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I woke up early yesterday and was checking my Facebook for any drama or Buzzfeed lists I might have missed when I was sleeping and was taken by a photo of a tasty looking crumbly coffee cake. 

I’ve been feeling a little bit nostalgic lately. Mostly because of the upcoming holiday season. I really do miss Canada at Christmas and in the winter. I miss trees and mountain tops covered in snow, I miss hot chocolate after coming in from the cold, I miss driving in the snow, I miss a nice fire, I miss huge icicles hanging down from the eavestroughs, I miss the cold that makes your nosehairs freeze, I miss the singing Christmas trees, I miss big Christmas dinners, I miss walking down the street and hearing the snow crunch beneath your boots. 

My thoughts then turned to my great grandmother (and later, my grandmother) who used to make kuchen which looked exactly like this cake (but upon a subsequent Google lookup I realized the recipes were COMPLETELY DIFFERENT) so I decided to get up and be productive instead of laying in bed scrolling mindlessly down my newsfeed.

I am going to do something a bit different for this recipe. 

As you might have read in my Buttermilk Biscuits Level: Expat I have real issues with the constant conversions I have to do to bake anything here not indigenous to the local culinary traditions. So, to that end, I’m going to add this recipe in the original format, and my converted one for those of you who might be living abroad as well. 

Buttery Coffee Crumb Cake {the Original}


    The CAKE
  • 2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into pieces (about 1 tablespoon each)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 sticks cold, unsalted butter
  • 2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1 and 3/4 cups brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch baking dish by spraying it with non-stick spray.
  3. Make the cake:
  4. In the bowl for your mixer, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  5. Add in butter, a few pieces at the time and mix until you are left with crumbles.
  6. Add in eggs, vanilla and buttermilk and beat until the mixture is combined, making sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  7. Make the filling:
  8. combine 1 cup light brown sugar with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  9. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. The batter is going to be thick, so it will take a bit of effort to spread it.
  10. Sprinkle the filling on top of the batter.
  11. Pour remaining batter on top. Use a small knife to make swirls in the cake to give it a marbled look.
  12. Make the topping:
  13. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, sugar, and vanilla.
  14. Cut in butter using two forks until it’s crumbly (you can also use your mixer to do this).
  15. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the batter.
  16. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake has set.