German Crumb Cake

6 Sep

Who doesn’t love a cake with more cake on top, really?  This cake isn’t your mother’s crumb cake, unless your mother is from Germany.  Firstly, this crumb cake is probably not like many crumb cakes you have ever enjoyed because it is not a cake at all.  What?!  Were we not taking about crumb cake?  Yes, but an authentic German crumb cake starts with a lightly sweetened, yeast dough, similar to bread, topped with a very sweet crumble and LOTS of powdered sugar.  While watching Cake Boss, I was turned on to the idea of a not so cakey crumb cake.  Carlo’s bakery in New Jersey explained that their famous crumb cake is an authentic German recipe that came with the original bakery.  I had to find a recipe like theirs.  Obviously this is not their exact recipe, but it has become one that I obsess to perfect. 

The original authentic recipe is at

I deviated a little from the exact recipe in the topping.  Instead of the straight butter, sugar and flour topping, I used another nugget of information from Cake Boss and used actual cake scraps.  Here is how I did it.


  • 3 ½ cups + 1 tbs. all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup + 1 tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 packet active dry yeast
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk, divided
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ tsp. almond extract

 Start by combining yeast with ½ cup lukewarm milk, 1 tbs. sugar, and 1 tbs. flour.  *Make sure your milk is not too hot or you will kill the yeast* Allow to perfume 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine remaining flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon.  Melt the butter and let cool a bit.  Next, combine remaining ½ cup milk, extracts and egg.  Mix together so your egg is scrambled in completely.  Add your melted and cooled butter to this mixture. 

When your yeast is ready dump everything into a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on low until everything comes together.  Dump dough onto a lightly floured surface and cover with a kitchen towel.  Allow to rise another 30 minutes to an hour. 

Remove your kitchen towel and knead your cake, doesn’t that sound weird?, 5-8 times, cover again, and let rise another 15 minutes. 


  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 cups cake scraps (or one 8 inch round cake, flavor is up to you)

Hopefully you are on top of everything and have washed your mixing bowl.  Now, combine flour, sugars and cake scraps into your mixing bowl.  Turn the speed to low and slowly add everything else.  The mixture will look sticky and wet, that’s okay.  Throw your oven to 375 degrees and grab your favorite 9X13 inch baking dish.  If you are using dark metal or glass change your oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease your pan with nonstick spray.  Spread the dough into the bottom of your pan as evenly as possible and top with handfuls of the crumb mixture.  Bake for 25 minutes, cool on wire rack, and dust with LOTS of powdered sugar.  But don’t forget the most important part, eat and enjoy it!

Made with chocolate cake scraps.


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