Brown Sugar Crumb Cake

The ULTIMATE Crumb Cake Recipe!! Brown Sugar Crumb Cake is a brown sugar twist on your usual coffee cake! It’s a rich and soft brown sugar cake topped with a thick layer of brown sugar crumbs AND a brown sugar icing!

Looking for a tradition spin on breakfast cake? Try my Coffee Cake Recipe…it’s THE BEST!

Brown Sugar Crumb Cake with a fork taking a bite

Brown Sugar Crumb Cake Is the Ultimate Twist On A Classic!

If you are a regular around here you know my affection for brown sugar. Essentially I will replace granulated sugar for brown sugar whenever I can get away with it. And today, we’re going all the way with my Brown Sugar Crumb Cake…from the cake, to the crumb topping, and the brown sugar icing that adorns the top.

What’s the Difference Between Crumb Cake and Coffee Cake?

Essentially not much. Crumb Cake typically has more “crumb topping” than coffee cake does, but really it seems in this day and age they two cakes are fairly interchangeable. Coffee cake is a more general term and doesn’t always HAVE to have crumbs on top…but you can’t really have a crumb cake without crumb topping…so…

I get MANY comments on my Coffee Cake recipe asking “Where is the coffee in this recipe?” And in the US coffee cake doesn’t HAVE coffee in it, but is meant to be enjoyed along side of a cup of coffee? I don’t make the rules here.

Brown Sugar Crumb Topping

Ingredients:

Crumb Topping:

  • Brown sugar. You can use either dark brown sugar OR light brown sugar in the crumb topping!
  • Salt
  • Butter. Use cold butter for the crumb topping, and a pastry cutter or your hands to form the crumbs!
  • All-purpose flour

Cake

  • Room temperature butter.
  • Brown sugar. Again, you can use either light or dark.
  • Large eggs. The size of the eggs definitely matters when baking so make sure you use large.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Baking soda
  • Kosher salt
  • Greek yogurt. You can also sub in sour cream if you have that on-hand.
  • All-purpose flour

Icing

  • Brown sugar…and for the last time use light or dark!
  • Milk
  • Butter. You will be melting this, so it can be either cold or room temperature. It won’t matter.
  • Vanilla extract
  • Powdered sugar
Crumb Cake with brown sugar icing

Is the Icing Necessary?

Well, the answer here is no. But yes. Make sense? The icing is absolutely delicious and adds another layer of brown sugar flavor and sweetness.

BUT you can skip the icing if you run out of time, or are looking for a less sweet option. You can also dust it with powdered sugar as another option!

How To Store:

I am all about a warm cake along with a cup of coffee, but this cake is just as good at room temperature as it is warm. And certainly this cake can be enjoyed for multiple days if stored properly! Just make sure it is airtight and you can keep it at room temperature for up to 3 days.

And you can certainly freeze this cake to enjoy at a later time too! Just cover it airtight. I recommend using plastic wrap to cover the pan, and then aluminum foil as an extra layer of protection in your freezer for up to 30 days.

You can thaw it out at room temperature and reheat each slice in the microwave! You can also reheat the cake in the oven. Just pop it in a 350°F preheated oven for 5 – 10 minutes until warmed through!

Slice of coffee cake on a plate with crumb topping

Looking For More Crumb Cake Recipes? Try These:

 

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Brown Sugar Crumb Cake

  • Author: Shelly
  • Prep Time Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield Yield: serves 12 1x
  • Category Category: Dessert
  • Method Method: Oven
  • Cuisine Cuisine: American

Description:

My breakfast dreams came true when I made this Brown Sugar Crumb Cake. It’s a rich and soft brown sugar cake topped with a thick layer of brown sugar crumbs AND a brown sugar icing!


Ingredients:

Crumb

  • 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup butter, cold and cut into cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Cake

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar (I use dark but you can use either dark or light brown sugar)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

Icing

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (you can use either dark or light, I used dark)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9×13 baking pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Crumb

  1. In a large bowl combine all the crumb ingredients and using a pastry cutter or your hands combine the mixture until crumbs form. I usually start with my pastry cutter and then finish with my hands to form larger crumbs. Set aside.

Cake

  1. In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt and mix for an additional minute until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary. Lower the speed of your mixer to low and In alternating additions add in the flour and yogurt, beginning and ending with the flour. Mix until smooth. Spread the batter in the prepared pan and spread the crumb mixture evenly on top.
  2. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center is set and a toothpick comes out clean.

Icing

  1. In a medium saucepan combine the brown sugar, milk and butter on medium heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 3 minutes. Immediately remove from the heat. Stir in the vanilla and whisk in the powdered sugar until no more lumps remain. Allow the icing to cool for 10-15 minutes, whisking occasionally until it thickens a bit and then drizzle on top of the warm cake.
  2. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

store airtight for up to 3 days.

I noted you can use dark or light brown sugar in this recipe. I used dark in the cake and light in the crumb and icing, but feel free to use all dark or all light.

Also, note you can add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to both the cake and the crumb if you would like a cinnamon flavored cake.

Keywords:: crumb cake, crumb cake recipe, brown sugar cake, breakfast cake, best breakfast recipe, make ahead breakfast, best cake recipe, homemade cake

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This recipe and its images were originally posted in 2016 and updated in 2020. The recipe remains the same, just updated to be more clear.

Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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23 Comments
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May 10, 2020 12:47 am

Do you really need the Greek yogurt for this cake recipe?

Amy
December 4, 2019 1:14 pm

Are there changes that need to be made for high altitude?

Christine
May 27, 2019 10:58 am

A definite winner and will make again. We always have overripe bananas that I hate to throw away. I made this exactly as the recipe was written for a neighborhood potluck. It turned out just like the pictures. EVERYONE loved it and several families took what was left home to eat for breakfast the next day. Thanks for giving me an new recipe for my overripe bananas!

Talia
March 15, 2018 7:01 pm

I made this last night and it is amazing!!! I did have to cook it for about 45-50 minutes as it was still completely jiggly at 30-35 mins, but other than that I had no issues with the recipe and everyone at work was saying it was one of the best things they have ever eaten! Even better the next day warmed up!! Delicious!!

Jean
November 13, 2016 9:35 pm

Just wondering if anybody has tried this recipe? I made it yesterday, cooked it for 32 minutes as I used a toothpick to test it part way through the suggested time of 30-35 minutes. Toothpick came out clean. When I went to serve the cake many hours later, it was almost totally raw in all of the cake but the very edges. And the crumb topping was extremely dry. I cannot for the life of me figure out what went wrong as I bake several times a week since I was married 35 years ago – and have never had… Read more »

Leslie
September 6, 2016 12:06 am

Have you ever made this in a loaf pan?

Yummy! I like your cake to crumb ratio!

Arlene
June 5, 2016 2:51 pm

Hi, love making your recipes for my family. Our favorite is Sunday chocolate cake. We make it all the time! Anyhow, I’m interested in making this cake. I have all the ingredients except for the Greek yogurt. Is there anything else I can use besides the yogurt? Would really appreciate the help. Thank you! ?

June 3, 2016 4:02 pm

Do you pack the brown sugar?

Mell
June 3, 2016 5:36 am

I never have Greek yogurt on hand. Have you ever made this using sour cream? I can’t wait to make it!!!

Mell
June 3, 2016 5:35 am

I never have Greek yogurt on hand, have you ever made this recipe using sour cream? Can’t wait to make it!!

Nicky
June 3, 2016 2:33 am

Is it possible to substitute the yogurt for something else?

Irene
June 2, 2016 4:02 pm

Looks delicious! Quick question — do you use salted or unsalted butter?
Thanks
Irene

Cyndi
June 2, 2016 2:59 pm

Oh, there is just so much “yes” in this cake.

Julie
June 2, 2016 12:29 pm

In step 1 of the instructions you say to set aside the crumbs after making them, but then you don’t mention them again in any of the other steps. I assume you sprinkle them on top of the batter before baking? Or do you add them at the end & bake them for a shorter time? Thx!

Shelly Hi! I’m Shelly and I’m an addict. Of the buttercream sort. I started this site a few years ago as a way to justify my sugary, buttery obsession with desserts. It has worked out well for me so far, because as it turns out you guys all love sugary, buttery desserts too! It feels good to know you're not alone, doesn’t it?

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