There are few things better than crumb cake. The pillowy yellow cake topped with crisp, cinnamon crumbs is perfect for breakfast, snacking or an evening treat.
We used to eat this on occasion while growing up, though my mom used to make a large sheet pan of it instead of individual cakes. She trusted us to leave it alone as it cooled on top of the stove. She misplaced her trust each and every time. The crumb cake was rarely for us. It was usually for a church or boy scout event. If we were lucky we’d get a piece each before it left the house. This is why my brothers and i would carefully remove small, delicious crumbs from the top while it cooled, hoping that she wouldn’t notice. She always did.
This version is adapted from the recipe I grew up with. I find there to be more crumbs to cake this way. When applying the crumbs, be careful not to burn your fingers with molten lava cake batter. The cakes will look solid, but the insides are still uncooked and will leak if you press the crumbs in too firmly.
makes: 18-24 cakes
1 box of yellow cake mix (and its necessary ingredients)
3 bars of margarine (not butter)
¾ cup sugar
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons cinnamon
powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line your muffin pan with cupcake liners for easy removal, but if you just grease and flour them you should be able to remove the crumb cakes with a little effort and shimmying. Prepare the cake mix per the instructions on the box. Pour the batter into your muffin pan, filling each cup half way. Overfilling will cause there to be no room for the crumbs. Bake for 10 minutes. While the cakes are baking, make the crumb topping by mixing everything in a bowl using a pastry blender or two knives. Combine until the mixture clumps when squeezed gently in your hand. Using a squeeze and sprinkle method, distribute the crumbs over the cakes, covering them completely. I always wind up with a little of the topping that’s still powdery and did not combine. Sprinkle that over the cakes as well. If some of the cakes have risen a bit high, gently press the crumbs onto the cakes, making sure not to burn your fingers. Return the pans to the oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Cool completely and top with a sprinkling of powdered sugar if you’d like
full pan directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 11” x 17” pan or three 9” square metal pans. Follow the above instructions for preparation, but bake the cake for 20 minutes before adding the crumbs and an additional 20 minutes after the crumbs have been added. After cooling, cut it into squares.