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 always, always forget to grease my baking dishes/pans. Then I realize before I put the dish in the oven, and have to sit there and consider if I’m willing to give it a try. Generally I just pretend I don’t care and bake it anyway. Pans these days are much better at the non-stick feature. But for that 20% of the time that it does stick, oh, what a waste!!

    Deannas last blog post..Iron Cupcake SF – June 2009

  2. says

    Most of mine have been small things that didn’t really affect the finished product. I actually can’t think of anything big like forgetting to add the dry ingredients. But I’m sure there’ve been instances that are just escaping my memory at the time. I did catch some chicken on fire once because I was cooking it too close to the broiler, that was kind of embarrassing. :-)

    Stephanies last blog post..Sourdough without the Starter!

  3. says

    I know I’ve done multiple things but the only thing I can think of is forgetting to add the sugar to an angel food cake…and oil/butter to muffins. The angel food cake was disaster, the muffins just a bit rubbery.

    Claires last blog post..Summer Muffins

  4. says

    Heh, I do that stuff all the time. The big one is forgetting to start the pasta. My sauce will be done, the garlic bread toasted, we’re both starving from smelling it all cooking for the past hour or two and the water isn’t even on the stove yet.

    The crumb cake looks incredible!

    Bobs last blog post..It’s My One Year Blogiversary! I Made Cake!

  5. Erin McMilon says

    I said out loud when your blog pulled up “That looks good…” to no one, just me, all alone while everyone else is asleep – I LOVE CRUMB CAKE – they were my favotite Hostess treat I would buy from Circle K when I was growing up. I have never made a crumb cake before… why is that? That is all changing in the morning… thanks for your blog – I love it!

  6. says

    When I was young, I once forgot the flour when I was making pumpkin bread. To this day, my brothers won’t ever let me forget it. In fact, my husband now remindes me about it when I’m baking – and he wasn’t even there originaly.

    Melanies last blog post..BB: Curried Couscous

  7. says

    As long as I’m following a recipe to the letter, I can talk on the phone while doing it. But when does THAT ever happen? I’ve definitely made the mistake of trying to half or double a recipe without full concentration and only halving or doubling part of the ingredients… But that’s part of the fun of cooking, no? 😉

    Hopies last blog post..Barcelona Part III: Tapas

  8. says

    My first cookie experience was also a disaster. I’ll spare you the details, but know that it involved a hand mixer and my mom nicknaming them “puberty cookies.”

    Jens last blog post..ode to rhode

  9. says

    when i was 14, i was making no bake cookies… the recipe (in my mom’s handwriting) called for Oleo. I had no idea what that was, mom wasn’t home, figured since I’d never heard of it, it couldn’t be THAT important, and continued with the cookie-making. BIG MISTAKE.

    My mom still laughs about that one.

    Alissas last blog post..Miles is Funny.

  10. says

    Your cake still looks beautiful, Kristen and I’m sure it was delicious!
    Over the years, I’ve forgotten many ingredients- recently I forgot the soda in some oatmeal cookies I was making(my husband was talking to me); they were like hard rocks!I cannot do 2 things at once either.

    Lyndas last blog post..Toll House Pan Cookies

  11. says

    I have ruined more recipes being distracted while preparing them. I have left the dry mixtures out more than once. Probably my worst failure was as a young teenager too. I wanted to bake sugar cookies but didn’t know what shortening was. I called a friend and she said it was water. Of course, my cookies never came together until my mom got home. We doctored them with this and that… (could never duplicate them) and they were the BEST sugar cookies! Thanks mom!

    Laurels last blog post..Sock it to Me Honey


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