Grandma’s Crumb Cake Recipe

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For some reason lately, I haven’t been able to get the idea and taste of this cake out of my head. It’s like my “Gramma” Harter (as I used to call her) has been telling me to make it for my kids and for all of you to remember. It was a regular cake in my mother’s repertoire, although it was always known as Grandma’s Crumb Cake. More of a traditional “coffee cake” than a dessert cake, it was one of the few desserts that we would have. I have the Xerox copy of my mother’s original handwritten recipe in one of those old plastic sleeves.

It only takes about 10 minutes to put it together, and about an hour to cook. It has the feel of one of those dishes you could make quickly to take to a neighbor or friend who needed cheering up of some sort. And the taste…well, it’s the taste of my childhood. Although, next time I might try making it with whole wheat pastry flour….

Grandma’s Crumb Cake Recipe


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • ¾ cup shortening (I used ½ cup butter and ¼ cup coconut oil this time, but I’m almost certain Gramma used lard)
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  2. Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, and shortening together until well blended.
  3. Set aside ¾ cup of this mixture for “crumb” topping.
  4. Add the eggs and milk and beat until smooth.
  5. Pour batter into a well-greased pan. My mother always used a round pan, but I don’t think it really matters.
  6. Sprinkle the crumbs on top.
  7. Sprinkle some cinnamon and salt on top.
  8. “Bake until done,” as the recipe card says…. Turns out, it’s about an hour.


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9 Responses to Grandma’s Crumb Cake Recipe

  1. Barbara October 28, 2011 at 6:34 am #

    Can’t wait to try this. Looks perfect for a weekend breakfast or afternoon tea.


  2. SJ October 28, 2011 at 8:31 am #

    Thankyou for sharing. It brings back memories. I may try that this weekend. Our Fall weather is finally arriving in S. Calif and the days are cooling. Nothing like baking to warm the home!

  3. A Gran October 28, 2011 at 10:37 am #

    You did it again. After 2 loaves of sandwich bread, 2 baguettes, and a batch of chocolate chip cookies, I thought my baking was done for the week. Luckily though, I love to bake. I dug out the two “Gramma” coffee cake recipes I have- one very similar to yours but quantities of ingredients are larger (m-i-l’s grandmother); the other with separately made crumbs (my grammy). Now off to the kitchen. I do have some of your whole wheat pastry flour. I think I”ll try subbing it for half of the unbleached flour.

  4. DLTudor October 28, 2011 at 10:42 am #

    Sounds Devine!!! I’ll definitely try it. Do you use all purpose or plain flour? Thank you for sharing!

  5. James Early October 28, 2011 at 11:13 am #

    Those grandmas sure knew what to do in the kitchen.

  6. maria (farm country kitchen) October 28, 2011 at 11:50 am #

    I’m not sure what the difference is between all purpose or plain flour. I use the organic white flour from the Rodale Institute, but when I can’t get that I use King Arthur’s Organic White flour…but like I said, I’m going to try it whole wheat next time!

  7. Kathleen October 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm #

    My favorite flour to use is White Lily self rising. It is soft week and makes the best cakes ever!!!!

  8. erin October 29, 2011 at 10:09 am #

    I wonder if Spectrum Organics non-hydrogenated pressed-palm vegetable shortening would work in place of the regular shortening? It seems to work well in biscuits. I can’t tell the difference in my southern granny’s recipe when I sub it in.

  9. Deetledee October 29, 2011 at 1:33 pm #

    I have been using the spectrum organics shortening for the past year with success in all my recipes that call for shortening. So glad I found it!

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