Grandma Sachs' Crumb Cake


Crumbcake Coffee Cake

Three of my boys have publishing parties this week at school and they all take place at 9 am. A publishing party is a kindergarten celebration that focuses on the children’s writing. Each of my sons wrote a non-fiction book about 6 pages long complete with a cover page, a dedication and a table of contents. Parents are asked to bring something to eat or drink to the party. I will be making my favorite coffee cake. I have made it before for class events and it’s always a big hit, especially if it is cut up. If it’s cut into small pieces it’ll go before the party is over. If it’s not cut up, folks seem to be afraid to broach it.

If I can offer one tip for making the crumb topping, it’s to make sure that the butter that you use comes right from the refrigerator. Yes, you want it rock hard. The first time I made this recipe, I softened the butter before I made the crumbs and it was a disaster.

The last line in the instructions says to dust the cake with confectioners sugar.   When I dust something with sugar, I use a tea strainer.  It makes dusting with confectioners sugar really easy.

Everyone thinks this cake is difficult to make. It’s actually quite easy. I hope you try it and I hope you like it. My boys do!

This is my friend Pam’s grandmother’s recipe.

NB: When making the crumbs, please note that they will look like sand before they turn to crumbs. Once you see a sand-like consistency, continue to pulse until crumbs begin to form. Once you see lumps forming, you should be done. If you continue to pulse in the food processor, the crumbs may turn to a dough-like consistency. If this happens, use a fork to turn the dough into crumbs for the top of the cake.

Grandma Sachs’ Crumb Cake


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup milk
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt


2 cups flour
1 cup butter, hard (right from the refrigerator)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Alternate adding dry ingredients and milk. Pour into greased 13×9″ pan and bake for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the crumbs. To make crumbs, pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until crumbs form. This process doesn’t take longer than a minute or two. The mixture will look like sand first – keep pulsing until crumbs form.

After baking for 25 minutes the cake should be somewhat solid. You want it solid so the crumbs don’t sink in. If it’s somewhat solid, place the crumbs on top and bake for 10 minutes more. Test for doneness with a toothpick. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Dust with confectioners sugar just prior to serving.

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9 comments to Grandma Sachs’ Crumb Cake

  • How long does this stay fresh? If I make it on a Friday will it be good for Sunday breakfast?

  • I typically make this the day before I’m going to serve it, and when served it has been perfectly fresh. I imagine that if you make it on Friday it will be fine on Sunday morning if you keep it tightly covered once it cools down. I can’t speak from experience because this coffee cake is so good that it never lasts long around here.

    I recommend dusting it with confectioners sugar just before you serve it.

  • Donald and Peter

    We didn’t have time to find out how long this cake lasts–it didn’t last a day! It’s like Entenmann’s, only moister.

  • Lauren

    Do you serve it in that dish or could you plate it? I am thinking about making it for a baby shower?

  • StylishCuisine

    Lauren – I typically put this cake on a table right in the dish in which I make it. I have a fancier dish that goes into the oven, so sometimes I make it in that. You can also cut it into squares and put the pieces on a pretty platter. I LOVE this recipe. Make it all the time.

  • Lauren

    Great! I’ll let you know how it turns out. Have you ever made it in muffin form?

  • StylishCuisine

    Lauren – I’ve never made it in muffin form. I recommend making it in a 9×13 pan and cutting it into squares – it’s more traditional that way. That said, if you try it as muffins, please let me know how it is. My guess is you might need to make more crumbs if you’re making muffins, but that’s just a guess.

  • Lauren

    I have made this two nights in a row and it is delicious. My only problem was the first night I only got dust in the food processor but formed some crumbs myself. The next night I processed more but almost to a dough consistency? I just fluffed the dough with a fork to get crumbs. Hope that worked 😉

  • StylishCuisine

    Lauren – thanks for sharing your crumbs experience. When making the crumbs, they definitely look like sand before they turn into traditional-looking crumbs. I’ll amend the recipe to reflect this. Sorry you had trouble with your first attempt.

    One other comment – you can definitely go beyond crumbs into a dough-like consistency. It sounds like you went a little too far on your second attempt. Don’t worry – it will still taste great, and great idea to use a fork to turn the dough into crumbs. Cover it with a little confectioners sugar and it will look great!

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