Classic Crumb Cake

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