German Crumb Coffee Cake

12 slices
55 min

An old family favorite, this German Crumb Coffee Cake is a delicately crumbed cake filled with warm spices and light crumb topping, delicious anytime!

This is an old family recipe, passed down a few generations and I loved eating it growing up. It was known as the "Welcome Home" coffee cake as my mom would bake it any time my brother and I would come home from college.

It's got a bit of a different technique, starting similar to making biscuits actually: cut in the butter. This can be done by hand with a pastry cutter, your fingers, or a food processor.

For my favorite, super easy all-purpose Baking Powder Biscuits and also my favorite pastry cutter, check out this post!

Continuing with the different techniques: whisk up the wet ingredients in the baking pan itself. I know, crazy, right? No greasing the pan.

Then just dump the ingredients from the bowl right in and mix it into a batter! So easy!

After spreading the batter out evenly, sprinkle on the reserved crumbs.

Now, this isn't a heavy crumb topping; it's light and I'd say borderline minimal but regardless of size or quantity, this is so delicious.

And voila! Baked! It's got some lovely spices in there that scent the whole house.

I really love this German Crumb Coffee Cake and I hope you will too!

Be sure to swing by The Bake Dept for more on this and lots of other great recipes!

My mouth is watering as I enter these pictures into this post...

For more details and information about this recipe, click the link below, just above the comment section!

Recipe details
  • 12  slices
  • Prep time: 15 Minutes Cook time: 40 Minutes Total time: 55 min
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  • 2 cups (426 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (113 g) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons (5 g) ground nutmeg
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (327 ml) sour milk (see notes below) or buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350° F (176° C) and set out a 9x13 baking pan.
In a large bowl, mix the brown sugar with the flour.
Cut the butter into the brown sugar/flour mixture with a pastry cutter or squeezing the butter between your thumbs and forefingers, creating large flat sheets of butter mixed with flour and brown sugar. This can also be done in a food processor; process judiciously. Reserve 1 cup (approximately 150 g) and place in the freezer.
Stir the baking soda, salt, and spices into the bowl.
In the 9x13 baking pan, whisk together the eggs with the sour milk (or buttermilk).
Pour the dry ingredients into the baking pan and stir everything together with a spatula or wood spoon until thoroughly blended. Spread the batter out evenly and then sprinkle the reserved crumb mix atop evenly as well.
For a glass pan, bake for 35- 40 minutes, until the top is golden and a toothpick tester in the center comes out clean save a few moist crumbs. For a metal pan, bake for about 30 minutes, looking for the same doneness clues.
  • To make sour milk, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of vinegar or lemon juice to a measuring cup and fill with milk to the 1 cup (237 ml) mark. Stir and let stand for 5-10 minutes.
  • For more tips and details about this recipe, swing by The Bake Dept!
Becky at The Bake Dept
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  • Mark Mark on Sep 29, 2022

    Why is it called coffee cake when there isn't any in the recipe

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    • KimofCoventry KimofCoventry on Sep 30, 2022

      We call them coffee cake as they are good to enjoy with a nice cuppa Joe ☕🍵😊

      I lived in Germany and frequented the bakery I walked to in Ochsenfurt., mere steps from my door.

  • Susan Susan on Sep 29, 2022

    Real crumb cake is made with yeast dough; this is just a cinnamon topped yellow cake. My German grandmother and mother made the real crumb cake as do I.

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    • Kag29835347 Kag29835347 on Oct 01, 2023

      Thank you.