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Oma Klassen’s Crumb Cake


Scroll to the bottom for more details!



2 cups golden brown sugar
3 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup softened butter (Mom always used margarine)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 cups buttermilk


Mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and cinnamon with a whisk, until no lumps remain.
Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the size of small peas.
Set aside 1 cup for the crumb topping.
Add 2 tsp baking soda to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk and whisk together.
Add 2 beaten eggs to the buttermilk mixture.
Whisk with a fork. Pour into the remaining dry mixture.
Stir well with a wooden spoon until all the dry ingredients are incorporated into the wet ingredients.
Spread into a 9×13 inch parchment-lined baking pan. Top with reserved crumbs.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

A perfect brunch always includes a sweet treat, and my mom’s Cinnamon Crumb Cake is ideal. It’s an old family recipe, and the simplicity of ingredients and one-bowl technique speaks to my mom’s personality. While raising seven children on the farm, she rarely had time for fussy baking. The recipe likely came from her older sister in Manitoba, the eggs supplied by our farm.  No doubt she made the buttermilk herself from surplus milk from our one farm cow. My thrifty mother would never have considered topping the lightly-spiced cake with mile-high buttery streusel as that required more of the costly butter and sugar. And why make streusel separately when a one-bowl method worked just fine? As it’s an old family recipe short on details, I had to make a few attempts to get it right.  It required multiple WhatsApp text messages between my sisters and me!  In my multiple attempts, I discovered that the heavier brown sugar now widely available doesn’t work as well as Roger’s Golden Brown Sugar.  While the cake was much denser than the photo, it still tasted delicious.  The fork in the photo is one of the only remaining things my parents brought with them to Canada in 1948.  It belonged to a set of cutlery for 2 people that was their only wedding gift post World War Two, and I treasure it!  The following photo is of my mom, I and my dog Sam picking raspberries on our Gladwin Road farm, circa 1970.  



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