Chocolate Crumb Cake

I think we can all agree that the best part of any crumb cake is the crumb! All crumb is not the same though. Leave it in the oven a tad too long and instead of it being delicious and sweet it’ll be burnt and dry. If you don’t mix the ingredients in just the right order your consistency will be off. I once made a batch of muffins with a crumb topping that ended up melting into the muffins while in the oven. And regardless of what the recipe says, I always refrigerate (or freeze) my crumb topping before using it. I think this helps it stay together better while in the oven. After all this talk about crumbs it should come as no surprise that today’s cake has a crumb topping… It’s a Chocolate Crumb Cake.

I’ve had the idea for this cake for quite some time. Years ago, I would get something similar at a bakery I would go to from time to time. In my mind it was a Chocolate Crumb Pound Cake, but that’s not what it was called on the menu. Truth be told, I have no idea what it was called. Whenever I ordered it, I would just point to it and get it (the best way to order things!). Ultimately the bakery closed but I never forgot about that cake. I have a list of things I want to bake / try to make, and that cake was always on there, but it would always get neglected. I finally decided that it would be a nice addition to this week since I was posting two recipes using a yellow cake mix for two different variations of marble cake to make with it. 

For this cake I started with a box chocolate cake mix. To make it taste a bit more homemade and to enhance the chocolate flavor I swapped out the water for coffee and I used vegetable oil and sour cream for the fat. I also added in vanilla extract. After making the batter I poured it into a 9-inch square pan I lined with parchment paper. It’s important to leave an overhang with the parchment paper so you can remove the cake from the pan easily. You really don’t want to flip it out of the pan as you would a regular cake because of the crumb topping. In doing so you could end up cracking the crumb topping or worse the cake itself. After the batter was in the pan, I used my hands to spread the crumb topping over the cake.

Once the cake was baked and completely cooled, I dusted the top of it with confectioners’ sugar – you can’t have crumb topping without it in my opinion.

Overall, the cake was DELISH! It was a hit with everyone I shared it with. Definitely something to make again!

Chocolate Crumb Cake

For the Crumb Topping:

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 cup butter (1 stick) butter, melted

1 1/3 cups flour

For the Cake:

1 15.25 oz package chocolate cake mix (I used Duncan Hines Devil’s Food)

3 large eggs

1 cup coffee, cooled

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioners’ sugar, for topping


Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch square pan with baking spray and then line with parchment paper leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray the parchment paper with baking spray and set aside.

Make the crumb topping: In a medium bowl whisk together both sugars, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in the melted butter and finally the flour. Continue mixing until the mixture clumps together. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes.

Make the cake batter: In a large bowl combine the cake mix, eggs, coffee, vegetable oil, sour cream and vanilla extract. Beat with a hand mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to combine all of the ingredients and then increase the speed to medium and continue beating until everything is well combined.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and then using your hands sprinkle the chilled crumb topping over it.

Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then use the parchment paper to carefully lift the cake out of the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar prior to serving.

Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature.

Recipe first appeared on Bead Yarn & Spatula.

Mini Fruit Tarts

I recently made a bunch of bite-sized treats (and cookies) for a party some friends of mine were having. A lot of brainstorming went into what I should make. I was all over the place with ideas. At one point I was actually thinking of making petit fours, but, I quickly nixed that idea when I couldn’t find or come up with a recipe that would be completely foolproof. I knew I was going to make cheesecake brownie bites (which are always a hit, you can find the recipe here), Raspberry Ripple Cupcakes, Rugelach (another hit), Chocolate Chip Cookies and Peanut Butter Cookies, but, I wanted something new to make. So, after some random Google searches I settled on Mini Fruit Tarts. They seemed simple enough, and, I made things even easier for myself when at the last minute I decided to buy frozen phyllo shells instead of making the dough myself.

I found these phyllo shells at my local supermarket in the frozen food section. To prep the shells I simply placed them on a baking sheet and baked them in a 350 F preheated oven for four minutes to make them crispy.

While they were cooling I made the filling. I combined mascarpone cheese, heavy whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar in a large bowl and used a handheld mixer to beat the ingredients until stiff peaks formed. I transferred the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a medium-sized round piping tip and piped the filling into each of the shells, but, you could use a small spoon to spoon the mixture into them as well. I then placed the filled tarts in the refrigerator while I chopped up strawberries and kiwis to top them. Once the fruit was ready I topped each of the tarts with a piece of strawberry and kiwi and a blueberry. I honestly think that I had 45 tarts done in less than an hour. You can’t beat that!

Here are some pics of all the desserts I made. Oh yeah, at the last minute (the night before) I decided to make mini carrot cupcakes as well. I ended up using my go-to Carrot Cake recipe and since I didn’t halve it I ended up with about 100 mini cupcakes. I only ended up frosting half of them and the rest ended up being the perfect little snack to munch on.


Mini Fruit Tarts

  • Servings: 22 (2 each)
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3 boxes of phyllo shells*

1 cup mascarpone cheese

1 cup heavy whipping cream

5 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

Fruit for topping**


*I used Athens Phyllo Shells, each box contains 15 shells

**I used chopped strawberries and kiwis and blueberries


Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place phyllo shells on a large baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan.

In a large bowl combine the mascarpone cheese, heaving whipping cream and confectioners’ sugar and using a handheld mixer beat the ingredients until stiff peaks form.

Transfer the mixture to a piping bag fitted with a round tip and pipe the mascarpone cream into the cooled shells. You could also use a spoon to spoon the mixture into the shells.

Top with your desired fruit and chill until ready to serve.

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