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Sheet Pan Crumb Cake

May 19, 2021

Crumb cake is not satisfying unless the ratio of cake to crumb is perfect. Crumb cake is not satisfying unless the crumb pieces vary in size from medium to small clumps, including both crumbly bits and crumbs too. Crumb cake is not satisfying unless the cake itself is delicious, light and flavorful, not a forgotten cousin to the crumb on the top. This crumb cake is all that and more. Perfect ratio. Perfect crumb. Perfect cake.

We ate this cake hot out of the oven. In fact it was so hot when we dug into it that I burned my mouth. I thought the cake couldn’t get any better than when it was fresh and hot. Well I was wrong! This cake is fabulous hot, but when I cut myself a piece the next morning it was beyond! So now this cake is another level of brilliant because you can make it the day before you need it. So often I find myself waking up early to bake something for a brunch so whatever it is is fresh out of the oven. It’s refreshing to have a breakfast cake in your repertoire that can be made the night before.

The last thing I want to say about this recipe is that it makes A LOT of cake! Wrap up the extras in plastic wrap and then foil and put some in the freezer for a rainy day. Or do what I do. Give it to friends and neighbors and I guarantee that you will put a smile on someone’s face.

Note- Don’t be frightened by the amount of sugar or butter needed to make this cake. You will NOT be able to eat it all yourself! I promise! The pan you will be using is very large. If the amounts DO frighten you, feel free to halve the recipe and make in a pan half the size I call for.


Sheet Pan Crumb Cake


For the Crumb:

1 1/2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted

3 cups all-purpose flour

For the Cake:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups sour cream or plain yogurt


For the Crumb:

Melt the butter in a microwave safe dish. Let it cool a bit. In a large bowl combine the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and salt. Slowly add the butter to the sugar mixture, mixing it into the sugar between additions with a fork. Mix until all the butter has been evenly distributed. Add the flour and mix with a fork until it has been evenly distributed and small to medium clumps have formed. Do not over-mix or you will get a paste.

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray an 18 x 13 inch sheet pan with baking spray and line with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In the bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the sugar on medium high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one and a time, beating well after each addition. You will need to scrape down the bowl at least once as you add the eggs. Add the vanilla. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream. Start and end with the flour. Beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the bowl again, making sure all ingredients are combined.

The batter will be very thick. Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan, and smooth with an offset spatula. It may not be easy to spread, as the parchment will shift while spreading. Just take your time and work slowly until the batter is evenly spread in the pan. Now comes the fun part-sprinkle the crumb topping over the cake and press it gently into the batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake and topping are golden brown. When a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, the cake is ready. Let cool completely in the baking sheet, about 1 hour. Slice and serve.

As I said above, this cake can be prepared up to 1 day in advance as it may even be more delicious on the second day!


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