This luscious Lemon Curd Crumb Cake is a soft and tender lemon butter cake with homemade lemon curd swirled through and topped with a buttery lemon crumb topping. Some of the lemon curd bakes into the cake making it moist, and some of it stays as a distinct swirl and when you get a bite of thick lemon curd, it is heaven! Consider this your perfect brunch cake that suits any weekday and it's super easy to make. If you love this idea, then try my popular Strawberry Crumb Cake, Lemon Blueberry Crumb Cake and Brown Butter Peach Crumb Cake.
WHY YOU WILL LOVE THIS RECIPE:
- Soft and tender lemon butter cake - this simple melt-and-mix recipe makes the softest, most tender lemon butter cake.
- Homemade lemon curd swirl - a thick swirl of homemade lemon curd goes right through the batter and some of it bakes right into the cake to make it nice and moist. When you get a bite where the swirl is deep, it has a silky smooth mouthfeel and it's pure heaven for lemon lovers!
- Buttery crumb topping - you just need 3 ingredients to make a delicious crumble topping. Mix together flour, sugar and butter and sprinkle it over the blueberries.
- Big lemon flavor - there's lots of lemon flavor coming from the lemon curd of course, and then there's lots of lemon zest in the cake batter and the crumb topping.
- Easy to make - you won't believe how easy it is to make! Although there are three components (the cake, lemon curd and crumble), it comes together in no time without even pulling out your mixer. You can make this all by hand, and you can use store-bought lemon curd if you want.
- All purpose flour - unbleached all-purpose flour works great for tender butter cake. I would avoid cake flour which absorbs more moisture and could actually make this cake a bit dry without altering the other ingredients.
- Unsalted butter - this recipe uses pure butter. It is so buttery and delicious even with only 6 tablespoons in the cake batter! It's surprisingly light compared to most crumb cakes and you won't even know it. You'll need butter for the cake batter and the crumb topping.
- Granulated sugar - simple granulated sugar keeps this cake soft and doesn't interfere with the pureness of the butter cake and strawberry topping.
- Brown sugar - a bit of brown sugar gives the crumb topping a bit of a caramel-like richness.
- Eggs - two large eggs will add nice structure for the butter cake.
- Pure vanilla extract - vanilla is essential to make this delicious butter cake. I like this Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla extract.
- Sour cream - use full fat sour cream to balance the sweetness and add more richness to this recipe. If you don't have sour cream where you live, read down below in my FAQ section for my substitution recommendations.
- Lemon curd - I use my easy one pot lemon curd recipe that really is as delicious as it is easy to make! It's thick and rich in lemon flavor and you can make it up to a week in advance.
- Milk - any type of milk will do. I prefer whole milk for baking. It should be at room temperature so measure it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before baking.
- Lemon juice - this is very important when baking with blueberries because blueberries are very sweet and don't contain a lot of natural acidity like other berries.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- STEP 1). Make the crumb topping. Combine the flour, sugars and melted butter in a medium bowl and blend well so it forms clumps. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set aside.
- STEP 2). Make the cake batter - mix butter with sugar. Melt the butter and then let it cool slightly. Mix the melted butter with sugar and vanilla using a whisk until it looks creamy, pale and fluffy.
- STEP 3). Add eggs. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until the batter looks smooth and custardy. Mix in sour cream.
- STEP 4). Combine dry ingredients. Sift flour, baking powder salt into a separate bowl and whisk it to blend evenly.
- STEP 5). Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture and fold gently to combine the ingredients until they are mostly combined.
- STEP 6). Add milk. Pour in the milk and fold it in gently until the batter is homogeneous. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.
- STEP 7). Swirl in the lemon curd. Take spoonfuls of chilled lemon curd and dollop them randomly over the batter. Swirl it in with a knife.
- STEP 8). Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, then lower the oven temperature and continue to bake until the crumb topping is golden and the strawberry juices are bubbling and thick. Let the cake cool for 30 minutes, then serve warm or at room temperature.
EXPERT BAKING TIPS FOR LEMON CRUMB CAKE
- Use room temperature ingredients. Since this is a simple melt-and-mix method, it is important to have all ingredients at the same temperature (not cold!) in order to help them blend evenly together. Make sure the milk is at room temperature since you need to mix it in at the end.
- Sift the dry ingredients. This is optional, but it will minimize the amount of mixing needed to combine the ingredients evenly so that you do not over-mix the batter. It will give you the best results for a finer texture crumb as well since the sieve will break up all the flour particles.
- Do not over-mix the batter. It's ok if there are a few streaks of flour remaining when you fold in the dry ingredients since the last step is to fold in the milk which will continue to incorporate all of the ingredients.
- Use salted butter for the crumb topping. Salted butter will add extra richness to the topping and it means you don't need to add salt. If you use unsalted butter, it's no problem - just add a pinch of salt.
- Cover all the lemon curd with the crumbs. When adding the crumbs over the cake batter at the end, be sure to cover the lemon curd swirl because it will protect from drying out and burning. This way you will be left with pockets of creamy lemon curd in each bite.
They are in fact very similar! Coffee cake is normally made with sour cream and is a dense cake. This crumb cake has a combination of sour cream and milk for a lighter, softer texture.
This cake is soft thanks to the proportion of eggs to flour. It's just the right balance to make a sturdy yet soft and tender cake.
If your cake turns out way too dense with a gummy layer, then it could be that you added too much flour (make sure to weight it or spoon it into the measuring cup gently without packing it down), or that it is under-baked. Also, check the shelf life of your baking powder - it could be expired.
Too much flour and not enough sugar is the main reason why cake can turn out dry and dense. It is important to have the right proportions of liquid to dry ingredients for successful baking.
If you can't find sour cream where you live, you can also make this cake with full fat Greek yogurt or crème fraiche.
You can use any type of lemon curd for this recipe but it is important to understand that they vary in quality. I highly recommend my one pot lemon curd recipe for this which is thick and creamy and it is SO easy to make. A lot of shelf-stable lemon curd sold in jars in the supermarket contain a lot of corn starch to thicken them instead of eggs and butter.
Yes, you can make this in a 9-inch round cake pan and the baking time will be about the same.
STORAGE AND FREEZING
How to store lemon curd crumb cake?
This cake will keep well in an airtight container for 1 day at room temperature, and then keep it refrigerated for up to 5 days. To serve, pull it from the fridge about 20 minutes in advance.
How to serve lemon curd crumb cake?
This cake is so delicious that I serve it with nothing else! It is best served warm, yet still absolutely delicious at room temperature. If you want to jazz it up, I'd suggest some lightly sweetened whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream with some fresh sliced strawberries on top.
Can I make this lemon curd crumb cake in advance?
Yes, you can make this cake the day before you plan to serve it and keep it covered overnight after it cools. Since the lemon curd has a lot of moisture, I would recommend keeping this cake refrigerated.
Gimme more lemon!
Looking for more recipes with lemon? Try these:
If you love baking crumb cakes, sort through these cake recipes:
If you love cake and fruit, check out these recipes!Caramel Apple CakeDark Chocolate Cherry Almond CakeCopycat Starbucks Lemon Loaf recipeRaspberry Almond CakeULTIMATE Moist Chocolate Fudge CakeLemon Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Lemon Curd FrostingCreamy Raspberry CheesecakeSticky Toffee Date CakeMoist Lemon Blueberry BreadOlive Oil Chocolate Bundt CakeBlueberry Peach Upside Down CakeBlueberry Swirl Lemon Loaf Cake
Lemon Curd Crumb Cake
- ¾ cup 105g all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoon 40g granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoon 30g packed light brown sugar
- 5 tablespoon 70g salted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 cup 120g powdered (icing) sugar
- 2 tablespoon 30ml fresh lemon juice
- pinch salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper leaving a 2-inch overhang at each side.
- Make the crumb topping. Combine flour, both sugars and salt (if you’re using unsalted butter) in a medium bowl and whisk to blend evenly so that there are no lumps of brown sugar. Add melted butter to the dry ingredients and stir with a spoon until evenly combined, then toss with your fingertips to form large crumbs. Cover with a tea towel and set aside.
- Make the cake batter. Combine melted butter, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest in a medium mixing bowl and whisk until pale and fluffy-looking. Whisk in eggs one at a time until very light and creamy. Mix in sour cream. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a small bowl and whisk to blend evenly. Add it to the wet mixture and fold it in by hand with a spatula until mostly incorporated. Pour in milk and fold it in until batter is evenly combined.
- Spread batter evenly into prepared pan. Dollop spoonfuls of lemon curd over the batter and swirl it in with a knife. Then, scatter clumps of crumb topping evenly on top to cover the lemon curd. Make sure the the crumbs cover most of the lemon curd because exposed curd can burn in the oven if you have hot spots.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the crumbs are lightly golden and the cake feels firm to the touch. A toothpick inserted into the center should comes out without any wet batter attached. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving. Enjoy warm or cool - it's great either way!