These Mini New York-Style Crumb Cakes feature light, tender vanilla cake topped with a generous layer of cinnamon-brown sugar topping.
When Tessa suggested that we make a muffin version of our favorite New York-Style Crumb Cake, I felt pretty sure that striking the right balance between the crumb topping and the cake would prove challenging.
New York-Style Crumb Cake is, in my opinion, more about the crumb than the cake. What’s not to love about a thick layer of cinnamon-spiced brown sugar topping baked over the mere suggestion of a light and tender vanilla cake? The cake, while tasty, is really just a vehicle.
I asked Tessa what she thought about using mini tart pans instead of a muffin tin, explaining that the wide, shallow pans would provide more real estate for topping over a thin layer of batter. A girl after my own heart, she was totally on board with the idea of maximizing the topping to cake ratio.
On our first attempt, we baked eight 4-inch cakes. While they tasted great, we definitely had too much cake and not enough crumb!
The next time around, we baked 10 small cakes and increased the crumb recipe significantly, which delivered the perfect balance of sweet vanilla cake and cinnamon-infused brown sugar topping.
Despite the simplicity of this quick, easy recipe, the tart pans’ fluted edges give these petite little crumb cakes a fancy feel. I love, too, how the small pans enable the cakes to bake more quickly than a larger crumb cake.
Mini New York-Style Crumb Cake Serving Suggestions
Alongside fresh berries, these Mini New York-Style Crumb Cakes make a satisfying breakfast or an afternoon treat.
While they taste best oven-warm, they do reheat well if you prefer to make them ahead. Tessa likes to make a batch that she can reheat for breakfast every day as long as they last.
Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, these sweet treats make a fun dessert, too (or, if we’re honest, a ridiculously indulgent breakfast!).
Mini New York-Style Crumb Cakes
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- generous 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/4 cups unsalted butter melted and slightly cooled
- 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg
- 2/3 cups milk
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325º F. Lightly butter 10 4¼-inch tart pans and set them on a large baking sheet.
- For the topping, whisk together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in melted butter and mix until combined and crumbly. Break up any large clumps with your fingers as needed.
- To prepare the cake batter, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the egg, milk, oil, and vanilla, whisking until well blended.
- Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir until just combined. Do not over mix.
- Using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop add about 3 tablespoons of batter to each tart pan. Spread the batter to the pans' edges with the back of a small spoon. It will look quite thin.
- Using a 2 tablespoon ice cream scoop, transfer the crumb topping to the cakes, dividing it between the cakes. Spread the topping evenly to the pans' edges and gently press it into the batter.
- Bake until the cakes rise and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 28 minutes,
- Remove the crumb cakes from the oven and cool for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding them. Serve warm.
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