Bored Cook In The Kitchen

Tried and true recipes, new twists on old favorites, and new dishes to expand my family's palate.

Crumb Topped Coffee Cake


My sister-in-law has made this cake for as long as I can remember and it’s a huge hit in our family.

You can call it Crumb Cake, or you can call it Coffee Cake.  It fits both bills.  Although, there is no actual coffee in this cake, it’s great with a cup of coffee and the crumbs on this cake really make it perfect.  My husband and I have always loved Coffee/Crumb Cake, but you can’t always find the perfect piece.  Often times the cake is thick and dry and the crumb topping is sparse.  To me, the secret to a perfect Crumb Cake is a perfect balance of moist cake underneath, and a thick and buttery crumb topping to adorn it. 

This to me is a nice balance.  Not to mention since you use a boxed cake mix, it’s perfectly easy as well.

There are a few changes I have made from the original recipe as given to me by my sister-in-law.  First, she uses a yellow cake mix.  Which is very good.  I had vanilla cake mix so I used that.  It was just as good.

The other thing she does different is she bakes this in shallow foil pans.  I don’t have the dimensions of the pans she uses, but I would estimate they are probably about 2 inches deep as well, but longer and wider than the one I used.  I know she uses two of these to make one recipe.  I didn’t have these  type of pans, of which I don’t know the measurements, but if I saw them in the store I would know.  The only pan I had was a 13″x9″x2″ pan.  It’s not terrible in this size pan, but I do prefer it in the more shallow one she uses.  It ends up coming out less cake-y and more crumbly, if that makes any sense at all.  Which after reading this last paragraph and all of my convoluted sentences, I wouldn’t blame you if you had no idea what I was talking about.  At this point I’m not even sure if I know.

The recipe I’ve giving below is based on a bake time for the size cake I made in the 13″x9″x2″ pan.  I plan on finding out the exact dimensions of the pans she uses and I will update the recipe once I do. 

Crumb Topped Coffee Cake

  • 1 Box Duncan Hines Moist Vanilla Cake Mix
  • Note:  Mix the cake mix according to the directions on the box, but replace the water with milk.  I used 1%. 

Crumb Topping Ingredients:

  • 3 Sticks of Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 – 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 3 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon Nutmeg, optional
  • 1/2 cup Chopped Pecans, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake batter according to directions on the box remembering to replace the water with an equal amount of milk.

Grease and flour a 13″ x 9 x 2″ baking dish

Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake in oven for 15 minutes. 

While cake is baking, melt the butter and add the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and pecans.  Gradually add the melted butter and vanilla to the flour mixture, stirring well to get it all incorporated.

The flour mixture will be moist and begin to turn somewhat solid. 

After the cake has baked for 20 minutes, remove it from the oven.  When you remove the cake from the oven the center will not be completely baked.  If it’s somewhat soft, you can proceed with the directions from here.  If it’s very jiggly still, put it back in the oven and check it after each additional minute.  You don’t want the middle to be super soft and jiggly or else the weight of the crumb topping will sink to the bottom of the pan.

Break off pieces of the crumb topping and gently cover the top of the cake with it.

After you have the top of the cake covered, return it to the oven and bake until completely done.  My cake baked in my oven on the first round for 22 minutes, then I added the topping and cooked it for an additional 13 minutes.  Every oven will vary, as well as the pan you are using, so watch it and check for it to be done.  When you can insert a toothpick into the center of the cake and have it come out clean it’s done.

Allow to cool and serve with a good cup of coffee.

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4 responses to “Crumb Topped Coffee Cake

  1. engarde September 29, 2010 at 10:28 PM

    Re: “Often times the cake is thick and dry and the crumb topping is sparse.” –I completely agree! I cannot wait to try this recipe. 🙂

  2. Caveman Cooking October 15, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    Pam, this is one of my favorite things on earth! Can I pleeeeeeeease have a slice?!? Okay, I admit it … I really want the whole cake! 😉

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