Blackberry Crumb Cake


I LOVE crumb cake so this recipe was irresistible as a use for my last half pint of fresh picked blackberries. It was originally a recipe for Blackberry Crumb Muffins. Because the description in the New York Times article made it sound so decadent, I decided it should be more of a dessert than a breakfast and more of a cake than muffins. After eating some for dessert, we woke up and ate more for breakfast! I preferred it for breakfast with a cup of coffee. It would also be wonderful for a special snack with a cup of tea. 🙂 This recipe was adapted from the New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I substituted Greek yogurt for sour cream in the cake.

For the Crumb Topping:

  • 255 grams all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 75 grams granulated sugar (about 1/3 cup)
  • 105 grams dark brown sugar, lightly packed (about 1/2 cup)
  • 6 grams ground cinnamon (about 1 1/2 teaspoons)
  • 1 gram ground allspice (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 1 gram fine sea salt (about 1/4 teaspoon)
  • 170 grams unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons; 1 1/2 sticks)

For the Cake:

  • 170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature (12 tablespoons; 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 200 grams granulated sugar (about 1 cup)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream or fat free Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 325 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/2 cups)
  • 10 grams baking powder (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 3 grams baking soda (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 3 grams fine sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 pint fresh blackberries (or use raspberries, blueberries or diced strawberries)
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting, if desired
  1. Heat oven to 350. If making muffins: Grease or line 24 muffin cups. If making a cake: Grease and line a 9 x 13-inch glass baking pan with parchment paper; grease parchment.
  2. Make the crumb topping: whisk together flour, sugars, spices and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Pour in melted butter and stir until crumbs form.
  3. Prepare the cake: using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, then scrape down sides of mixer. Mix in yogurt/sour cream, vanilla and zest.
  4.  In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture to batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in berries with a spatula and make sure batter is completely mixed.
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin pans, filling each cup only halfway. Pinch large crumbs from topping mixture and scatter evenly on top of the batter.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes for muffins, or 35-40 minutes (on convection) for a 9 x 13-inch cake, or until golden and the center springs back when very gently pressed with a finger. (A cake tester will come out with crumbs attached, but it shouldn’t be wet.) Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or let cool completely and freeze.
  7. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, if desired, before serving.
Yield: 24 muffins or a 9 x13-inch cake

Low-Fat Crumb Cake Muffins

I have noticed that my entire family seems crabby after eating a pancake or waffle breakfast. No one agrees- because we all love having pancakes and waffles on Sunday mornings. 🙂 When my daughter asked for muffins this weekend, I did a thorough search to find a minimally sweet variety.

These muffins have very little sugar, butter, or oil. Their moistness comes from applesauce and buttermilk- perfect. The sweetness in the topping gives them just enough indulgence.

This recipe was adapted from Martha Stewart Living. I modified the recipe to incorporate whole wheat flour and to bake on convection. They were best eaten warm from the oven.

Yield: Makes 12 standard muffins

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Muffin Batter:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large egg whites, lightly beaten
  • vegetable-oil cooking spray

To Make the Topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, 2 T all-purpose flour, and melted butter. Stir until thoroughly combined; set aside.

To Make the Muffins:

  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Coat the muffin tins with cooking spray, and set aside.
  3. Combine flours, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, and salt in a large mixing bowl; whisk to combine.
  4. Place buttermilk in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup. Add the applesauce, vegetable oil, and egg whites; whisk to combine.
  5. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Stir until well combined.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, place 3 tablespoons batter in each greased muffin tin.
  7. Sprinkle with a generous tablespoon of reserved topping; press gently to adhere topping to cake.
  8. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 15 minutes on convection.
  9. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before serving or cooling on a wire rack.

Crumb Cake

This coffee cake is SO GOOD! I make it every year for my husband to bring into work to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday. Crumb cake is her favorite. In the past, I have even doubled it so that we can keep one at home. Decadent. This recipe is from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion: The All-Purpose Baking Cookbook.

Yield: two 8 or 9-inch round coffeecakes, or a 9 x 13-inch pan, or a 9 or 10 inch tube pan.


  • 2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 tsp almond extract


  • 8 T (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
  • 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease the preferred pan(s).

For the Crumb:

  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. Melt the butter in the microwave or small saucepan and add the extracts to it.
  3. Pour the flour into the butter mixture and mix until all the butter is absorbed and you have a uniformly moistened crumb mixture.  Set aside while you make the cake batter.

For the Batter:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs one at a time, and beat between additions. Scrape down the mixing bowl, then beat in the vanilla and sour cream.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder together. Add to the butter/sour cream mixture, mixing until evenly combined. Do not over-mix!
  4. Pour the batter into the greased baking pan(s). Crumble the crumb mixture over the top, until the batter is completely covered.
  5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes for 8 or 9-inch rounds, 30 to 35 minutes for a 9 x 13-inch pan, or 35 to 40 minutes for a 9- or  10-inch tube pan, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool on a rack; dust the top with confectioners’ sugar, if desired.


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