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Feb 19, 2013 02:11 PM

Anyone have a GREAT crumb cake recipe and why aren't my cakes moist?

I am more of a cook than a baker, but my husband likes to eat something sweet for breakfast so I try to make him coffee cake type cakes on a somewhat regular basis. Sometimes they are great but more often they end up a little on the dry side. Not gagging dry, but not box cake moist either (sorry, but it's true. Those preservatives do some good work!)

My first question is, if you have a terrific, foolproof crumb cake recipe, will you please share it? He's from NJ and loves the ones that are a nice mix of cake and crumb but definitely a strong crumb showing.

Second, any advice on the moistness of cake would be greatly appreciated. I don't have a great oven and it seems like generally if I take it out much earlier, it's too wet in the middle and collapses a little in the center when I take it out. But maybe that's the best solution? I follow recipes relatively closely.


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  1. There's a current thread about favorite recipes form the SmittenKitchen Blog. The recipe for the Big Crumb Coffee Cake is frequently mentioned. Here's the link to that recipe:


    1. My cakes are usually dry-ish. I like that texture. It comes from not making box cakes, AFAICT. I tried making box cakes recently, from Trader Joe's. One was a cinnamon crumb cake, which had just the kind of moisture your husband may be looking for. It was entirely too moist for me.

      It was insanely easy -- now I know why people make box cakes -- and you don't have to put rhubarb in it.


      1. The original comment has been removed
        1. I make the most unbelievable crumb cake, at least according to my Dad and my husband, but it starts with boxed mix. I double the crumbs (which of course are scratch) so yes, there is an overabundance, as I find that is what everyone prefers. If you don't have anything against cake mix, I'll write it out.

          20 Replies
          1. re: coll

            Okay, I don't have anything against cake mix...may I have the recipe?

            1. re: critter101

              My pleasure! This is from the bakery where I once worked


              Use sheet pan 12x18x1

              Preheat oven 350. Grease and flour pan.

              1 box white (or yellow) cake mix:
              Mix as directed EXCEPT use milk instead of water
              Bake 20 minutes, cool 10 minutes.

              Sprinkle crumbs on top and pat down with a wooden spoon. Bake 15 minutes more.

              Cool and sprinkle with confectioner sugar.

              Now the most important part: THE CRUMBS! This is the recipe for them, already doubled:

              2 sticks of butter and 2 sticks of margarine (but I use one of those "healthy" substitutes like Trader Joes), it doesn't come out right with all butter
              4 cups flour
              1 1/3 cup sugar
              pinch of salt
              4 tsp cinnamon
              1 tsp nutmeg
              2 tsp vanilla
              2 tsp baking powder

              Melt butter/margarine and mix all ingredients together.

              1. re: coll

                Thanks so much. I have everything except the cake mix...looks like we'll have a yummy brunch on Saturday!

                1. re: critter101

                  Oh I hope so. And unless you have a major guest list, the leftovers freeze very well, for the future!

                  1. re: coll

                    Leftover crumb cake. Hard to conceive of.

                    1. re: Jay F

                      This is a bakery sized pan, and there are only two of us. Now if we were having company, you're right!

                      1. re: coll

                        Oh, I see. I was picturing 8" x 8".

                        1. re: Jay F

                          No, it's enough for an army!

                          1. re: coll

                            I guess I could quarter the recipe for an 8x8. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for posting it.

                2. re: coll

                  Couple questions!

                  The pan - 12x18x1 - so this isn't a high cake? I love cakes that are mostly crumb, but does it topple out of the pan?

                  The butter/margarine - why do you think it doesn't come out right with all butter?

                  I used to have a great recipe that I used that was on Epicurious - the Ashkanazic sour cream coffee cake, but I haven't made it in years and when I look at it now, I wonder if that was it. Just doesn't seem right. So this thread is very timely for me!

                  1. re: Violatp

                    The cake layer is less than an inch tall at most, more like a half inch. No toppling involved, it doesn't rise all that much. It's a BIG pan and plenty of room for everything to spread out.

                    The couple of times I made the topping all butter, it just seemed too greasy. I'm sticking with the original, but feel free to experiment.

                    No sour cream, but very rich nevertheless. This is a bakery recipe from the 1970s or even earlier, so not sure that Epicurious was involved at any point.

                    1. re: coll

                      Okay, cool, I'm definitely going to try this in one of my half-sheets. I'll probably try all butter as butter is what I generally have on hand, but I'll see what happens.

                      I didn't think this recipe might be my old recipe - it's just when I look at that sour cream recipe on Epicurious, it doesn't spark my interest quite as much as I seem to remember. So, I;m confused as to whether or not that one was the recipe I made multiple times!

                      1. re: Violatp

                        Let us know, I've made it with all butter because that's what I usually have too. It's not inedible by any means!

                  2. re: coll

                    Well, I made this cake tonight, and my SO says, "Yum...tastes like home"! He's a Jersey guy - I guess he should know. The cake is tender, and the double crumb topping is great. As recommended, I used half butter, half margarine. Thanks again for the recipe.

                    1. re: critter101

                      So glad you liked it, yeah it's very typical of New York and New Jersey.

                      1. re: critter101

                        Did you make the whole, giant batch? If so, can you send me some? ;-)

                      2. re: coll

                        Looks good, but I'm confused. A bakery used a boxed cake mix?

                        1. re: wincountrygirl

                          Oh, you'd be surprised by how many bakeries use box mix.

                          1. re: Violatp

                            Yeah but they weren't cheapskates, they used General Mills ;-)

                  3. I found this recipe on the 'net when I was looking to use up some ricotta cheese and some blueberries. http://www.virtualcities.com/ons/wi/l...
                    It's very moist, probably because of the ricotta. I'm sure you could substitute other fruit for the blueberries although I never have.