Calico Crumb Cake

This recipe is adapted from Better Homes & Gardens Pies and Cakes, 1972 edition.

Sift the flour, then measure out the amount called for in the recipe.
To toast the walnuts: arrange walnuts in single layer on baking sheet. Bake in center rack in preheated 350°F oven until fragrant and golden, 7 to 10 minutes, shaking pan halfway through baking to redistribute pecans. Transfer baking sheet to cooling rack and cool pecans completely before chopping.

Calico Crumb Cake

About This Recipe

Active time:30 minutes
Total time:2 hours
Special equipment:13- by 9-inch cake pan, parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, microwave, sifter, electric mixer, rubber spatula, cooling racks
This recipe appears in: Let Them Eat: Calico Crumb Cake


  • For the Topping:
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped (See notes)
  • For the Cake:
  • Baking spray
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour (See Notes)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. 1

    Adjust oven rack to middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 13- by 9-inch cake pan with baking spray. Line pan with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil lengthwise with one sheet, then crosswise with a second sheet to create a sling; spray once again with baking spray.

  2. 2

    For the topping: Combine flour and brown sugar in medium bowl. Using two dinner knives, cut in butter until mixture is resembles wet sand. Stir in nuts; set aside.

  3. 3

    For the cake: Place chocolate in small bowl and microwave until smooth and melted, 1 to 2 minutes, stopping microwave to stir chocolate every 30 seconds. Set aside and allow to cool.

  4. 4

    Sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into large bowl. Add butter and beat on medium speed until combined, about 1 minute (mixture will be crumbly).

  5. 5

    In small bowl, beat together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. With mixer on medium-low speed, add egg mixture in slow steady stream. Beat just until combined. Pause mixer, scrape sides and bottom of bowl, then beat mixture on medium-high speed until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

  6. 6

    Transfer 1 cup batter to medium bowl. Stir in melted and cooled chocolate.

  7. 7

    Scrape plain batter into prepared baking pan. Dollop chocolate batter on top of batter.

  8. 8

    Run a knife through cake batter to create a marble swirl. Sprinkle evenly with sugar-walnut mixture.

  9. 9

    Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer cake to cooling rack and cool in pan 10 minutes. Pull cake out onto a cooling rack using the parchment sling and cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve.


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