super-easy & delicious crumb cake | recipe

My mother has been making this crumb cake for as long as I can remember. It is ridiculously easy to make and so, so good. Wait until you see the ingredients…


Yes friends. It starts with a boxed cake mix. However, I can assure you up, down, left, right and sideways that you will NEVER know. No one will. Unless you tell them. Or Blog about it. And unless someone at my husband’s firehouse reads this Blog, I have a firehouse full of men that have no idea. I sent them two of these on Easter morning.

The ingredient list is actually quite small. For the cake you will need a yellow cake mix + the ingredients listed on your package. I can tell you that if you use Duncan Hines’ Classic Yellow cake mix (which my Mom’s recipe specifically says but I really don’t think it would matter if you went Betty…), you will need vegetable oil, water and 3 eggs.

To start, you mix up your cake batter. Grace was very excited to use my hand mixer for the first time.


Licking the beater was a sweet surprise after.


Then you need to grease some pans. My Mom and I use this jelly-roll style pan that she has that is a bit shallow. I am mentioning this because we can’t get a very thick crumb layer on top. You may want to play with the pan size and see what works best for you. One of the last times my Mom made this cake, my husband actually said “This is the perfect cake-to-crumb ratio”. So do with that what you will.

Now you pour your batter into your prepared pan. It helps to have an assistant nearby if trying to take this delicious ribbony batter shot (thanks Emily). Unless your name is Houdini or you have 3 arms. Then you might be able to pull it off.



Now you bake your cake. Yes I realize that this is just a simple yellow boxed cake at this point. Just you wait…

You cut the baking time in half (again, if using the brand I used, you are baking for 16 minutes the first time around). You will be left with a plain cake that needs some crumbs!


Every so often, my husband likes to tweak my recipes. And every so often, his ideas are tasty. He decided we should turn this into a raspberry crumb cake. Oh my word. It. Was. Delicious. Since this was such a large sheet pan, I made half plain and half raspberry. This batter also divides nicely into two 9×13 inch pans so when I made the recipe again for the firehouse, I made one plain and one raspberry.


We used preserves. So yummy.

Now you need to top the entire thing with some crumbs. A little blended margarine, flour, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon take care of that.


When it comes to blending the crumbs, it’s best to mix by hand. I lightly mix and then squeeze the ingredients together. Then I take my opened fingers on one hand and sort of shake them through the mixture. This separates everything into loose crumbs like so.


Now you take this scrumptious cinnamony mixture and sprinkle it all over your half-baked cake. I hired three sets of small hands for the job. I pay them in finished product. Oh and shelter.


Return to the oven, bake an additional 15 minutes and voila – crumb cake!


This is seriously so good and I should know. I polished off what was left of our batch last night.

My Mom’s original handwritten copy calls is Fabulous Crumb Cake so that’s what we’re going with too.

Fabulous Crumb Cake

1 box of Duncan Hines yellow cake (plus ingredients to prepare it)
2 sticks of melted margarine
2 cups of flour
2/3 cup of sugar
2-3 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of vanilla
pinch of salt
raspberry preserves, optional

1. Prepare cake mix according to box. Pour into greased 9×13-inch pans (our standard pan is 11×16 inches so it just depends on how thick you want your cake. I would use two 9x13s if that’s your preferred size and go thicker with the crumbs!)

2. Bake cake for half of the time indicated on package (if using the brand I used pictured above, it’s 16 minutes).

3. Meanwhile, blend crumb ingredients (everything listed but boxed cake & preserves). Top cake with preserves if desired and then crumbs.

4. Return to oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.

5. Cool and top with sifted powdered sugar before serving.

I would love to say I have an awesome after picture but well, we sort of ate the finished product faster than I could get my camera out.

Enjoy!

4 Comments

  • and poof… it was that easy. I’m gonna be a hit in this neighborhood once I start bringing this to the parties.. :) Thank you!

  • I followed the directions exactly but the top of the cake was still liquid when it came time to put the preserves and crumbs on. I put it in for another 5 but when I put the preserves and crumbs on, they sank! I managed to get them on top and put the cake back in the oven for 16 minutes. I took the cake out and the batter in e middle bubbled over the crumbs and is still not cooked! My oven works fine so I don’t know where I went wrong :(

  • I got this recipe years ago from a friend who taught Home Ec – yeah, that long ago. It’s wonderful. Easy to make and always a big hit!

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