A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 05, 2005
New York Crumb Cake
The late and lamented Ebinger's Bakery of Brooklyn probably created the tradition of the "New York crumb cake." Entenmann's now makes "New York crumb cakes" by the thousands.

The recipe ultimately comes from Germany ("krummelkuchen"). There are also "New York crumb buns."

8 May 1975, Washington Post, pg. F4:
CRUMB CAKE
This recipe for a crumb cake is similar to a French crumb cake. It has been in use for the past 75 years at least.
KRUMMELKUCHEN
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

27 April 1978, Washington Post, pg. E1:
About 18 months ago, the Entenmann family of Bay Shore, Long Island, decided Washingtonians were ready for some of their 40,000 crumb cakes and 130,000 chocolate chip cookies, to mention just a very few of the 145 different sweets they bake each week.

25 October 1979, Washington Post, pg. E5:
I would like to know how to make a New York Crumb Cake with lots of crumb topping. I've tried many recipes for topping, using 4 tablespoons of flour and 3 of sugar and cinnamon and nuts, but I want a plain, heavy crumb topping. I've only seen these cakes in bakeries. Any information would be appreciated.
M.J.
Silver Spring

29 November 1979, Washington Post, pg. E23:
A reader asked about making crumbs for a New York crumb cake. I have a recipe that was used by a New York restaurant chain, now defunct, and the topping can be used for either sweet dought or layer cake batter. (...)
1 pound butter
1 pound granulated sugar
2 pounds cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Cinnamon to taste (and for color)

13 December 1979, Washington Post, pg. E22:
Krummelkuchen sounds better than crumb cake, but either way it can serve as an addition to the breakfast table or the tea table. For the reader who asked for a recipe that would make "a real New York crumb cake," S.G.C. submits her version:
KRUMMELKUCHEN
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

14 August 1982, New York Times, pg. 46:
Like so many other Ebinger coffeecakes, this one is topped with the incomparable crumbs, large, crisp and mildly sweet. Crumb buns and a pungent lemon crumb pie are also distinguished by those buttery nuggets.

21 December 1983, Washington Post, pg. E13:
The crumb topping (streusel) originated in Austria and is still used in Pennsylvania Dutch country. The American tradition of topping pies, pastries and cakes with crumbs probably originated with the crumb cake. The recipe for this old-fashioned dessert starts by blending flour, brown sugar and fat. One sets aside a portion of this initial blend to cover the batter prior to baking.

14 February 1995, Los Angeles Daily News, pg. N3:
I swung by Farmer John's display case to say good-bye to a couple of my oldest pals - bacon and sausage - before walking down the aisle to say good-bye to Entenmann's New York crumb cake and a box of chocolate doughnuts.

11 July 1995, Portland Oregonian, pg. FDOP3:
Q: I'm looking for a recipe for the New York crumb coffeecake that's like the one by the Entenmann's or the Brenners Bakery in Bellevue, Wash., that sells one that's like it. My husband grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., and loves this cake. Thank you. -- J.S., Brush Prairie, Wash.

A: Readers have any imitations? In the meantime, from Gloria Pitzer, recipe detective, we have, . . .

ALL-BUTTER COFFEECAKE Makes 6 servings

1 envelope active dry yeast
1/3 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
1/4 cup warm water
1/4 pound butter, melted and very cool (1 stick)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/4 cup buttermilk or sour cream
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour

- Struesel Mixture (recipe follows)
- Karo Icing (recipe follows)

27 February 1997, Orange County (CA) , pg. 2:
This recipe is for L.S. of Orange, who was looking for a New York Crumb Bun recipe. C.W. of Mission Viejo sent in this recipe and writes, "This is from a pastry chef in Philadelphia. It is long and sort of complex, but the results are great. I have been making them with great success for over 20 years!" Thanks for sharing it with your neighbors, C.W.!

23 September 1998, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, pg. 2:
New York crumb coffeecake: "I have been looking for a recipe for a coffeecake called New York crumb coffeecake. I had it while living in New York and my family loves it. It has a coarse, not fine texture, and a streusel-like topping consisting of nuggets of butter, cinnamon and brown or white sugar. It is not made in a tube pan."

20 January 1999, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, "Coffeecake brings back a taste of New York," pg. 2:
Theresa Boes, Kewaunee, and Kathy Glover, West Allis, sent recipes for a coffeecake requested by P.M., Green Bay, who wanted a recipe for "a coffeecake called New York Crumb Coffeecake" that she had while living in New York.

Boes wrote: "This may not be the one P.M. is looking for, but I was raised in Buffalo, N.Y., and it's a Polish recipe. Hope you like it."

Glover said her recipe "comes from a Milwaukee Public Schools Cookbook my mother had in grade school from the 1930s. It's delicious."

2 September 2001, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, pg. 4N:
Martha's
New York Crumb Cake

2 tablespoons canola oil, plus oil for pan (divided)
4 cups flour, plus flour for dusting pan (divided)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Powdered sugar for dusting

3 September 2003, Syracuse (NY) Post Standard/Herald Journal, pg. E2:
Cynthia Mahoney of East Syracuse responded: "I, too, would the recipe for the Steigerwald's Bakery crumb cake. I've tried many recipes trying to find one like it. This New York Crumb Cake from http://www.marthastewart.com is the closest I've come to duplicating the original. I hope Dolores enjoys it as much as I do."


Posted by Barry Popik
Food/Drink • (0) Comments • Tuesday, April 05, 2005 • Permalink