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Granny's Crumb Cake

Our family recipe for classic, buttery crumb cake. Dense but in the same time soft and light.

Topped up with fruit and crunchy crumb. Gran used to serve this cake as a tray bake (covered in the recipe too) and usually with plums, rhubarb or cherries. Then - the crumb, it’s all about the crumb - apply liberally. Fruit and thick layer of crumb are what really make this cake unforgettable.

This is one of these classic coffee cakes which disappears in a jiffy and gives limitless options in terms of jazzing it up. Use different baking tins to influence thickness of the cake, add different fruit, add swirls of your favourite jam, jazz up crumb by adding cinnamon or/and nuts. We are recommending few options in our usual 'Jazz it up' section under the recipe.

Added bonus - when the cake is baking the buttery aroma filling the house is simply divine!

Check out our other recipes for quick coffee cakes:

- 10 Favourite Quick Coffee Cakes

- Italian Pear and Mascarpone Cake

- Lemon Loaf with Blackcurrant Swirl

Granny's Crumb Cake Recipe

Yield: 16 servings (round) or 24 servings (tray bake)

Time: 25 minutes prep + 50-60 minutes baking

Tin: 23 round form with removable base (or spring form, 60min baking) or 33cmx23cm rectangle (for thiner layer of cake, more fruit and crumb, 50min baking)


- 227g unsalted butter, softened

- 1 cup* (200g) caster sugar

- 1 Tablespoon clear lemon juice

- 5 large eggs, room temperature

- 1 and 5/6 cups (275g) all-purpose flour

- 3 Tablespoons (30g) potato or corn starch

- 1 teaspoon baking powder

- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

- 3 Tablespoons (45) sour cream

- 350g cherries (or 500g plums) - double if you are doing tray bake

- 200g chocolate chips (optional) + 1 Tablespoon potato or corn starch (optional)

Crumb (double the portion for tray bake):

- 60g unsalted butter, melted

- 5 Tablespoons (75g) sugar

- 1/2 cup (75g) all-purpose flour


- 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar

- 1 Tablespoon clear lemon juice

- 2-3 Tablespoons warm water

*cup = 250ml cup


1. Preheat oven to 180C. Line baking tin with parchment paper and lightly grease sides or spray with non-stick baking spray.

2. Prepare fruit: Wash and pit cherries (cut in halves and remove pit, or use paper clipper if using full fruit). If you use plums - wash, cut in half and pit. Set aside.

3. Prepare dry ingredients: Sift flour with potato starch, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

4. Prepare creamy cake base: Using hand held mixer or stand mixer with paddle attachment beat softened butter for 2 minutes until creamy. Working first on medium speed start adding sugar (2 Tablespoons at a time), mixing well in-between additions. After half a cup you can increase speed to medium-high. Mix until butter and sugar mixture becomes creamy and pale - approximately 6-8 minutes. Make sure to scrape sides of the bowl every so often to incorporate all the sugar evenly. If you are working with stand mixer make sure there is no un-mixed residue at the bottom of the bowl. Once the butter is pale and creamy, start adding eggs - one at a time - mixing well on low-medium speed until each egg is fully incorporated.

5. Prepare the crumb: Mix sugar with flour then add melted butter (cooled) and mix by hand until coarse and crumbly texture is formed. Set aside. If you are using chocolate chips - toss chocolate chips in 1 Tablespoons potato (or corn) starch.

6. Combine: Using spatula gently fold in dry ingredients (from step 3) with creamy cake base (from Step 4) - do it in 2 turns. Don’t over mix but make sure there are no flour pockets remaining or flour residues at the bottom of the bowl. At the end add 3 Tablespoons of sour cream - mix until combined. The cake batter will be fairly thick. Fold in chocolate chips (if using). Pour batter into the tin. Place cherries (or plums) cut side up. Sprinkle the top with the crumb.

7. Bake at 180C for 60 minutes (23cm round), or 45-50 minutes if using 26cm round or 33cmx23cm rectangle form. If you see the cake is browning too much you can decrease temperature to 170C for the last 30 minutes of baking. Make sure to check with chopstick or skewer if the cake is fully baked through. Once baked, let the cake cool in the form for 25-30 minutes before serving. Can be enjoyed warm or cold.

8. For the icing: whisk confectioners' sugar with lemon juice, add 2 Tablespoons of warm water (if the glaze is too thick add 1 more Tablespoon).


1. Creaming butter - this is the core part of successful bake in this recipe. Use softened butter (1 hour at room temperature) and allow 2 minutes to mix before adding sugar. If you notice the butter doesn’t become creamy don’t proceed and wait for the butter to soften more before adding sugar. We are not fans of microwaving butter to soften but if you want to speed things up you can chop butter thinly and spread across mixing bowl (it usually speeds things up by some 20-30 minutes).

2. Use eggs at room temperature to aerate the creamy cake base. If you don’t have time - place eggs in a bowl full of warm water.

3. Don’t over mix the batter after adding dry ingredients.

4. Baking tins - use different sizes of tins depending on the thickness of cake you want to achieve - tray bake will have 3cm-4cm thick cake layer with lots of topping and nuts; use round forms if the cake layer is to be thicker. Whatever tin you are going to use, always check with the skewer if the cake is baked through. Don’t check (vent the oven) too often - start checking 5 minutes before indicated time.

Jazz it up:

1. Fruit - our favourite choice for this cake are cherries, plums or rhubarb (rhubarb+strawberries is a great mix too). You can use other seasonal fruit too. Softer and wet fruit are more suitable for shorter, tray bake.

2. Spice up the crumb - add 1 teaspoon cinnamon for cinnamon crumb. You may opt to replace white sugar with light brown sugar for stronger caramel notes.

3. Zest - add orange or lemon zest (beat together with butter and sugar) from 1 orange or 2 lemons.

4. Nuts - add chopped pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts to the crumb (1/2 cup or 2/3 cup for tray bake).

5. Jam - make few swirls with your favourite seedless jam before placing fruit on top.

6. Chocolate chips - use various flavours of chocolate chips and various levels of cocoa intensity.

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