Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake

I have the defense for my master’s degree coming up in just over a week (eek!). It’s scheduled kind of early in the morning and it’s on a Monday so I figured I better plan on bringing some sort of tasty snack for anyone that’s motivated enough to come. I decided right away to do a coffee cake and a batch of muffins, hopefully with two choices everyone will be able to find something they like.

I’m still debating over what kind of muffins to make, but as soon as I took the first bite of this coffee cake I knew it was the one. The thick crumb topping partially bakes into the moist, vanilla cake so there is a bit of crumb on top and some gooey, cinnamony deliciousness underneath. I may or may not be able to wow everyone with my brilliance, but I can at least make sure to serve them some tasty food!

Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake


  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tbl. + 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbl. vanilla bean paste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9 x 13 pan.
  2. Combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, graham cracker crumbs and melted butter to create the topping, then set aside.
  3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together then set aside. Use a mixer to cream the butter for several minutes until smooth. Add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Mix in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the yogurt and vanilla bean paste. Add the dry ingredients in three parts, scraping the bowl between each addition. Mix until just combined.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Use your fingers to crumble the cinnamon topping evenly over the surface of the cake. The topping will look very thick, but some of it will bake into the cake.
  5. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for about 20 minutes before serving. Cake will last for 3 days if stored in an air-tight container.
Adapted from Sweet Treats and More & Fake Ginger

7 responses

  1. The funny traditions of academia. You are the one being grilled (oral prelim exams, thesis committee meetings, defenses) and you have to provide food for those who are doing the grilling. However, I found that baking (and a beer) was one way to settle my nerves the night before the exam. Of course my dog was there to help and comfort me (my current dog waits until the stuff comes out of the oven, she is a lousy sous chef!). Good luck.

    • It’s delicious! The paste is basically just the scrapped out insides of a vanilla bean. If you have a specialty cooking store near you, you should be able to get some there. I don’t have anything like that near me, so I just order it online. There are a bunch of places you can get it from, but I usually order through King Arthur Flour-
      If you can’t get the vanilla bean paste you can use a vanilla bean and scrape out the insides or just use vanilla extract!

  2. Hi Annie,
    I hope your defense went well and you do not have too many corrections to make to your thesis.

    I made this crumb cake with a few “tweaks”. I didn’t have graham crackers and didn’t want to venture to the store, so I subbed in oatmeal and that seemed to work fine for the topping. I also had some apples to use up (in addition to greek yougurt) and added them to the batter. Quite delicious.

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