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Sour Cream Crumb Cake

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A perfect breakfast cake.

This New Jersey-style sour cream crumb cake recipe takes the cake — with tender, buttery crumbs atop moist vanilla cake, with just the right amount of cinnamon to put this simple breakfast cake over the top.

Jersey-Style Sour Cream Crumb Cake Recipe Easy

Sometimes life (and breakfast, dessert, or a coffee break) demands the sweet, simple comfort of a tender vanilla cake topped with big, buttery brown sugar clumps. This simple cake combines classic sour cream coffee cake and New Jersey-style crumb buns into one delicious cake heaped with streusel.

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cake ingredients egg flour brown sugar butter flour

What Are Jersey Crumb Buns and Coffee Cake?

If you are lucky enough to stumble into one of New Jersey’s legendary diners or bakeries, you will almost always see a tray of crumb buns. Jersey-style crumb buns have a small layer of yeasted vanilla cake on the bottom, with heaps of thick, buttery brown sugar streusel on top.

Coffee cake carries a similar theme. Traditional sour cream coffee cake has a tender vanilla cake. This cake gets leavened not with yeast but with baking powder and soda. The cake batter is then folded with a ribbon of cinnamon-nut streusel and on top of the cake and baked.

This special breakfast cake combines the forces of coffee cake and Jersey crumb buns, with a moist sour cream cake base and a chunky crumb bun streusel on top — with an added coffee cake kick from extra cinnamon and nuts.

New Jersey sour cream crumb cake batter with brown sugar crumbs before baking

Sour Cream Crumb Cake: Recipe Steps and Tips

This sour cream coffee cake recipe is not difficult to bake up to moist, golden breakfast perfection. Basically, to make this cake, you make two separate (but easy) components: the cake, and the cinnamon brown sugar crumbs.

  • Make the streusel first, then let it sit and hydrate while you make the cake batter. The streusel will be the consistency of thick cookie dough.
  • The cake layer on the bottom is a simple sour cream vanilla cake, using a basic creaming method.
  • Spread the cake batter onto a greased 9 x 13-inch cake pan, then top with streusel. You can add a generous cup of blueberries into the batter if you like, or a layer of crushed nuts between the cake and the crumbs.
  • Break the streusel into big chunks. You’re not going for little bits here; most of the crumbs should be roughly about 1/2″ pieces.
  • Bake for about 40 minutes,  until a cake tester comes out clean.

piece of New Jersey sour cream crumb cake on plate with coffee cup

Crumb Cake Variations and Substitutions

The straightforward ingredients are uncomplicated and make a delicious vanilla cake, lightly fragrant with cinnamon and caramel from the brown sugar. But you may want to gild the lily a bit and make it your own.

Can I Substitute the Sour Cream?

The best substitute for sour cream is whole-fat plain Greek yogurt. You can substitute the yogurt with a 1:1 ratio. If you have plain yogurt, strain it through a cheesecloth in advance to let some of the moisture drain.

How to Make This a Blueberry Crumb Cake

You can make this a berry cake if you’d like. To make a blueberry crumb cake, fold one heaping cup of blueberries into the cake batter, and proceed.

Add Nuts to Make It More of a Coffee Cake

You can also add nuts if you’d like, to make it closer to a traditional coffee cake.

Nuts, I recommend walnut pieces, should be layered between the cake and the streusel for the best result. Use small pieces of pecans or walnuts, and lightly dust with additional cinnamon before topping with the brown sugar streusel.

Easy Sour Cream Crumb Cake Breakfast Cake

Did you try this sour cream crumb cake recipe? Tell us about it!

Jersey-Style Sour Cream Crumb Cake

Easy Sour Cream Crumb Cake

This coffee cake-inspired New Jersey sour cream crumb cake recipe is the breakfast cake of my dreams. A moist vanilla cake topped with chunky, buttery cinnamon brown sugar streusel.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Course: Breakfast, brunch, Dessert
Cuisine: American
Keywords:: breakfast, coffee cake, crumb buns, dessert, new jersey, sour cream, sour cream coffee cake, sour cream crumb cake recipe, streusel
Servings: 1 9" x 13" cake
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Ingredients

For the Crumb Topping

  • 2 1/2 sticks (10 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups cake flour
  • powdered sugar (for dusting)

For the Cake

  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 generous cup blueberries (optional)
  • 1 cup pecan or walnut pieces (optional)

Instructions

For the Crumb Topping

  • Melt the butter and combine in a large mixing bowl with the sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Stir in the cake flour one cup a a time, until the mixture forms a cohesive dough, like a very thick cookie dough. Set aside.

For the Cake and to Finish

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and grease a 9" x 13" cake pan.
  • Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugar and softened butter until fluffy. Add the eggs and beat until lightened and smooth. Scrape the bowl to make sure everything is well mixed.
  • Add the flour mixture alternately with the sour cream (flour/sour cream/flour), mixing on low with each addition, just until combined. Fold In the blueberries, if using.
  • Spread the cake batter evenly in the cake pan. If using nuts, sprinkle them all over the top of the batter. Top with the streusel crumbs, breaking the streusel into roughly 1/2" chunks. Be generous.
  • Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester comes clean in the center. Cool fully. Dust with powdered sugar and cut into squares to serve.

28 comments

  • Beth A Holden

    5 stars
    This crumb cake was delicious!!!

  • Joanna McGuire

    4 stars
    Looks like a nice recipe, and I appreciate the concise instructions: thank you! Not so sure about sprinkling nuts atop the batter (versus incorporating them into crumb topping), and wish weight measurements were listed. I don’t see it here, but I’ll be adding the perfunctory teaspoon of vanilla extract in the cake batter . . .

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Joanna! Thanks or the comments. Great call about the weights. I am working on creating a better recipe card experience that can toggle between metric and volume measurements. In the meantime, I like to refer to King Arthur’s rather comprehensive list. I hope that it can be helpful to you in the meantime. https://www.kingarthurbaking.com/learn/ingredient-weight-chart

  • Cathy B GOLDENBERG

    1 star
    I followed this recipe exactly. I was hoping for a delicious buttery melt in your mouth cake and crumb topping. The crumb topping was hard as a rock and crumbly. There is about 2 cups more flour in the recipe than there should be. TOO MUCH FLOUR

    • Unpeeled

      Oh dear! I am so sorry that the recipe did not work out for you. I am trying to figure out how that might have happened, as generally speaking, people do love the recipe and it has even been featured on other blogs! Thank you very much for sharing this note.

  • Livia McAllister

    5 stars
    This is the best tasting coffee cake ever. Every time I bake this exquisite coffee cake, it is to rave reviews.
    It reminds me of a superior ( excellent ingredients in this recipe) of Drakes Cake I enjoyed as a child.

    • Unpeeled

      What a great comment and thank you! One of my favorite cakes ever.

  • Diane White

    4 cups of flour in the topping? A total of 6 cups?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Diane! Yes, that is correct. The crumbs require 4 cups of cake flour. The cake requires 2 cups of all-purpose flour. I know 4 cups seems like a crazy amount, but you’ll see how it absorbs into the butter and sugar mix. You want to use cake flour because it contains less protein and will make a more tender crumb.

  • Can you please tell me the best way to keep this cake (assuming there is any left over!)? Covered? Refrigerated? Room temp.?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Marcia! This cake will keep for several days covered at room temperature. The fridge tends to make baked goods stale. Room temp is fine. And this crumb cake also freezes very well. I like to individually wrap large squares, then pull them from the freezer as needed.

  • Looking for a recipe with a “tender crumb” sounds like this will be perfect.
    However I really need a recipe fit for two such as an 8″ square pan.
    Can you help me scale down the recipe to fit an 8″ or 9″ pan or should I literally cut the ingredients in half…
    Thank you so much.

    • Unpeeled

      Hi! I actually think that a half recipe will be perfect for an 8×8” pan. (Just keep an eye on the shorter baking time, of course.) and for what it’s worth, I can personally attest that this freezes very well. Enjoy baking!

  • 5 stars
    What a wonderful recipe. I made this on the weekend and we could not stop eating it. I finally had to wrap it and freeze it so we would stop! I left half of the cake batter plain and I added blueberries to the other half of the batter.
    So, so Good. Thank you for this recipe!

    • Unpeeled

      This made me both smile and laugh! I have the exact same problem…those crumbs are quite addicting, aren’t they? I am very happy that you enjoyed the recipe, and thanks for writing! 🙂

  • Priscilla

    5 stars
    outstanding cake. I was a little put off by using two types of flour, but it really is worth it.

  • 5 stars
    OMG the CRUMBS!!! This is addictive. Love it.

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