Old-Fashioned Crumb Coffeecake


Recipe courtesy of Baking Illustrated by The Editors of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

published by America’s Test Kitchen

This morning I woke up poised and ready to make white linen napkins for Easter.  I purchased the fabric last fall with the intention of making the napkins for Christmas, but got too busy (all my sewing friends have this problem).  I made this coffeecake and started thinking about all the other special occasions on the horizon; Mother’s Day, baby showers, graduations, etc. This simple, buttery cake would be perfect served for brunch, with or without the linen napkins. Enjoy!




1Tablespoon dry bread crumbs

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 cup, plus 2 Tablespoons, granulated sugar

1 teaspoon salt

10 Tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) butter, softened but still cool

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup buttermilk or low-fat (not nonfat) plain yogurt, at room temperature

1 large egg, at room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cups walnuts or pecans, chopped fine

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon



1. Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350°F.  Generously grease the bottom and lightly grease the sides of a 10 inch springform pan.  Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with bread crumbs, then shake lightly to coat.  Tap out excess crumbs.

2. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl until blended.  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Remove 1 cup of the flour mixture to a separate bowl and set aside (I found that much sugar topping to be excessive.  Next time I make this cake I will only use 1/2 cup of the flour mixture, 1/4 cup of the brown sugar and 1/2 cup nuts).


3. Whisk the baking powder and baking soda into the flour mixture remaining in the bowl.  Add the buttermilk, egg and vanilla; whisk vigorously (or use an electric mixer) until the batter is thick, smooth, fluffy, and frosting-like, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.  Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top.


4. Add the nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon to the reserved crumbs of flour, sugar and butter; toss with a fork or your hands until blended.  Sprinkle the crumbs over the batter, pressing lightly so that they adhere.  Bake the cake until the center is firm and a cake tester comes out clean, 50-55 minutes.  Transfer the cake to a wire rack; remove the sides of the pan.  Let the cake cool completely, about 2 hours, before serving.  When completely cooled, the cake can be slid off the pan bottom and onto a serving plate.


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