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Apple Cinnamon New York Crumb Cake

October 18, 2012

I love New York style crumb cake. What’s not to love?

That fluffy, moist, buttery yellow cake. Those boulders of crunchy, cinnamon laced crumbles scattered over the top. The way it goes oh-so-perfectly with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee and your PJs on a Saturday morning.

When I was a kid, we always had Entenmann’s crumb cake in the house. It was a weekend breakfast staple that I remember begging my parents for – sometimes before they were even awake.
(Sorry Mom and Dad.)

I remember I could barely resist the urge to pick all the crumbs off the cake and eat them. Everyone knows they’re the best part! I love that this version has massive piles of crumbs. It makes my inner child happy.

You know what else goes perfectly with crumb cake? Apples.

I mean, New York is called the Big Apple, right? I figured if regular crumb cake is awesome, adding a layer of slightly softened cinnamon apples would make it amazing. I was pretty much right. You have to kind of squint to see it in the photos, but trust me – there’s a thin layer of apples nestled right under that huge pile of crumb topping. I took it easy on the apples because I was afraid they would sink under the weight of the boulder-like crumbs. The apple flavor still comes through though!

I baked this Apple Cinnamon NY Crumb Cake for a casual breakfast with some friends. It got rave reviews all around, even from the toddler! And I found I couldn’t stop sneaking pieces well after breakfast had passed.

This crumb cake is exactly what you need for a crisp fall morning with a cup of coffee and your favorite people.

In your PJs.

Make it happen.

Apple Cinnamon NY Crumb Cake

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Serves 8 – 10

It might seem like an easy swap, but don’t be tempted to use all-purpose flour in place of cake flour. The cake flour is crucial for getting that perfectly tender, moist crumb in the cake.

Crumb Topping Ingredients

1/3 cup granulated sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
1/3 cup dark brown sugar (2 2/3 ounces)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and still warm
1 3/4 cups cake flour (7 ounces)

Cake Ingredients

1 1/4 cups cake flour (5 ounces)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon table salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk

Apple Layer Ingredients

1 tablespoon butter
2 honey crisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples, brown sugar and cinnamon, stirring to combine. Cook just until apples soften, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Prepare the crumb topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, cinnamon, salt and melted butter. Stir in flour with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until a thick dough comes together. Set aside to cool while you mix the cake batter.

Preheat oven to 325°F. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with a double layer of aluminum foil, leaving some excess to overhang the edges. Spray with baking spray.

In the bowl of a mixer, add flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Mix on low speed with the paddle attachment until just combined. While still on low speed, add butter pieces one at a time. Keep mixing until batter resembles moist crumbs (1-2 minutes). Add egg, egg yolk, vanilla and buttermilk. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (1-2 minutes), scraping down sides if necessary.

Pour batter into prepared pan, using a spatula to smooth the top. Gently place an even layer of cooked apple slices on top. Using both hands, break topping dough into crumbs about the size of large peas. Starting at the edges and working toward the center, sprinkle crumbs in an even layer on top.

Bake at 325°F for 35-40 minutes, or until top is golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire wrack for at least 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan by foil edges. Dust with confectioners sugar just before serving.

Can be stored at room temperature covered tightly in plastic wrap for a few days. If it lasts that long…

  1. October 18, 2012 9:19 pm

    Apple + cinnamon are a wonderful combination, this crumb cake looks wonderful.

  2. October 18, 2012 9:48 pm

    Beautiful photos!! Cake looks delicious!

  3. October 18, 2012 9:58 pm

    Entenmann’s crumb coffee cake is my guilty pleasure. There was an Entenmann’s outlet in my town growing up, which is basically a giant warehouse filled with day old coffee cakes and raspberry danishes for half price. It was heaven.And yours looks so spot on I can’t wait to make the upgrade!

    • The Craving Chronicles permalink*
      October 19, 2012 8:15 am

      I’ve been to an Entenmann’s outlet too! Somewhere in Pennsylvania I think. I remember being in awe because it was a whole store filled with nothing but Entenmann’s. LOL

  4. Healthy Glow Nutrition permalink
    October 18, 2012 10:35 pm

    This looks heavenly!

  5. vinicooksveg permalink
    October 19, 2012 4:54 am

    Looks amazing! Yummy!

  6. October 19, 2012 10:42 am

    I grew up eating Entenmann’s NY Crumb Coffee Cake too and I miss it (can’t find it here in TX. BOO.) But as much as I love Entenmann’s coffee cake, I am certain your homemade version tastes even better. Love the addition of apples.

  7. October 19, 2012 1:22 pm

    So pretty! What a delicious, and classic, combination of flavours.

  8. October 20, 2012 4:03 am

    This looks so delicious!

  9. October 20, 2012 12:39 pm

    oh my god! foodporn. its dangerous to read your blogposts in the evening sitting on the couch near the fridge…

    • October 20, 2012 2:27 pm

      Oh, btw, you took the Lords name in vain… Just saying….

  10. October 20, 2012 2:27 pm

    I bet that tastes soooo good!

  11. Lauren permalink
    October 22, 2012 2:26 pm

    Okay! See you in a few days ;)

  12. October 26, 2012 6:33 am

    Just made this for a coffee morning! Was sooooooooooo delicious! Thanks so much for the tips. Xxx

  13. Lauren permalink
    November 5, 2012 2:14 pm

    Okay, so my crumb topping sank into the cake. I think it is in part because I did not cut the apples thinly enough, which created some pockets where the crumb topping sank and others where it did not. I blame my toddler who insisted in ‘helping’, but she’s adorable and excellent at spreading crumb topping so I forgive her. Plus, it still tastes AMAZING :)

  14. November 20, 2012 11:03 am

    Apple and cinnamon are best friends, and made into a nice warm cake during the cold winter days, is perfect. Fantastic photography as well!

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