that you make the exception for and buy at the store. You see those little sugary balls on top and visualize the fluffy vanilla cake underneath…and then the store has the nerve to put it on sale??? How can you resist the Entenmann’s crumb cake, especially their ultimate version? Well, the way you resist it is by making your own and realizing that it can taste better (fresher) and healthier (well, maybe not, but as least the ingredients are all easy to pronounce!).

I follow America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for this cake, and it is a hit each time I make it. It has been on my dad’s birthday dessert list (see more about that here) each year and this year I had to make it at his house because I didn’t think it would ship well (via USPS or in my bag when I flew for a visit). I tried to be clever because he did not have cake flour, and I measured out the correct amounts before I left and put them in baggies in my luggage. But then my husband reminded me that bags of unidentified white powder might look suspicious, and that saying I am using them to bake a cake for my dad didn’t sound any more helpful. So…I ended up having to pick some up, but it ended up giving me a chance to try an unbleached version of cake flour. It worked ok, but didn’t seem to do as good a job as the regular stuff I usually buy. What are your thoughts if you’ve tried it?

This is definitely a cake where the flour matters because you want it to be fluffy underneath all of the sugary explosions on top. Other than cake flour, and some buttermilk (which has a milk/vinegar substitution) the rest of the ingredients are fairly common, so it made it easy to make for him. It is also a recipe that doubles well, which can help you use up cake flour if you would not normally have it on hand.

Directions for Coffee Cake

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Crumb Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (I substituted light and it still turned out ok, if a little light in color)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1.75 cups cake flour

Cake Ingredients:

  • 5 Tablespoons butter (room temperature)
  • 1.25 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prep an 8×8 (9×9 if that’s all you have, like I did) square pan with parchment and cooking spray.

For the crumb, in a bowl, combine the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter until smooth, then stir in the cake flour until well-combined. Set aside while you prepare the cake.

For the cake, use a mixer to combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time while the mixer is on low. Continue mixing to have a sandy texture.

Mix in the vanilla, buttermilk, and eggs. Beat on medium until smooth (about one minute).

Pour the cake into the pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula.

Then, take the crumb mixture and make pea-sized balls and place them on top of the cake, starting with the corners and edges. Work your way to the middle, making balls of varying sizes.

When everything has an even layer, place the cake in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Before serving, you can sift powdered sugar on top for the perfect store-look.

Directions for Coffee Cake without pictures

Slightly adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Crumb Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar (I substituted light and it still turned out ok, if a little light in color)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 7 Tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1.75 cups cake flour

Cake Ingredients:

  • 5 Tablespoons butter (room temperature)
  • 1.25 cups cake flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
  • Powdered sugar for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Prep an 8×8 (9×9 if that’s all you have, like I did) square pan with parchment and cooking spray.

For the crumb, in a bowl, combine the sugars, salt, and cinnamon. Stir in the melted butter until smooth, then stir in the cake flour until well-combined. Set aside while you prepare the cake.

For the cake, use a mixer to combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Add in the butter one tablespoon at a time while the mixer is on low. Continue mixing to have a sandy texture. Mix in the vanilla, buttermilk, and eggs. Beat on medium until smooth (about one minute).

Pour the cake into the pan, spreading it evenly with a spatula. Then, take the crumb mixture and make pea-sized balls and place them on top of the cake, starting with the corners and edges. Work your way to the middle, making balls of varying sizes. When everything has an even layer, place the cake in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Before serving, you can sift powdered sugar on top for the perfect store-look.

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14 thoughts on “Crumb Cake aka Coffee Cake (New York/Entenmann’s Style)

  1. I love Entenmann’s crumb cake and never thought to make it myself. I am so going to try this recipe; it looks amazing, especially the crumb topping (which is my fav part). Don’t you just hate the rules at the airport?

    • I have had good luck with this recipe each time. You probably could even make more of the crumb if you decided it wasn’t enough. 🙂

      Ugh–airports! I fly so much and yet it never gets better. It’s one place that you consistently find rude/mean people.

    • What did I do wrong? I made the cake according to directions ,but wondered why there was more flour and more topping than there was cake. So I was very surprised with my results. I hope you will be able to see the pics . It looks like the cake rose up from the bottom and covered a third of the topping. I’d say the topping is just too heavy and too much for this tiny cake.
      Any ideas how to control this?
      Sorry, but I can’t figure a way to send you a photo.
      But I’m willing to send a pic if you’ll tell me how.

      • I’m sorry you had trouble with this recipe. I do not own this recipe, and as I wrote in the post, it is actually from America’s Test Kitchen with very few modifications from me. I have made it multiple times with no problem, and they definitely test their recipes very well.

        I’m not sure what you mean when you say there was more flour and more topping than cake. The flour should be mixed in with the rest of the ingredients for the topping. Did you possibly do any substitutions, like using all-purpose flour instead of cake flour?

        If the topping got covered by the cake, that wouldn’t be a heavy topping. If anything, a heavy topping would keep the cake from rising so much. I would also recommend checking your oven temperature. I’m not sure pictures would help since I’m not a baking expert and wouldn’t know how to troubleshoot in reverse. There are many steps for making a cake, and it’s possible that you did things just a bit differently on a few of them leading to less than desirable results.

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  4. Thank you for sharing this recipy. I just made it this morning with substitute ingreadiance – no buttermilk or cake flower. Used milk with lemon juice to sour milk (for about 5 min) and all purpouse flower that I had in cubbord minus one tablespoon and added one tablespoon cornstarch then mixed in bowl and sifted. Came out great, sadly family liked so much I will have to make this recipy again soon!

    • I’m glad it worked! I’ve done a similar substitution with vinegar instead of lemon juice. Now I just prefer to keep the buttermilk powder on hand because it’s so easy and I use it often. I haven’t tried the cake flour substitution, but have heard of it before. Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  5. I was so glad to find this recipe since I can’t get a good crumb cake like Entenmann’s anymore where I live. My family loves this recipe and I have to hide the cake when I bake it so I get to enjoy even just a teeny bit of it!! I think that making more crumb mixture keeps the cake tasting more like the cake from Entenmann’s. Time to go cut a slice of the crumb cake I just made!!!

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