Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it's made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes!

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it’s made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes!

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it's made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes!

Just a quick post today to share a super luxurious Lemon Crumb Cake.  I made this for the family and realized it was too good not to share with you guys.  It bakes up nice and tall, and it’s fluffy on the inside with a crisp crumb crust on the top.  But best of all it’s laced with the most delicate lemon flavor ~ that’s because the flavor is infused into the sugar that then bakes into the cake.  The kitchen smells incredible, and everybody lunges for the first piece.

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it's made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes!

You know I adore lemon, and I’m constantly on a crusade to figure out new and better ways to get lemon flavor into my food.  This is a favorite technique of mine, you first saw it when I made my buttery LEMON SUGAR SHORTBREAD.  That stuff is divine, by the way.  I knew the I could make an incredible lemony sugar by processing the zest of lemon with the sugar.  The zest becomes a part of the sugar and flavors everything it touches with aromatic citrus.

You see those little circles in the zest above?  Each little bubble contains that aromatic citrus oil ready to burst into your sugar.

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it's made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes!

This is a simple cake because the same dough is used for both the cake and the crumb topping, and everything can be made, believe it or not, right in the food processor.  Since you’re using it to make your lemon sugar, there’s no need to dirty another bowl or mixer.  (If you want to do this by hand, see the recipe notes, below.)

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it's made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes!

I patterned this recipe after one of my favorite coffee cakes on the blog, my CARDAMOM CRUMB CAKE.  I had intended to replace some of the liquid with lemon juice, but guess what?  I forgot.  And after tasting the finished cake I’ve decided that there’s no need for any lemon juice, the lemon flavor is just perfect as is.  The flavor is subtle but fresh and natural tasting.  This lemon sugar crumb cake is lovely, I hope you try it!

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 lemon, well washed and dried
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold, unsalted butter (12 Tbsp.) cut in small pieces
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Set oven to 350F
  2. Spray a 9x9 square baking pan and line with parchment paper if you want to be able to lift it out for cutting. That part is optional.
  3. Use a serrated vegetable peeler to carefully peel away the zest from the lemon. You want only the yellow, not any of the bitter white pith.
  4. Put the sugar into the bowl of a food processor, along with the zest. Process, scraping down the sides if necessary, for about a minute or so, until the zest is completely incorporated into the sugar.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, and salt into the processor and pulse to combine everything.
  6. Add the butter to the bowl. Pulse to combine, maybe about 20 pulses. The mixture should be crumbly with the butter well distributed and in very small pieces.
  7. Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.
  8. Whisk together the wet ingredients and mix with the dry, just until combined. Spread the batter into the pan, and top with the reserved crumbs. Note: I use my fingertips to make some larger, chunkier crumbs to create a nice texture on the top. Just compress the dry mixture a little between your fingers to make any size crumb you like.
  9. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it.
https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/lemon-sugar-crumb-cake-recipe/

Notes:

  • I like to use organic lemons when I know I’ll be using the peel, and I wash them really well.
  • If you don’t have a food processor you can do this by hand.  Grate the lemon zest and mix with the sugar.  I would use the zest of 2 lemons if you are doing it by hand.

 

Don’t forget to Pin it!

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high crumb cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, it's made with my special lemon infused sugar ~ an easy technique for punching up the citrus flavor in your favorite recipes! |breakfast | Mother's Day | coffee cake | pound cake | citrus

54 Comments

  • Reply
    Jeanette Waters
    August 3, 2017 at 2:21 pm

    I made the cake today and it turned out great! Super delicious. Thanks so much. Already looking forward to making it again.
    I’m so happy to have a ‘go to’ source.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 3, 2017 at 4:45 pm

      I’m so glad Jeanette!

  • Reply
    Jeanette Waters
    August 1, 2017 at 5:26 am

    Sorry, me again (new to baking; love lemon!) is the butter cold when mixed into the other ingredients? Can I sub yogurt for sour cream? Thanks.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 1, 2017 at 6:43 am

      Yes, great question Jeanette, and I just clarified that in the recipe, thanks. This is an unusual process with this cake, so it can be a little confusing. You can substitute yogurt, but the texture will be a little different.

  • Reply
    Jeanette Waters
    August 1, 2017 at 5:20 am

    If making with no processor how long should I beat/mix, etc. I don’t want to over mix. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 1, 2017 at 6:41 am

      You’d mix the butter in like you would when making a pie crust, so you’d have to cut it in. Then just mix until well combined.

      • Reply
        Jeanette Waters
        August 2, 2017 at 9:27 am

        I’m so sorry (I don’t want to be a pest!) but I meant how long to beat everything in general. For example the recipe states to “process” the sugar and zest for a minute or so. How long should I use my mixer, or is it by hand? And how long do I beat (again, by hand or mixer?) the dry ingredients with the sugar and zest? I really am trying to get this right. And, I’ve never tackled a pie crust (yet)….I’m 67
        and retired recently and baking is my new hobby. Thanks so much!

        • Reply
          Sue
          August 2, 2017 at 10:15 am

          For the sugar and lemon peel, that’s best done in a food processor, so you would pulse or run the machine until the peel is fully incorporated into the sugar. If you want to do that step by hand, you would grate the lemon zest and just stir it together with the sugar until it’s mixed.

          To combine the dry ingredients with the sugar, just mix until it is combined. This can be with a spoon or whisk or right in the processor.

          Hope this helps! Let me know how it all turns out!

  • Reply
    debbie stewart
    April 20, 2017 at 4:41 am

    Hi Sue, gorgeous cake! just wondered if you had ever thought of showing the ingredients in grams/ounces as well as cups? I am in London England and we don’t really use cups that often here.. although some of us use them we tend to have to dig them out when a recipe requires them Ha! :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 20, 2017 at 6:07 am

      It’s a good point Debbie, and I guess I should get in the habit of weighing out everything as I go. I hate to rely on converters, especially when it comes to baking. I always feel it’s easy for something to get lost in the translation!

      • Reply
        debbie stewart
        April 21, 2017 at 2:51 am

        Who knows, you may get even more subscribers as bakers can get a bit confused when trying to convert, as you say, something can easily go astray! Looking forward to maybe seeing grams & ounces in the future…

  • Reply
    joan
    April 16, 2017 at 12:21 am

    I made this fantastic cake for a birthday party saturday night. My friends could not stop raving how good it tasted.
    My food processor died half way thru the mixing, so I finished by hand. Using a springform pan extended the cooking time. Your recipe was so easy to follow. I’m looking forward to making your Irish Apple Cake. thanks again.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 16, 2017 at 7:22 am

      I’m thrilled Joan ~ and you might also like my pumpkin crumb cake, and my cardamom crumb cake, they’re similar. I’ll try my springform pan next time!

  • Reply
    Kate
    April 15, 2017 at 3:02 pm

    I made this cake today – it’s absolutely delicious!!! Thank you for a new go-to recipe.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Thank YOU for coming back to let us know Kate. I hope you get many years of pleasure out of this recipe :)

  • Reply
    joan
    April 13, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    can you use a 9″ springform pan?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 13, 2017 at 4:15 pm

      Sure!

  • Reply
    Belinda Seal
    April 12, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    This cake was delicious! Directions were good and easy to follow. It baked up beautifully and I think it was even more moist on the second day.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 12, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks so much for your feedback Belinda ~ I’m so glad you like this. I hope you use that lemon sugar for other recipes, too :)

  • Reply
    Blair
    April 11, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    OH my goodness! I’m a sucker for any cake (especially if it involves a crumb topping), and I’m all about the lemon right now. It’s just such a bright, fresh spring flavor. This recipe sounds PERFECT!

  • Reply
    Dawn Harriman
    April 11, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    Hi Sue, This cake sounds so good I can’t wait to try it! I am new to infusing sugar with anything (I found a recipe using infused vanilla sugar), so I’m unsure as to the ratio of sugar to lemon zest, or does it matter? I’m thinking the more lemon I use, the more lemony the sugar becomes. And how long does it take to infuse? Thanks for your help! I’m enjoying your recipes as I’m on your list! Thanks! Dawn

  • Reply
    Susan Ewing
    April 8, 2017 at 9:59 am

    I love lemon. Cannot wait to try your recipe. Need lemons.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 8, 2017 at 10:01 am

      I’m right there with you Susan, lemons are amazing.

  • Reply
    Victor @ IFOODBLOGGER.COM
    April 6, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Saw these on Foodgawker and immediately fell in love with them. Will definitely try this weekend!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 6, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Thanks Victor, I think you’ll love it!

  • Reply
    Heidi Wolff
    April 3, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Have you tried this recipe with gluten free flour?

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 3, 2017 at 7:06 am

      No, but I’ve tried other similar recipes and a good gf mix usually works…the texture will be a little less fluffy, but you would expect that.

  • Reply
    cakespy
    April 2, 2017 at 5:19 am

    OMG this cake is straight from my DREAMS.

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 2, 2017 at 8:59 am

      :))

      • Reply
        Ellen
        April 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        I made this cake this morning. It is wonderful. I would like the crumb topping to be more chunky so next time I think I will add a bit more shortening to it and melt it to form chunks. Good job the lemon sugar is so bright tasting.

        • Reply
          Sue
          April 2, 2017 at 1:46 pm

          Thanks for the quick feedback Ellen ~ always appreciated! One thing I do when I add the crumb topping is to create larger, chunkier crumbs with my fingertips before adding it. I’ll go back and note that in the recipe, thanks for reminding me!
          I’m glad you like the lemon sugar, I’m sure you’ll find more ways to use it :)

  • Reply
    Foodiewife
    April 1, 2017 at 8:57 am

    I never met a crumb cake I didn’t like. I’ve made your lemon sugar before, and it’s easy and has so many uses! Our Eureka lemon tree has been generous, so far… I know what I’m baking!

    • Reply
      Sue
      April 1, 2017 at 11:52 am

      Me too Debby ~ I also never met a lemon ANYTHING I didn’t like :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    April 1, 2017 at 6:30 am

    Absolutely beautiful! I love how light it looks and of course, lemon always wins in my book :)

  • Reply
    Joyce Gibson
    March 31, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Lemon is my favorite also! Can’t wait to try this on my ladies’ group!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2017 at 9:31 pm

      This is the perfect cake for a ladies group :)

  • Reply
    Gina
    March 31, 2017 at 4:19 pm

    Hi Sue,

    I made this cake TODAY and it is SO AMAZING! thank you for sharing!! One question, what kind of baking dish did you use? I used a glass baking dish and the center rose very high. I would like mine to come out nice and level like yours did. Thanks!!!

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      I use a 9×9 ceramic baking dish, and mine rises high in the center, too, maybe it just didn’t come across in the photos. I love how high it rises! Thanks SO much for your quick feedback Gina, that’s so nice of you!

  • Reply
    Ali
    March 31, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Does this freeze well? Any way to make ahead and finish later? Looks devine :)

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2017 at 3:49 pm

      I think most plain cakes can be frozen, Ali, especially if you wrap them really well, but it’s not my preference, since fresh baked is always best. You could mix up your dry ingredients ahead of time, make the lemon sugar, leave out your eggs, and pre-measure your liquid to make it a lot quicker to throw together.

  • Reply
    Mary McCabe
    March 31, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Do you have any tips for making this at a high altitude, 7500 feet?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2017 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Mary ~ here are a few tips from a fellow blogger, Mountain Mama Cooks, who actually lives at 7000 feet ~ hope this helps!
      –Decrease Leavening Agents:
      When adjusting a sea level recipe, for each 1 teaspoon of leavening agent called for, decrease it by 1/8-1/2 teaspoon. FOR MY RECIPES: If you live above 7000 feet, decrease the amount of leavening agent just a bit. If you live below 7000 feet, increase the amount of leavening agent called for by just a bit. I recommend starting with 1/8 teaspoon increase or decrease at a time.

      –Increase Liquid:
      Because at higher elevations, faster evaporation occurs and drier climates can lead to a drier product to begin with, it’s important to add additional liquid in any recipe. Also, flavors in baked goods can become weaker or less pronounced as there are fewer moisture molecules to carry the essence; adding 1/2-1 teaspoon extra of whatever flavoring you’re using will assure a flavorful baked good. When adjusting any sea level recipe, add 2-4 tablespoons more liquid per 1 cup called for.FOR MY RECIPES: If you live above 7000 feet, increase the amount of liquid 1-2 tablespoons. If you live below 7000 feet, decrease the amount of liquid by 1-2 tablespoons.

      –Decrease Sugar:
      The increased evaporation also results in the concentration of the sugar in the recipe. This leads to a weaker structure. As we noted above, a weak structure leads to fallen cakes and flat cookies. When adjusting a sea level recipe, decrease the amount of sugar by 1-3 tablespoons of sugar per cup called for. I rarely measure but generally do a scant cup for each 1 cup called for. FOR MY RECIPES: If you live above 7000 feet, decrease the sugar by 1 tablespoon. If you live below 7000 feet, increase the sugar by 1 tablespoon.

  • Reply
    Rhona
    March 31, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    Could I use buttermilk as I love to use it for flavour and texture?

    • Reply
      Sue
      March 31, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Absolutely, I adore buttermilk and use it in a lot of my cakes, etc.

  • Reply
    Laura | Tutti Dolci
    March 31, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    Be still my heart! Love this dreamy cake and that crumb topping is perfection! :)

  • Reply
    Lindsay Cotter
    March 31, 2017 at 12:46 pm

    Love lemon flavor too! And this lemon sugar crumb cake looks wonderful! Perfect for the Easter dessert table!

  • Reply
    Jehan Hale
    March 31, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    I definitely have to try this recipe! That crumb topping looks sooooo good!

  • Reply
    Stephanie@ApplesforCJ
    March 31, 2017 at 12:29 pm

    This cake looks so moist and delicious. Just waiting to be eaten. I’m a big fan of lemon flavors as well.

  • Reply
    Susan
    March 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I adore anything baked with lemon! This sounds so good and I can’t wait to try it, Sue. Winner!

  • Reply
    Elizabeth @ SugarHero.com
    March 31, 2017 at 11:46 am

    This looks phenomenal! The crumb topping has me droooooling.

  • Reply
    Elaine @ Dishes Delish
    March 31, 2017 at 11:17 am

    Oh my gosh! This lemon sugar crumb cake looks so delicious! So fluffy! I can not wait to make it!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert
    March 31, 2017 at 9:02 am

    Outstanding recipe! I can’t wait to try next time I have company because I’ll need help eating this cake – not really but I won’t trust myself around it. Thanks for the terrific method of infusing lemon flavor – perfection! Sharing and pinning :)

  • Reply
    Angie@Angie's Recipes
    March 31, 2017 at 8:35 am

    Tender crumb and buttery topping..these sweet tangy lemon bars look very inviting!

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    March 31, 2017 at 8:24 am

    I want this now! Looks totally amazing. Just the idea has my head spinning and tummy growling!

  • Leave a Reply

    Pin
    Share
    Yum
    Stumble
    +1