For those who prefer to get right to the recipe, just click on the recipe print button and avoid the drama below! What do you think, recipe on the beginning or the end of the post?
- 1 box Yellow or Vanilla cake mix
- (plus ingredients for cake mix; eggs, butter/oil and water/milk)
- CRUMB TOPPING
- 2 sticks cold, salted butter, cut into cubes
- 2 ¼ cups all purpose flour (I use organic)
- 1 ½ Tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 ¾ cups brown sugar, packed
- 1 ½ Tablespoons vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Powdered sugar (optional, for dusting)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray two 8x8 pans with non-stick spray or one 9x13 pan.
- Prepare cake mix in a large mixing bowl (preferably with measurements) according to box instructions.
- If you are using butter in place of oil, make sure you have cooled the butter slightly to avoid "cooking" your eggs.
- Mix 2 minutes on medium-high, scraping down sides of bowl once.
- Pour batter into prepared pan(s).
- Bake at 350 degrees for 12-18 minutes, until center is wiggly, barely set, not soupy.
- While cakes are baking, prepare your crumb topping.
- In a large bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine butter, flour, brown sugar, vanilla and salt and mix until butter incorporated and mixture is uniform without large chunks of butter.
- Once cakes are finished with initial baking, remove and immediately crumble the topping over the hot cake(s), spreading evenly.
- Return to the oven and continue baking an additional 10-15 minutes. If you will be freezing or serving later, pull out on the earlier side (about 10 minutes) and reheat at 300 for 10-15 minutes when ready to serve.
- Cut into squares and dust with powdered sugar.
But if you want to see pretty, enticing pictures, read on!
Occasionally I will surprise my family with a sweet treat on a school morning. However, my high schooler is up and at ’em by 5:30 a.m. and while I am the ever devoted mother, let’s face facts friends (ooh, an alliteration), I am not getting up before dawn to make a coffee cake!!!
Which is why I love this recipe, it’s inspired by Picky Palate’s Copycat Starbuck’s Coffee Cake recipe, with my usual tweaks and tips.
Tip #1 | Make it the afternoon or evening beforehand.
Tip #2 | Split the recipe into two 8×8 pans, unless you have a larger family or planning for a brunch; our family of four cannot consume a 9×13 coffee cake, at least we shouldn’t!
Tip #3 | Slightly (very slightly) under-bake it, then if you can get it in the oven for 10-15 minutes before your kids wake up to warm it, it will “finish” the baking and not dry it out.
Tip #4 | Freeze the second one after cooling, wrap tightly in foil. Now you can be a hero another early morning, or a lazy Saturday or give to a friend who needs a little pick-me-up.
Here are my ingredients, you may certainly use any regular yellow or vanilla cake mix, I like this natural one from Trader Joe’s, plus I swap out the oil for melted butter! Did you know you can do that with any boxed cake and brownie recipe, cup-for-cup, just melt your butter and let it cool, so you don’t accidentally “cook” your eggs when mixing in the butter.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Crack your eggs into a 2 qt mixing bowl (or stand mixer) and add your milk (or water) and give them a whirl to mix. Did you know you can also swap out your water for milk in your cake mixes? It will make it moister and less crumbly. Slowly add in your cooled butter while mixing.
Add your cake mix and blend for the recommended amount of time on the box, generally about 2 minutes at medium-high speed. Look at those beautiful little flecks of vanilla bean!
Pour half of the batter into each of your greased 8×8* pans. To make it easier I thought I’d be sassy and break out my hand-held mixer (I really was just being lazy, avoiding hauling out “Big Bertha”), so I could use my large measuring mixing bowl; that way I could see the volume and easily split the batter in half. See I had a reason…but I digress…
It totalled about 4 cups of batter, pour 2 cups into each pan. Eyeballing works just fine too. *Note: You may also make this using a 9×13 pan, coating the pan with non-stick spray. Prepare as directed.
I used a nicer pan for serving and a disposable pan to freeze the second one, in case I decide to give it away.
Bake at 350 for 12-18 minutes or until the center is wiggly, semi-set, but not soupy, you don’t want the cake completely baked as you’ll put it back in the oven. A few minutes longer if you opted for the 9×13 pan.
While your cakes are baking make this scrumptious, brown sugar, buttery, crumbly topping.
Cut your cold butter into cubes (I slice the cube lengthwise down the middle then chop the cube into tablespoon sized chunks).
Add your flour, packed brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla into a large bowl.
I wouldn’t recommend using a handheld for this part (like I did), my mixer sassiness got me into trouble as it was not able to get the ingredients to the desired consistency. Plus I was making a HUGE mess, spewing flour, sugar and buttery crumbs all over me and my counter, believe me this topping is so good you want it on the cake, not the counter! Break out your “Big Bertha” and use it, you’ll be happy you did, plus it must count as exercise right? Lift it up and down elbows tight against your sides, 10 reps should do it. I tried.
Don’t forget a nice little pinch of salt.
Mix it up well, the below picture is after my first super messy attempt with my hand-held mixer, the mixture is a dry crumbly mess with big lumps of butter. Not what I was going for. Keep reading, I save the day…
…so much better after my Kitchen-Aid did all the work for me while I cleaned up my crumby counters. Not that my counters are crumby in the yucky sense, but had crumbs, oh you know what I’m talking about.
You want it to stick together when you grab a handful, like this! Much better and less mess too!
As soon as your cakes are done, remove them from the oven, grabbing handfuls of the crumb topping, gently break apart and spread directly onto the hot cakes evenly. The crumbs will “sink” into the cake slightly.
Return to the oven immediatly and bake an additional 10-15 minutes, under-baking them slightly (around 10-12 minutes) if you want to reheat them in the oven when ready to serve.
Let cool fully on a cooling rack, then cover with foil for easy reheating the next day and freeze the second one for later.
Dust with powdered sugar just prior to serving. Yummy!
If you make the recipe, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!