I think streusel-topping should be its own food group. I love it on top of muffins, cakes, and even just on its own. This is not hard to believe since it’s a combination of butter, sugar, and cinnamon with flour, but there’s just something magical about these delicious coarse crumbs. So it should not come as a surprise that I LOVE coffee cake – the absurd amount of streusel piled on top suits me perfectly, and I was very excited, and a little nervous, to try baking it at home. I’ve made coffee cake muffins before, and even blueberry coffee cake, but I was ready to try the true classic this time around. Thankfully the result came out wonderfully and I was obsessed with the look and taste of the topping as well as the cake.
I really did love this recipe – both sides of my extended family hail from the Empire State, so I’ve had my fair share of NY-style coffee cakes and this one was right on par. My Grandma is famous in her small town for her coffee cake recipe, so it’s safe to say my expectations for this cake were high. But I as pleasantly surprised with my results – the cake had a dense crumb but also seemed light and moist and had a great taste. When I first took my cake out of the oven, the crumbs were a little crunchy – I may have cooked the cake a little too long – but after the cake sat overnight, the crumbs softened up perfectly. I couldn’t help myself from immediately eating any crumb that fell off after cutting, moving, and photographing these delightful cakes. I may or may not have purposefully treated them a little rough to free off some extra crumbs along the way :)
I often bake for group meetings, get-togethers, and parties, so I really prefer preparing single-serving baked goods that are easy to grab and share. This is the reason you see a lot of cupcakes, cookies, and muffins on my blog that feed a lot of people without the hassle of cutting and serving. Coffee cake would normally be considered a bit annoying to cut and serve during class (and also pretty messy with all the crumbs), but I avoided this by cutting up the cake ahead of time and placing each serving in a cupcake liner. So when I passed around the coffee cake, everyone simply grabbed a piece and used the liner as a mini plate!
New York Style Crumb Cake
for the crumb topping:
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
8 tbsp unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1-3/4 cups cake flour
for the cake:
1-1/4 cups cake flour (don’t use AP here, it makes a difference!)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (softened, but still cool)
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
Confectioner’s sugar for dusting (I forgot this step, whoops!)
for the crumb topping:
- In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter to combine. Add flour and stir until mixture forms a thick, cohesive dough.
- Set aside to cool to room temperature (about 10-15 minutes).
for the cake:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a 8×8″ dish with parchment paper or aluminum foil (allowing excess to overhang the edges) and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer still on low, add butter one piece at a time until the mixture resembles moist crumb with no visible butter chunks remaining.
- Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.
- Transfer batter to prepared pan and use a rubber spatula to smooth the top into an even layer.
- Break apart the crumb topping into large pea-sized chunks using your fingers and sprinkle evenly on the batter.
- Bake until crumbs are golden and cake tester comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.
- Cool cake completely until cutting, at least 30 minutes. Dust with confectioner’s sugar just before serving.