Gingerbread Crumb Cake

Gingerbread Crumb Cake |

Crumbs crumbs and more crumbs! Made even better by a layer of spicy, delicious gingerbread. Made even three times better if served with a cup of good coffee. Yes yes and yes.

Friends, meet my latest baking obsession. This crumb cake. I’m a die-hard crumb cake lover to begin with and well, this christmas version just takes this love of mine to an entirely different level.

So let’s back it up a bit first. I’ve been on a huge gingerbread kick this year. Which is kind of surprising considering gingerbread usually is not my favorite. I don’t know what’s happened, but this holiday season? It’s my jam.

So clearly it needed to be combined with crumbly goodness.

Gingerbread Crumb Cake |

Now, I am of the belief that when you make crumb cake there must be a lot (a lot!) of crumbs. And the ratio of crumb to cake needs to be pretty even. I don’t do wussy crumb cake with just a little bit of the good stuff. Well, technically I still eat it but more crumbs = a better crumb cake.

I’m still trying to figure out how to get even more crumbs involved, but for now this version suffices just fine. More than fine actually. Especially when doused with a hearty sprinkling of confectioners’ sugar on top. Gah, so good.

{True story – a bakery from where I grew up used to make a version that was about 85% crumb and just a tinyyyy sliver of cake. It’s my life mission to figure out how to make it at home. One day, one day this will happen.}

Gingerbread Crumb Cake |

But. Let’s also discuss the fact that I am currently freaking out. We had Christmas celebration #1 this past weekend with my in-laws and it cemented the fact that the big day is less than two weeks (!!) away.

Which really means I have less than two weeks to get my act together. There are presents to be wrapped. Movies to be watched (okay I realize this one isn’t something I have to get done, but it needs to happen for christmas cheer!). Baking and cooking to plan. And that little thing called work that I must finish before we start all these festive celebrations.

Gingerbread Crumb Cake |

But really, in the meantime I’ll be procrastinating and drowning my stress in gingerbread crumb cake. Lots and lots of crumb cake.

Gingerbread Crumb Cake
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Yield: 1 (8x8 inch square) cake
For the crumb topping:
  • 1 ½ cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup raw pecans, chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted
For the cake:
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cloves
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup unsulfured molasses
  • ½ cup buttermilk
For garnish:
  • confectioners’ sugar
For the topping:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8x8 inch baking dish with parchment paper (cut a big enough piece so that the paper hangs over the edges of the pan on two sides). Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, pecans, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, ginger and cinnamon, making sure to break up any clumps. Add in the melted butter and mix until combined and evenly moistened. Set aside.
For the cake:
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the melted butter and brown sugar. Mix on medium until combined. Add in the egg and beat until combined. Add in the molasses and buttermilk and beat on low until combined. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture. Beat until combined. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  3. Using your fingers, drop the crumb topping in clumps evenly over the top of the batter (don’t press it down into the mixture, just sprinkle on top).
  4. Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Set the pan on a wire rack. Let the cake cool completely, then use the parchment overhang to lift out of the pan. Dust the top of the cake generously with confectioners’ sugar.

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