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.
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.
Love easy baking? You’ll also like:
- A Lovely Vanilla Pear Cake
- Mixed Berry Shortcakes
- Baked Sticky Bun French Toast Casserole
- Sheet Pan Blueberry Pancakes
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.
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.
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.
Did you try this sour cream crumb cake recipe? Tell us about it!
Easy Sour Cream Crumb Cake
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)
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.