Crumb Cake

I thought I would share this recipe for crumb cake being it is so popular at family gatherings and office parties. It makes a huge pan of cake and is really easy to do, mixing boxed cake mix with other ingredients. You never have to tell anyone you used Duncan Hines. Opps! I just did.

First time I tasted this crumb cake I was working in the classified department of  The Star Ledger in Newark. It was a staffers birthday and one of the managers made this cake for everyone. When I tasted it I had to have the recipe. There are those who eat something and enjoy it, and then there are those who enjoy what they eat and have to know how it was made so they can repeat the process. I’m the latter. It took a little negotiation, but I managed to pry the recipe from her. I’m glad I did, because whenever I make this cake it’s always a hit. I call it Drake’s coffee cake on steroids.

My brother-in-law Arthur is a connoisseur when it comes to crumb cake, and more specifically, apple crumb cake. When ever we have a family get together Arthur would bring crumb cake. He’s become famous for that, among other things. One year I told him I was making crumb cake so he would not buy it. I brought this crumb cake over to his house and Arthur gave it 4 stars on the Merlino’s rating for crumb cakes.

One year Arthur brought crumb cake to a Thanksgiving dinner at my brother Richard’s house in Long Island. When we finished dinner and put out the desert table, which looked more like the bakery display case at Junior’s Restaurant in Brooklyn, Arthur cut into his crumb cake and discovered it was stale. He couldn’t believe it. My cousins and I were histerical that Arthur, the crumb cake king, would have been duped into buying stale crumb cake. With the dozens of other cakes and pies we had to choose from, no one else would have given it another thought. But Arthur  wrapped up his stale crumb cake in the original box that it came in and quietly placed it in a plastic bag.  We later found out that the next day Arthur went back to the bakery that sold him the stale cake and returned it for his money back. Arthur is a man of principal, and no one should be allowed to sell stale crumb cake and get away with it.

This is about as fresh a crumb cake as you’re going to get. I just made this cake for my co-worker’s birthday, Noemi and Val, and put it out in our lunch room at about 8:30 that morning. By the time I got in off the road from selling  at around 3pm all that was left was an empty pan. Our production artist Frank brought me the pan at my desk that he just cleaned and he didn’t even get a piece. Next time I’ll have to make two. Sorry Frank, you waited too long.

Crumb Cake

  • one box of Duncan Hines Butter Cake mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 sticks margarine. room temperature
  • 1 stick of salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • confectionery sugar


Place the cake mix, eggs, milk and vegetable oil in a mixing bowl and beat for 4 minutes.

Grease and flour a large sheet cake or jelly roll pan.

Pour the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake for 20 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.

While the cake is baking, in a large mixing bowl add flour, brown sugar, white sugar and cinnamon and mix well. 

 In another bowl beat together the margarine, butter and vanilla extract.

Add to the flour mixture. Mix it all together with your hands or a wooden spoon to make the crumb. Don’t over mix it but make sure the butters are incorporated into the flour mixture.

When the cake is done take it out of the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle the crumb mixture onto the top of the warm cake, making sure you cover the entire surface. Pile it on.

Spread the crumb mixture evenly all around the cake to cover.

Bake the cake another 15 minutes at 350.

Once the cake is cool sprinkle confectionary sugar on top.


About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. Now that Peter is retired, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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5 Responses to Crumb Cake

  1. barry says:

    another great article and great recipe. i’m not going to make this one ,i’d rather wait for you to cook it! well done Pete!

  2. Marilyn says:

    This sounds great! Can’t wait to try it!!

  3. Pingback: Recipes for Super Bowl Party – MY TOP 10 RECIPES FOR YOUR SUPER BOWL PARTY | cookingitaliancomfortfood

  4. erspangler1 says:

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I have fond memories of my family heading over to Spindlers Bakery in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ after Sunday Service and ordering the old fashioned crumb cake. Will definitely make this weekend. Once again thank you for the walk down memory lane.

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