Use pantry ingredients for this New York crumb cake recipe

The versatility of this recipe is ideal for these times.
New York-style pantry crumb cake
New York-style pantry crumb cake [ LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI | Special to the Times ]
Published April 14, 2020

Here is a pantry cake inspired by my favorite New York-style crumb cake. This a great no-fail recipe if you are new to baking.

This classic crumb cake has a thick crumb topping and a very vanilla cake underneath. You can make it by hand or with a hand mixer. It is delicious with any substitutes or additions you have on hand.

You can add any type of fresh fruit you like: apples, blueberries, strawberries or even peaches. Just make sure you drain them well before adding to the batter. How about raisins, toasted coconut or any kind of coarsely chopped nuts? You can also make this a chocolate chip crumb cake by adding chocolate chips to the batter.

You can also substitute the pan size: 8-inch springform, 9-inch round high-sided cake pan, jumbo muffin cups. The baking time will vary with different pan sizes. Check the cake after baking 20 minutes, whatever you use. The cake is done when the crumbs are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

The versatility of this recipe is ideal for these times. Right now, some grocery stores are running low on flour, butter and sugar. What can you use instead? Here are some ideas.

For the unsalted butter in the cake batter: salted butter (eliminate the salt in the recipe), vegan butter, canola oil, solid shortening, coconut oil

For the unsalted butter in the topping: salted butter (eliminate the salt in the recipe), solid shortening, thick Greek yogurt, cream cheese

For the milk: buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, cream, half-and-half, oat milk, nut milk

For the egg: applesauce, flax meal

For the flour: white whole wheat flour, pastry flour, almond flour, gluten-free flour, cake flour, oat flour (make this by grinding oats in the food processor until fine) or a combination of any types of flour you have on hand (just not bread flour or semolina flour)

For the confectioners’ sugar: 1 cup granulated sugar (grind in a food processor until powdery)

For the light brown sugar: 1 cup granulated sugar plus 1 tablespoon molasses (stir until completely mixed)

Using variations and substitute ingredients will produce different results. But all of them are likely to be delicious.

Pantry New York Crumb Cake

For the crumb topping:

½ cup unsalted butter, melted

½ cup light brown sugar

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon salt

1 ⅓ cups all-purpose flour

For the cake batter:

2 cups all-purpose flour

Dig in to Tampa Bay’s food and drink scenes

Dig in to Tampa Bay’s food and drink scenes

Subscribe to our free Taste newsletter

Get the restaurant and bar news, insights and reviews you crave from food and dining critic Helen Freund every Thursday.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 large egg

¾ cup milk, whole or low-fat

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ cup melted unsalted butter

Confectioners’ sugar, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch by 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper, pressing down into the pan but letting the ends extend over the top of the pan. These will be your handles to remove the cake easily. Coat lightly with cooking spray, then set the pan in the middle of a half sheet pan. Arrange an oven rack in the middle.

Make the crumb topping: In a medium mixing bowl, add all the topping ingredients. Stir with a fork or your fingers until well blended and crumbly. Set aside while making the cake batter.

Make the cake batter: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, vanilla and melted butter. Pour the egg-butter mixture into the flour-sugar mixture and gently stir with a rubber spatula just until thick and smooth. Now is the time to stir in any add-ins you like; stir just until evenly blended.

Scrape the batter into the baking pan and spread evenly and to the edges of the pan. Pinch the crumb topping into clumps and sprinkle evenly over the cake batter.

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a tester comes out clean and the crumbs are golden brown. Let the cake cool in the pan 30 minutes to firm up. Remove from the pan by holding the parchment handles and pulling straight up and out to a serving plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut into squares and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

Makes 9 to 12 squares.

Source: Lorraine Fina Stevenski