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 coffee 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 on a wooden board

lemon crumb cake is a classic New York style coffee cake

I patterned this recipe after one of my favorite coffee cakes on the blog, my Cardamom Crumb Cake. I made it 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 nice thick nubbly 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.

“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.”

Jeanette
a slice of lemon sugar crumb cake

my easy lemon sugar technique infuses this lemon crumb cake with citrus flavor

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.

Making lemon sugar in a food processor

a food processor is the perfect tool for making lemon sugar

All I do is process the clean peel (minus any bitter white pith) with the sugar and it becomes a fragrant citrus sugar in seconds! This is a simple cake because the same dough is used for both the cake and the crumb topping, and everything can be made right in a full sized food processor. Since you’re using it to make your lemon sugar, there’s no need to dirty another bowl or mixer.

Homemade lemon sugar in a jar with spoon

more cake for breakfast!

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!
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3.6 from 267 votes

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake

Lemon Sugar Crumb Cake is a mile high coffee cake with a delicate fresh lemon flavor, made with my special lemon infused sugar!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 12 servings
Calories 380kcal
Author Sue Moran

Equipment

  • food processor
  • 9×9 baking pan

Ingredients

  • 1 lemon, organic preferred well washed and dried
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup cold unsalted butter cut in small pieces

wet ingredients

  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 9×9 square baking pan and line with parchment paper if you want to be able to lift it out for cutting. This is optional.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Add the flour, baking powder, and salt into the processor and pulse to combine everything.
  • 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.
  • Measure out 1 cup of the mixture and set aside.
  • Whisk together the wet ingredients and add to the dry, mixing 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.
  • Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out without wet batter clinging to it.

Cook’s 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.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 380kcal | Carbohydrates: 59g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 456IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 80mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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86 Comments

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  • 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
      Dorothy Arakelian
      February 5, 2020 at 3:25 pm

      I made two of these today. One to keep and one to eat. It came out beautiful, very high and I baked it in the second rack from the bottom and added an extra 10 minutes to the time. It was very tasty but I would like a little more topping in clusters. And as one person said in the reviews she would add a little more butter. I really do not think that is the answer because that would only put more butter in the cake, and I don’t want to do that. Do you have any suggestions on how I could do extra butter on only the topping? Also, do u think it would be too much if I replaced the milk with the juice of one lemon? Please advise……..thank you Dorothy

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    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
    [email protected]'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!

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