I learned the hard way: New York-style crumb cake is not to be confused with coffee cake—ever. A very passionate born and bred New Yorker (aka Renato Poliafito) informed me, quite brutally, about the not-so-subtle differences between the two. It was a dressing down I won’t ever forget. It was as if I’d confused Picasso with Norman Rockwell. First and foremost, New York crumb cake is all about the crumb topping. It is obscenely large in proportion to the cake. In fact, the topping is nearly identical in thickness to—or even thicker than—the cake. Second of all, the crumb should never contain nuts—no crushed nuts, no whole nuts, no hint of a nut whatsoever. Finally, a true New York crumb cake is swirl free. This was the hardest part for me to reconcile, as I love a chocolate nut swirl, and this cake seems like a natural swirl candidate. But I obeyed the New York Crumb Commandments and am now a convert myself.