New York-Style Crumb Coffee Cake

I’m happy to say that my culinary bucket list is now one item shorter: “Perfect a recipe for a reliably delicious and scrumptious coffee cake”… check.  Done.  Whew!  One would think this wouldn’t be all that difficult, but a good coffee cake recipe has eluded me for years.  Previous attempts have either turned out a little too sweet, or too dry and cake-y or the crumb topping isn’t right or the whole thing has just been underwhelming.  My frustration even led me to Trader Joe's boxed coffee cake, which isn't actually too bad.  Just not this.  And at least I wasn’t expending a lot of effort for my disappointment. 

And then I came across this recipe on Epicurious and took a big chance by making it for our Easter brunch.  And it was heavenly.  Then I made it again last weekend.  Seriously heavenly.

I had begun to wonder if my coffee cake standards were too high (is that even possible?), and if maybe this elusive crumb cake existed only in my head.  But I’m happy to report that the search is over.  I’ve found that coffee cake with a moist, tender, flavorful cake and a perfectly crisp topping that simultaneously crunches and melts in your mouth.  Can you even imagine?

Imagine no more.  You, too, can have coffee cake heaven this weekend.  I’m not gonna lie to you.  There is a cost here.  As you can imagine, to achieve these heights of coffee cake-dom there is a bit of a caloric cost to the endeavor.  But it’s breakfast (or brunch), which leaves you the rest of the day to re-group and expend the calories.   And heck, it’s coffee cake, for crying out loud.  It’s meant to be enjoyed with abandon.  And coffee.  Which is exactly what I did.

As usual, I dearly hope I haven’t oversold this recipe.  I have a tendency to do that, and it sort of sets you up for disappointment, you know?  So that’s all I’m going to say now.  We loved it and maybe you will too.  Here’s the recipe…

New York Style Crumb Coffee Cake

Click here for a printable recipe

Recipe from Epicurious

This recipe calls for a 9x13 pan which feeds lots of folks if that's what you need to do.  If you'd like to halve the recipe, it bakes up nicely in a 9-inch cake pan.  I place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the cake pan and then spray it with nonstick cooking spray.  It comes out very easily and looks nice for serving.  You can also forego the 9x13 pan altogether and make this in two 9-inch cake pans and freeze one for later.

Topping:
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, warm
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Cake:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups sour cream (or yogurt - I used half sour cream, half yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
Mix both sugars, cinnamon, and salt in medium bowl and whisk to blend. Add warm melted butter and stir to blend. Add flour and toss with fork until moist clumps form (topping mixture will look slightly wet). Set aside.

For the cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into medium bowl. (I didn't sift, just use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients once they were in the bowl).

Using an electric mixer, beat room-temperature butter in a large bowl until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Add sour cream and vanilla extract and beat just until blended. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, beating just until incorporated after each addition. Transfer cake batter to prepared baking dish; spread batter evenly with rubber spatula or offset spatula. Squeeze small handfuls of topping together to form small clumps. Drop topping clumps evenly over cake batter, covering completely (topping will be thick).

Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean and topping is deep golden brown and slightly crisp, about 1 hour. Cool cake in dish on rack at least 30 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool completely. Cover and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into squares and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.