Old Time Crumb Cake

Crumb cake is an easy to put together basic coffee cake. It is good to have one of these cakes on hand for snacks or to serve to unexpected guests. As with all basic recipes the variations possible are unlimited.

European immigrants brought their recipes with them when they came to the Americas. Recipes for cakes to serve along with coffee developed in the 17th century in Northern Europe. The recipes for these lovely cakes evolved from classic honey cake recipes. The earliest coffee cakes were more like bread than cake since they contained yeast. Later recipes for tea or coffee cakes used baking powder. Recipes titled coffee cake did not appear in cookbooks until the late 1800s.

This recipe will make one nine inch round or square cake. The recipe can be doubled for a larger sheet cake.


  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup of butter
  • ½ teaspoon of cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ½ cup of milk
  • 1 egg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9 inch cake pan or pan of your choice. Dust the pan with flour if you want to turn the cake out onto a plate.

Add to a mixing bowl 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of flour, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon of nutmeg and ½ cup of butter.  Rub the ingredients together with your finger tips. Reserve ½ cup of this crumb mixture in a smaller bowl.

Add to the mixture in the larger bowl 1 heaping cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, ½ cup of milk and 1 egg. Mix well. Pour the batter into a baking pan, level and sprinkle the top with the reserved ½ cup crumb mixture.

Bake the cake for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool before cutting.


Chopped nuts of almost any kind can be added to the crumb topping or to the cake batter.

This cake recipe can be the basis of your own coffee cake recipe. Add nuts, raisins, dried fruits, or other ingredients to the cake batter.

Sliced fresh or well drained canned fruit can be layered on top of the cake batter and the crumb topping sprinkled on top of the fruit. Bake until the fruit is tender. Cover lightly with foil if the top begins to brown too quickly.

Berries added to the cake batter should be floured before adding to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.

Grated lemon or orange rind added to the batter is a nice addition.

Vanilla or other extracts can be added to the batter. Rum or brandy can also be added.

Buttermilk, sour cream or sour milk can be used in the batter. Add about ½ teaspoon baking soda to the batter.

Canned fruit pie filling can be spread on top of the batter or dropped by spoonfuls then swirled through the batter before sprinkling on the crumb topping.

Another way to top the cake is to pour melted butter over the cake batter before adding the crumb topping. It holds the crumbs on the cake.

A glaze made of powdered sugar, vanilla and a bit of milk can be drizzled over the top of the crumb topping after the cake comes out of the oven.


About dwittopinions

A great grandmother living in the middle of the United States. My interests include art, needlework, reading, history, politics, and cooking.
This entry was posted in Baking, Breakfast, Cakes, Desserts, Food History, Recipes and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Old Time Crumb Cake

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  3. Pingback: Old Time Crumb Cake | What's in the Oven?

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