Oma’s Crumble Cake

Source:  Great-great Oma Pohl cir. 1940’s

a piece of Omas crumble cake
a piece of Omas crumble cake

Oma’s Crumble Cake

Oma’s crumble cake is a family original, dating back to the mid 1940’s. It’s a classic German recipe, which can be comparable to the American coffee cake.

This crumble or streussel cake is a yeast-based dough. There are two components to this recipe. The dough for the under layer, and the crumble or streussel for the top layer. The dough must rise and become light and airy, this ensures a nice light biscuit dough, nothing too heavy or dominant. The key factors in the crumble are of course butter and sugar. I also like to add a hint of cinnamon, I think it brings the flavor to a more earthy level.

My mother-in-law has made this cake for us as long as I can remember. I talked with her about the recipe and the origins, and she said it was from her Grand-mother when she was growing up. They originated from a border town to the old Poland, before the territory lines were moved after the war. To have memories of anything pre or post World War 2 is amazing in itself. A very hard, stressful time for most German and European’s alike. Which goes to show you, though her family lost everything in the war, they held on to their heritage, and their recipes. Something which is now surviving some seventy years later. Recipes do mend and heal, and preserve memories that will forever be in our minds.

Oma’s Crumble Cake

A delicious, traditional crumble cake to be shared with anyone who loves streussel, or crumble cake
Course Dessert
Cuisine German
Keyword Cake
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Rising Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 1 tray



  • 500 gr flour
  • 250 ml milk
  • 75 gr sugar
  • 100 gr butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS fresh yeast

crumble topping (Streussel)

  • 300 gr flour
  • 200 gr butter
  • 125 gr sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon


  • Make a “starter” dough with a 100 gr. flour, yeast, and the milk. First combine the yeast with the luke warm milk (if to warm the yeast will not rise), stir it together then pour into the flour. This should be a very wet dough. Cover and let grow for ½ hr. to 1 hr.
  • Combine the remaining flour, sugar, melted butter, egg, and salt. You should be forming a nice, soft pliable dough which is not sticky. If you need to add more flour to achieve this texture, then do so.
  • Once your dough is made and combined, spread it into a flat tray with edges which are about 1” high or more.
    Crumble cake dough rising
  • Let the dough rise in a warm place for about 30 min.
  • While dough is rising, make your crumbles (Streussel). Combine all ingredients together, and bind until you have a nice crumble mixture. You should have some inconsistent sizes of crumbles in there, some are big, some are very crumble and fine.
  • When your dough has risen for the final time, pour the streussel on the dough. You just need to spread the streussel out to make it an even application.
  • Put in the oven @ 200ºC and bake for 20 min. or until dough is golden brown. Serve immediately and enjoy!
    a piece of Omas crumble cake
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