German Crumb Coffee Cake

slice of German Crumb Coffee Cake plated
Oh this German Crumb Coffee Cake.  Oh.  Yes.  This is an old family favorite, one my mom would make every single time my brother or I came home from college.  Big time family favorite.  So much so my mom dubbed it The Welcome Home Cake.

It appears I'm on a coffee cake roll of late.  Not sad about that, haha.  Coffee cake is, chef's kiss, always appropriate and I love the daylights out of it.

I can't remember where my mom got this recipe so I will ask her.  I know she's told me several times and I seem to be good at not remembering, bad me.....

Ah, it's an old Marshall family recipe, from my dad's side of the family.  My Great Aunt June, says my dad.  She lived in Champaign-Urbana and worked as a house mom for U of I fraternities.  Huh!  So I imagine she'd have known a good coffee cake recipe.

And she did!  This one!

German Crumb Coffee Cake slice on pan side
While it may seem this German Crumb Coffee Cake is complicated, it's completely not. 

There's no mixer involved, it's one large bowl* and the 9x13 pan* so it's practically a one-bowl-wonder.  Clean up is a cinch. 

Minimal tools, just a whisk* and spatula* to pull this together, aside from the standard measuring tools.*  Though my mom thinks she would run the first three ingredients through the food processor* which would lighten the semi-workout.

Now, she always made this in a glass 9x13 pan.*  I tried this in a glass pan and did not have the same success as she always had.  She rocked it every single time.

Generally speaking, if you're baking a large format cake in a glass pan, such as this recipe outlines, you might consider dropping the oven temperature 25° F (4° C) and extending out the bake time.  Glass is slow to heat up and then retains its heat after baking.  The edges and bottom can brown faster than the center.

This is not to say baking in glass is bad as it's not.  These tips will help you with your goodies in glass, help you adjust as necessary to get great results.

Ultimately, I tested my spiffy metal USA Pan* and, baking in metal, baking times will be shorter as the metal will conduct heat much faster.

I've clearly noted the baking times depending on the type of pan you use but as always, keep an eye on it and testing with a toothpick, sniffing the scents, and watching the color are key indicators too.

And just so you're aware, this leans to the cake side of coffee cakes rather than pastry, like snack cake end.  Too, it's not a heavy crumb-y crumb top, it's a subtle crumb. 

slice of German crumb coffee cake on plate
So real easy to pull this deeelicous German Crumb Coffee Cake together here.  Rather unusual assembly too but easy, no worries.

ingredients for German Crumb Coffee Cake
In a large bowl, mix up the flour and brown sugar, fluff it about, no biggie.  You will make a mess.

Toss in the butter and cut it into the flour/brown sugar mix much like you would for the Buttermilk Biscuits, either with a pastry cutter blender thingie* whatever it's proper name is, or your fingers.  Just get it crumbly then scoop out one cup, set that one cup in the freezer.

blending in butter with pastry cutter
Alternately, as I mentioned earlier, you could run this through your food processor.  Note, be judicious about it.

Next you'll toss in the baking soda, salt, and spices, mix that about.  The original didn't call for salt, FYI, as my Aunt June likely used salted butter.

adding spices and levener
Now, vvrrtttt, atypical technique ahead:  in the baking pan, dump the dry ingredients in, toss in the eggs and sour milk/buttermilk then mix everything together.  Yep, right in the pan. 

Or, you can whisk up the eggs and liquid in a bowl, or whisk the two in the pan then add the dry as I did.  Right, no greasing of the pan here. 

whisking wet and adding dry to pan
I say sour milk/buttermilk as the version from my mom says sour milk which is what she always used but I went with buttermilk.  Ya know, to see.

So dump the bowl of dry ingredients into the pan and mix everything around until you end up with a batter.  You'll see clumps of butter floating around and that's yes unusual but it is correct.

completed German Crumb Coffee Cake batter in pan
Spread that batter evenly throughout the pan then sprinkle that reserved crumb you held back earlier across the top.

sprinkling on crumb topping
Tada, ok, let's bake this up!

baked German Crumb Coffee Cake
And yum!  Holy yum.

sliced German Crumb Coffee Cake on plate
The German Crumb Coffee Cake from my youth.  Fluffy as you-know-what, delicate, spiced, and heavenly.  What a treat.  Mmmm.  Yes.

Great memories for sure but absolutely a great coffee cake!

*The mixing bowls, 9x13 pans, whisks, spatulas, measuring tools, food processors, glass 9x13 pans, USA Pan 9x13 metal pans and pastry cutters are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

Share your thoughts :

  1. AnonymousJuly 23, 2022

    OMG, you counted the calories?!?!?! This coffee cake is such a delicious treat, none of us should think about calories. Just eat it and enjoy it. Our family loves this cake and and we love you! Mom

    1. Oh the recipe card does that and Google requires it so I don't have a choice -- just ignore that part! But you're right, this is a delicious treat and I have a slice right in front of me at the moment, can't wait to eat it! Thank you!

  2. Delicious! Side note:1-cup butter = 227g

    1. Thank you! And ah, great catch, thank you! Fixed!


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