Where’s the Crumb? (Recipe – New Jersey Crumb Cake)

When I was 12 years old, my mom let me loose in the kitchen to make a batch of chocolate chip cookies on my very own. I followed the classic recipe on the back of the Nestle Chocolate Chip bag. I mixed the wet ingredients together and as the directions said to do, I sifted the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. I scooped the cookie dough out onto a cookie sheet, placed them in the oven, and let them bake for the appropriate time. When the timer went off, I opened the oven door to find that each cookie was a gloppy mess. I decided that maybe I hadn’t baked them long enough, so I put them in the oven again for a few more minutes. After several times of repeating this, the cookies were still soupy and never firmed up. I was so disappointed.

It took me quite awhile to figure out what I did wrong, but as I was cleaning up after my unsuccessful baking event, I found a bowl…full of all of the dry ingredients that should have been mixed in with the wet ingredients! Still to this day I will not mix cookie ingredients up in two separate bowls. I just incorporate them all into the same bowl as I go along. I know that I have such a lack of focus sometimes and I really don’t want to repeat that mistake again.

Fast forward to today…many, many years have passed and I have come quite a long ways in the kitchen. I decided this morning that I wanted to make a crumb cake for breakfast. As I was mixing up the first set of ingredients my mom called. I talked to her for about a half an hour and as I was doing so, kept adding ingredients and finally put the cake into the oven. When the timer went off after 30 minutes, I opened the oven door only to discover that I made a beautiful cake but forgot to put the crumb on top of it! Talk about a “Duh!” moment. Sitting in a bowl right beside my stove top was the bowl full of the crumb mixture. Not sure what to do and not wanting just a cake without the crumb (because the crumb is the best part of the crumb cake) I went ahead and put the crumb on top and baked the cake for another 20 minutes. Luckily, my lack of focus did not ruin anything because the crumb cake turned out beautifully!

I learned a new lesson today…I am incapable of talking on the phone while I am mixing up ingredients to bake something. I simply do not have the focus to do both of those things at once. When I put this out on Facebook, I had several people respond with similar stories. What have you forgotten to do when you were in the kitchen because you were focusing on too many things at once?

New Jersey Crumb Cake (from Recipezaar)

40 min | 10 min prep




  1. Cream butter and sugar.
  2. Beat eggs and milk; mix with butter.
  3. In another bowl, mix flour and baking powder, then add to butter mixture.
  4. Stir in vanilla.
  5. Pour batter into a greased 9 x 13 pan.
  6. For crumb topping: Cut butter into sugar, biscuit mix, and cinnamon.
  7. Sprinkle over batter in pan.
  8. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until done.
  9. Top with the 1/4 – 1/2 C powdered sugar when cool.

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  1. says

    I have to add this… yesterday, while baking 200 cinnamon rolls for campers, I was also giving out morning medication. When all was said and done I knew I was missing some rolls. I went back to the oven (big convection oven) and found the missing pan of 12… they were brown hockey pucks! Too funny…

    Laurels last blog post..Sock it to Me Honey

  2. says

    You’re story reminded me of the time I made chili con carne. We were already happily munching away on the dish when I discovered I actually forgot to put in the beans!! Felt pretty stupid at the time… :) Despite your little mistake, the cake still looks delicious!

    Simone (junglefrog)s last blog post..Daring Bakers; Bakewell tart

  3. says

    One year, for my mom’s birthday, my younger brother and I were making a cake and dinner. I would guess we were about 10 and 8. I was making dinner while my brother was making the cake. After a while, he said, “Wow, I can’t believe this turns into cake. It looks disgusting.” Apparently he forgot to put the mix in so it was just oil and eggs! Luckily we were able to salvage it, but he will never live that down :)

    Lizs last blog post..Chicken Piccata

  4. says

    Are you kidding?
    I’m no brain when it comes to focus. I was in the grocery yesterday, saw a wonderful sale on fabulous cucumber and thought ‘Oh I want to make gazpacho.’ I got everything that I needed … except the cucumber.
    Crumb cake looks lovely.

  5. says

    Usually, I forget something that is in the microwave. Out of sight out of mind. I should get a microwave that beeps periodically if something has finished being heated and the door has not been opened since. That wouldn’t resolve problems with food being put in and never warmed up though…

    Back to the drawing board.

    Psychgrads last blog post..Happy Canada Day!

  6. says

    I rarely have your exact problem because I hate talking on the phone. BUT when I’m not concentrating I can make quite a disaster in the kitchen.

    Most recently, I was making brownies, mixed them up, popped them in the oven and started to clean up when I realized I hadn’t put in the vanilla extract. Since I had literally just stuck the brownies in the oven I pulled them out, drizzled the vanilla over them and used a mini-whisk to stir in the vanilla. The brownies turned out just fine!

    mariss last blog post..The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge (Week 7) Ciabatta Bread, Croutons

  7. says

    I found this on Pinterest and had to try it since I love crumb cake! Me and my family fell in love! It was so easy and so good. And now it will be so dangerous… :-) Thanks for sharing!


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