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  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan. For additional pan options see "tips," below.

  2. To make the topping: Combine the flour, confectioners’ sugar, cinnamon, and pecans. Mix the butter into the dry ingredients just until medium crumbs form. Set aside.

  3. To make the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter, sugar, and flavorings until blended.

  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating just until blended after each. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl between additions.

  5. Add the buttermilk (or yogurt) alternately with the flour, mixing gently to combine and scraping the bowl after each addition. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

  6. Quickly and gently sprinkle the crumbs on top, beginning with the edges then filling in the middle.

  7. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven, and cool it on a rack.

  8. When the cake is completely cool, dust it with confectioners' or non-melting sugar.

Tips from our Bakers

  • Watch out when you cut this cake; in typical crumb cake fashion, the crumbly topping will scatter a bit.
  • For an extra-tasty treat, fold 1 cup blueberries into the batter before baking. Be sure to add the optional lemon oil or peel if you use blueberries; the two flavors play very nicely together.
  • Don't have self-rising flour? Try our recipe for Cinnamon-Streusel Coffee Cake using all-purpose flour.

  • For a neater-looking cake that can be served out of the pan, try turning the whole process upside down: bake the cake with the "topping" on the bottom. Put the topping into the pan, followed by the cake batter. Once baked, turn the cake out onto a serving plate so that the topping is right-side up again. This method works fine in two 8" round cake pans, as well as the 9" x 13" pan called for. We also tried this when baking this recipe in our mini tube pan, as follows: Scoop 1/4 cup of topping into the bottom of each well, then scoop a heaping 1/3 cup cake batter on top. Bake the cakes for 22 to 26 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the cakes' edges are golden brown. Remove the cakes from the oven, allow them to cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then turn them out onto a rack to cool completely. This yields 12 cute individual cakes.