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New Jersey Bakes Crumb Cake: A Recipe

New Jersey has a sweet tooth, and we begin and end the day at the bakery.

We're eating our way through January here at Maplewood Patch. That's why this day on Patch is devoted to food. But, never fear — we're doing it in a healthy, responsible, and, above all, tasty way!

Cupcakes and their exotic French cousins macarons fill Garden State bakery cases, and it’s possible to have a cannoli freshly-piped and dusted with sugar as early as five in the morning. The very special occasion dessert that I knew growing up in Paterson was sheet cake filled with strawberries and cannoli cream. 

Nothing, however, beats a New Jersey favorite breakfast, a raft of doughy yellow cake topped with cinnamon streusel and powdered sugar. Store-bought crumb cake is a Friday-morning staple in every office I’ve ever known, but the real deal is made in a nearby bakery on massive aluminum trays.  It’s sliced into rectangles with a pizza cutter.  Warm hunks of cake are slid onto squares of bakery wax paper then boxed or bagged.

A close second can be made at home, and I’ve tweaked my recipe to resemble bakery-style Garden State crumb cake as much as possible. It makes a good breakfast from ingredients that you’re likely to have on hand. And nothing says New Jersey to me like that telltale dusting of confectioner’s sugar on the driver’s seat of a car. Well, in my car, at least.

Garden State Crumb Cake

Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a baking pan larger than 8X8, smaller than a cookie sheet, but it’s your preference how thick to make the cake.

Cake:

Sift: 
l-1/2 cup flour, 
1/2 cup white sugar, 
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder, and 
1/2 teaspoon salt. King Arthur flour is ideal; the salt is essential.

Mix together in separate bowl: 
2 eggs, 
l/2 cup milk. Add 
2 tablespoons of melted butter and 
2 teaspoons of vanilla.

Combine the contents of both bowls. Spread batter in the baking pan and let it settle while you make:

Crumbs:

Stir together with a fork or by hand: 1 cup soft butter, 
1 cup brown sugar, 
2-1/2 cups flour, and 
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. This will be lumpy and there will be a lot of it.

Spread crumbs on cake batter, pushing some into the batter with your hands.

 Bake cake for 25-30 minutes, keeping a close eye on it. Remove from oven and let the cake cool before sprinkling it generously with confectioners’ sugar. Eat.

Pamela Schroder February 26, 2012 at 01:15 AM
Delish! baked this for my boy who got hooked on crumb cake on a trip to NJ. from a former Maplewood girl. was looking for a crumb cake recipe and found this one from Maplewood Patch. OF COURSE I HAD TO MAKE IT! Pamela Donahue-Schroder
Mimi Ten Kate December 28, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Going to try this tonight...this former Jersey girl is still searching for a perfect Nj bakery crumb cake recipe...like the ones you get in Callandro's....thin cake heavy on crumbs and xxxx sugar...I am hopeful........

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