Classic Crumb Cake

This post may contain affiliate links.

My nephew Jordan is the very talented chef at Rocky Mountain Ranch- an historic family ranch nestled in the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho.  He has the freedom to plan creative menus from scratch, using local ingredients and assembling theme dinners, etc.  Last spring he contacted me to see if I had a great, classic crumb coffee cake recipe for him to use.  I checked my website and found that I really didn’t have anything fitting that description.  So he came up with one on his own, and I didn’t think much about it after that.  But when Christmas rolled around this year, I thought about that conversation I had with Jordan and figured it was high time I added a Classic Crumb Coffee Cake to the collection.

Classic Crumb Cake Recipe

This recipe comes directly from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook.  And I must say… it’s an awfully good one.

Classic Crumb Cake Recipe

The texture of the base batter is very thick.  It spreads rather thin (I thought…), but it rises up a fair amount to create a nice cake layer.

Classic Crumb Cake Recipe

Here’s the shocking part… are you ready for this?  I’m seriously embarrassed to even admit that I made this, and I was totally freaked out and grossed out at the same time.  The crumb topping has 3 1/2 sticks of butter in it.   !!!!!!!!  EEK.  I decided that Martha Stewart probably knows what she’s doing and just went for it anyways.  I was also super surprised that the crumb layer was a good 1/2-inch thick.  It kind of seems like you don’t need that much crumb when you’re making the cake, but it really does turn out perfect in the end.

Classic Crumb Cake Recipe - from
Classic Crumb Cake Recipe - from

Martha calls this a “foolproof cake – perfect for beginners.”  I’d say that she’s right.  It was so easy to prepare, and it turned out exactly as I was hoping it would.  It was a big hit on Christmas morning with my relatives.  I tried to warn them how much butter was in the cake, but no one seemed to care.  Everyone went back for seconds anyways!  As for my nephew and his ranch, I must say… Martha’s Crumb Cake might be a nice addition to the Ranch’s breakfast offerings!  By the way, I hope to visit the ranch this summer, since my son quite enamored with fly fishing and outdoor boy stuff.  If the chef adds this crumb cake to his menu, we just might have to seriously consider making a reservation 😉

Martha's Classic Crumb Cake

Yield: One 13x9-inch cake (10 to 12 servings)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes



  • butter for greasing the pan
  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • additional butter, for greasing the pan


  • 3 cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt (I used Kosher)
  • 1 3/4 cups (3 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Generously butter a 13x9-inch baking pan (I used a metal pan- but a pyrex would probably work out okay too).
  2. Prepare the cake layer: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes (scrape sides of bowl during mixing to incorporate all of the ingredients). Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in the vanilla. Add the flour mixture, then the sour cream. Beat just until combined.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, and use a rubber spatula to spread it into an even layer.
  5. Prepare the crumb layer: In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt; cut in the butter using a pastry blender, until large, moist clumps form. (I used a food processor to combine the butter and the other ingredients, pulsing until crumbs formed. The crumbs were smaller than large, moist clumps as described by Martha, but they worked perfectly fine in the recipe anyways).
  6. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly onto the batter. Bake until cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. The center of the cake should feel slightly firm to the touch and not soft and soggy. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Slice and eat!
SOURCE: (Adapted barely from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook)

Other good-lookin’ coffee cake recipes on the blogs:
Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake by Shutterbean
Coffee Cake Cupcakes by The Shiksa 
Cinnamon- Cream Cheese Coffee Cake by Bake or Break 
Lemon Pull- Apart Coffee Cake by Leite’s Culinaria 
Gluten- Free Pumpkin Coffee Cake Muffins by Jeanette’s Healthy Living

You Might Also Like...
Lori Lange of Recipe Girl

Meet The Author: Lori Lange

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Kurt Jennerson wrote:

    Crumb cake is one of my favorite desserts! I cannot wait to try this out!!

  • Lisa Cornely wrote:

    Sounds delicious. Crumb cake is one of those things I have always made without a recipe and have many memories of baking cinnamon-y crumb cake with my mom on the weekends. I’m definitely going to try this one. It looks and sounds delicious. That does sound like a lot of butter but the crumbs look delicious, so I’m glad you went for it and shared. Thanks.

  • Anita at Hungry Couple wrote:

    I adore crumb cake. Definitely one of my absolute favorites!

  • callie grayson wrote:

    I love butter and had to giggle to myself, crumb cake is one of the first recipes I made when I was young…the word cake is what made me try my hand at baking! and the crumbly cinnamon & butter top had me making it every weekend.

    I think I will need to make this again soon, and try this recipe.

  • cathy @ Noble Pig wrote:

    Yeah that is a lot of butter but seems to be standard for these crumb toppings. Glad your family enjoyed it. Something like this is perfect for when you have a crowd and are not left to eat the whole thing by yourself! Happy new Year!

  • Maria in NJ wrote:

    Lori I will have to admit, I would never make this crumb cake, it does look good though, but 3 sticks of butter, nah… may I share one with you that have tried from Tara at “it smells like home” that is more of a NY style crumb cake, I made it and it is wonderful…

  • Laura Dembowski wrote:

    I have made this before and loved it. I almost didn’t after seeing how much butter it called for, but it tastes so good that I’m glad I went for it.

  • Jennifer @ Peanut Butter and Peppers wrote:

    Fabulous recipe! I haven’t had a classic crumbcake in forever!!! Your looks out of this world!!! Bookmarking for sure! Happy New Years!

  • The Hungry Housewife wrote:

    Looks Scrumptious Lori. Crumb Cake is one of my all time favs…..well anything with a crumb topping is!!!

  • Gail H. wrote:

    Looks wonderful, but all that butter…probably not…think I can sub some of it? (LOL lite, ICBINB, etc?)

  • Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar wrote:

    I can’t even begin to express how much I love a good crumb cake. Your recipe looks awesome!

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks wrote:

    I am so glad you trusted Martha and just went with it. Really, I’ve made crumb topping coffee cakes that are 9-inch rounds and have used almost 2 sticks of butter in the topping so double that for a 9×13 pan and it all pencils out 🙂 And I love the THICK layer – and the density of the cake. The whole thing is great!

  • Im At Home Baking wrote:

    Wow, looks amazingly delicious and so I will HAVE to try it!

  • Miss wrote:

    Wow, this looks so fantastic! I do love a good crumb cake.

  • Stephanie Boutry wrote:

    Yummy! I will make sure Jordan does a test run on my taste buds prior to using the recipe at the ranch this summer. I hope you can make it to the ranch, I know Brooks would enjoy every minute of it.

  • Jeanette wrote:

    How fun to have such great cooks in the family! This does look like the ultimate crumb cake – would be a special treat for guests this holiday season.

  • Shay @ Whine Less, Breathe More wrote:

    That looks amazing!!

  • Diane {Created by Diane} wrote:

    Oh I just LOVE crumb cake and have tried a few recipes but just haven’t found the one I love just yet. I will have to give this a try, butter and all. YUM! It looks delicious.

  • Asiya @ Chocolate and Chillies wrote:

    I have Martha’s Baking Handbook and I passed over this recipe b/c of the insane amount of butter in the crumb topping…I’ve never heard of that much better in a crumb topping….Glad to know it turns out really good….will have to save this one for when we have guests!

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking wrote:

    It seems like your family is a family of people who really love to cook and bake. That’s got to be fun! I wish I could say the same of my family.

    And 3 1/2 stick of butter is kind of horrifying, but it’s crumb cake. 🙂 And if it’s good, and you don’t eat the whole thing by yourself (which is sadly always a possibility for me), I say, “Oh well. Who cares?”

    It looks awesome! Definitely worth all the butter. 🙂