Lemon Crumb Cake

Lemon Crumb Cake – this breakfast cake is tender with the perfect amount of fresh lemon flavor! We love the crumb topping with lemon zest in it!
Lemon crumb cake on white plate with lemon slice and glaze on top of the cake
One of my bestie’s lives in Illinois, we lived there for 5 years before our recent-ish move to Michigan.

We talk a few times a week and one day she was helping me brainstorm recipe ideas. The idea of lemon coffee cake came up, so I wrote it down on a sticky note I have in my computer.

I had a few other recipes I was working on, so I wasn’t able to get to that one right away. But after she mentioned it several times, I knew it needed to happen. I love lemon, and I love coffee cake.

lemon crumb cake in clear baking dish
I wasn’t sure if I should call it a lemon coffee cake or a lemon cake crumb, so I asked you guys on my instagram stories and the overwhelming response was lemon crumb cake!

I’m not 100% sure what the difference is between a crumb cake and a coffee cake – maybe the coffee cake has to have a cinnamon swirl in it?

lemon crumb cake on white plate with lemons in the background
Anyway, if you like coffee cake because of the crumb topping you’ll love crumb cake (hello, CRUMB cake!).

I tested this recipe a few times so I could work on perfecting the amount of lemon. The result is a tender, lemon cake with fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. Plus, there is lemon zest in the crumb topping!

Lemon crumb cake on white plate with glaze being drizzled on top
If you aren’t a big crumb person, I would suggest halving the crumb recipe, or go without the crumb topping and use powdered sugar and lemon juice to make a glaze.

More lemon recipes we love from other bloggers: Lemon Drop Bars, Outrageous Lemon Trifle, and Lemon Bar Dip.

For a step-by-step of how to make this lemon crumb cake recipe, watch this short video:

Lemon Crumb Cake

Lemon Crumb Cake

Yield: 8x8 inch crumb cake
Additional Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour

Lemon Crumb Cake - this breakfast cake is tender with the perfect amount of fresh lemon flavor! We love the crumb topping, it has lemon zest in it!


Lemon Crumb Cake

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp lemon zest, from about 2 lemons
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 & 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sour cream

Crumb Topping

  • 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 6 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into smaller pieces


  1. Make the crumb topping first. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, salt and lemon zest. Add the cold butter pieces, use your hands or a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Once the butter is cut in (pea sized pieces of butter are good!) place the crumb topping in the fridge.
  2. Remove the eggs and sour cream from the fridge so they can become room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350º F.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together with a mixer for 2 minutes. Add in the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice, beat again until incorporated.
  5. Add in the sour cream, mix with a spatula.
  6. Add in the dry ingredients, half at a time, mixing by hand with a spatula just until incorporated.
  7. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with non-stick spray. Transfer the lemon cake batter to the pan and spread evenly.
  8. Remove the crumb topping from the fridge, spread it evenly over the cake, breaking up large pieces as needed.
  9. Bake for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool, serve.


This recipe turned out great using gluten free flour too! We love King Arthur Gluten Free Measure for Measure Flour.

Lemon Crumb Cake - this breakfast cake is tender with the perfect amount of fresh lemon flavor! We love the crumb topping, it has lemon zest in it!
Lemon Crumb Cake - this breakfast cake is tender with the perfect amount of fresh lemon flavor! We love the crumb topping, it has lemon zest in it!
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  1. this looks great and yeah lemon curd is so delicious. Nice photo’s and a very nice recipie

  2. Can you double it to make a 9×13 and it still come out?

    • I’m not sure, but I would assume it would be okay – just adjust the baking time!

  3. I know I’m late to the party but I had to leave a comment saying how amazing this cake is! I made it and it came out beautifully, and it tastes as good as it looks! The only tweaks I made were adding about half a teaspoon more of lemon juice to the batter, along with a few drops of lemon extract. That’s only because I like a really strong lemon flavor. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. I made this for my mom’s birthday as a birthday breakfast pastry. I had to pry the pan out of her hand before she left for work. She loves it and so do I. I did the crumb recipe but then I made a glaze to go on top. The glaze is a nice tart touch to the sweet and not too lemony cake and when you put it on the cake right out the oven, it adds a crunch to the already crunchy crumb. Just, don’t eat the glaze by itself because it can taste like concentrated lemonade.

    But good recipe! I will be making this in the future for anything now.

  5. I made this today and it was delicious! Super moist cake with a crumbly topping. I don’t have an 8×8 but I used my 9inch cast iron skillet and it worked great. Thank you for the recipe! Will definitely make this again in the future and I bet it’ll be a crowd-pleaser.

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