Coffee Cake

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Few things can match the comforting delight of a homemade coffee cake. Whether it’s the aroma of the cinnamon-spiked streusel wafting through your kitchen or the anticipation of that first warm, crumbly bite, the experience of baking and enjoying a coffee cake is a cherished ritual that transcends mere recipe.

coffee cake slices stacked on a table
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coffee cake slices stacked on a table

Easy From Scratch Coffee Cake

This coffee cake recipe is a classic, inspired by countless Sunday brunches and mid-morning coffee breaks. It combines the soft, tender crumb of a perfectly baked cake with the sweet, cinnamon-infused crunch of a generous streusel topping. It’s a dessert, it’s a breakfast, it’s an anytime treat that never fails to bring a smile.

The beauty of coffee cake lies not only in its flavor but also in its simplicity. This recipe uses staple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry and fridge: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and sour cream. The magic happens in how these simple ingredients come together. The batter is lightly sweetened, allowing the full-bodied richness of the sour cream to shine through. The streusel topping, on the other hand, is where the cake’s sweetness and warmth come to the forefront, with brown sugar and cinnamon creating a heady, caramel-like flavor.

The process of making the cake is as soothing as eating it. There’s the methodical creaming of butter and sugar, the gentle folding in of dry ingredients, and the meditative layering of batter and streusel. Finally, there’s the baking, a hands-off pause where you can sit back, sip your coffee, and watch as the cake rises and the topping turns into a golden, crumbly crust.

By the time it’s done, you’ll have more than just a cake. You’ll have a testament to the joy of baking, a symbol of homey comfort, and, best of all, a delicious treat to share over a cup of coffee. So, let’s get started on this delightful journey to create your homemade coffee cake.

coffee cake slice on a table

How To Make Coffee Cake

To make this recipe you will need the following ingredients:

Cinnamon Filling:

  • Light brown sugar: Provides sweetness and moisture to the filling. The molasses in the sugar gives it a deeper, caramel-like flavor.
  • All-purpose flour: Adds structure and helps thicken the filling so it doesn’t run out during baking.
  • Ground cinnamon: Offers warm, sweet-spicy flavor that’s classic to coffee cake.

Streusel:

  • Unsalted butter: Binds the streusel ingredients together and gives it a rich flavor. Melting it makes the streusel crumbly.
  • Brown sugar and granulated sugar: Both sugars sweeten the streusel, with the brown sugar adding a hint of molasses flavor.
  • Ground cinnamon: Complements the sugars and adds warmth to the streusel.
  • All-purpose flour: Provides structure to the streusel, helping it hold together as a crumbly topping.

Cake:

  • All-purpose flour: Forms the structure of the cake.
  • Cornstarch: Softens the proteins in the flour, resulting in a more tender cake.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: Leavening agents that make the cake rise.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Unsalted butter: Adds fat for richness and tenderness.
  • Light brown sugar and granulated sugar: Sweetens the cake. Brown sugar also adds moisture.
  • Eggs: Add structure, fat, and moisture to the cake.
  • Vanilla extract: Enhances flavor and complements the cinnamon.
  • Sour cream: Adds moisture and fat for a moist, rich crumb, and its acidity reacts with baking soda to help the cake rise.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

For the cinnamon filling:
In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a whisk until completely combined. Set aside.
For the Streusel
Add all the streusel topping ingredients to a small mixing bowl, and mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.
For the cake
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper and cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until combined.
Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

To assemble

Pour half the cake batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out with a spatula.
Evenly distribute the cinnamon filling over top. Spread the remaining batter over the cinnamon filling. Sprinkle the streusel on top.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before cutting.

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Coffee Cake

Don’t Overmix the Batter: Overmixing can result in a dense and tough cake. Mix just until the flour is incorporated; a few small lumps are okay.

Room Temperature Ingredients: Ensure all your ingredients are at room temperature. This helps them blend together more seamlessly, creating a smoother, more uniform batter.

Use Fresh Baking Powder and Baking Soda: These ingredients lose their leavening power over time, which can result in a flat cake. Always check the expiry dates on your containers.

Spice It Right: If you’re a fan of the warm, spicy notes in coffee cake, feel free to adjust the amount of cinnamon in the recipe. You can even add a pinch of nutmeg or clove for extra depth of flavor.

The Right Pan: Use a light-colored metal pan, which will conduct heat more evenly. Dark pans or glass dishes can cause the edges to bake too quickly.

Check for Doneness Properly: Use a skewer or a toothpick to check the cake. It should come out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, but not wet batter.

Let It Cool: Allow your coffee cake to cool before slicing into it. This will help it hold its shape and structure better.

Get Creative with Add-Ins: Feel free to add some chopped nuts to the streusel for extra crunch, or some dried fruit to the batter for a different texture and flavor.

FAQs

Why is my coffee cake dry?

If your coffee cake turns out dry, it could be because it was baked for too long or at too high a temperature. Make sure to preheat your oven and check the cake’s doneness a few minutes before the recipe’s suggested baking time.

Can I use margarine instead of butter?

While butter is preferred for its rich flavor, margarine can be used in a pinch. Just be aware that it might affect the cake’s texture and flavor.

Can I replace the sour cream with anything else?

Yes, if you don’t have sour cream, you can use an equal amount of plain yogurt. You could also use buttermilk, or make a quick substitute by adding 1.5 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of whole milk and let it sit for a few minutes.

Can I use nuts in coffee cake?

Absolutely! Nuts like walnuts, pecans, or almonds can add a delightful crunch and flavor to your coffee cake. You can fold them into the batter or add them to the streusel topping.

Can coffee cake be made gluten free?

Yes, you can make a gluten-free coffee cake by using a gluten-free flour blend. Just be aware that this may affect the texture of the cake.

Can I make a vegan coffee cake?

Yes, you can substitute the eggs with flax eggs, applesauce, or mashed banana, use plant-based milk and a dairy-free sour cream substitute, and use a vegan butter or coconut oil instead of regular butter.

How long does coffee cake stay fresh?

Coffee cake can be kept at room temperature for up to three days or in the refrigerator for up to a week. Make sure it’s covered tightly to prevent it from drying out. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

How do I know when my coffee cake is done?

Insert a toothpick or skewer into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean or with just a few crumbs clinging to it, it’s done. If there’s wet batter on the toothpick, it needs more time.

coffee cake slices stacked on a table

What to Serve With Coffee Cake

Coffee or Tea: As the name suggests, coffee cake pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee. The bitterness of the coffee complements the sweetness of the cake. If you’re more of a tea person, a robust black tea or even a delicately flavored green or herbal tea can work beautifully.

Fresh Fruit or Fruit Salad: The acidity and freshness of fruit can cut through the richness of the cake, making for a balanced bite. Consider fruits like berries, citrus fruits, or a mix in a refreshing fruit salad.

Yogurt or Cottage Cheese: A bowl of plain or flavored yogurt, or even cottage cheese, can pair well with coffee cake. You could also top it with a bit of honey and some granola for a delicious brunch.

Breakfast/Brunch Proteins: If you’re serving the coffee cake as part of a larger breakfast or brunch spread, consider including some savory proteins like scrambled eggs, bacon, or sausage. These will provide a savory counterpoint to the sweet cake.

Cheese: Soft cheeses such as brie or cream cheese can go well with the sweet and spicy flavors of the coffee cake. Serve a slice of cake with a bit of cheese for a surprisingly delightful pairing.

Ice Cream or Whipped Cream: If you’re serving the coffee cake as a dessert, a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream can turn it into a decadent treat.

coffee cake slices stacked on a table

Coffee Cake Recipe

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Keywords: cinnamon crumb bars, white plate.
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Coffee Cake

Indulge in the perfect balance of sweet, crumbly goodness with our irresistible coffee cake recipe. Featuring a tender, moist crumb infused with warm spices, and topped with a rich, buttery streusel, this classic delight is perfect for breakfast, brunch, or paired with your afternoon cup of coffee. It's not just a cake – it's a cozy, comforting experience waiting to be shared!"
Course Desserts
Cuisine American
Keyword baking, cake, cinnamon, dessert, pastry with coffee
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Calories 795kcal
Author Courtney O’Dell

Ingredients

Cinnamon filling

For the streusel

For the cake

Instructions

For the cinnamon filling:

  • In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon with a whisk until completely combined. Set aside.

For the Streusel:

  • Add all the streusel topping ingredients to a small mixing bowl, and mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside.

For the cake:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9×13 inch baking dish with parchment paper and cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  • In a separate large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, vanilla, and sour cream. Mix until combined.
  • Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until combined, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as needed.

To assemble:

  • Pour half the cake batter into the prepared baking dish and smooth out with a spatula.
    Evenly distribute the cinnamon filling over top. Spread the remaining batter over the cinnamon filling. Sprinkle the streusel on top.
  • Bake for 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted and come out clean.
  • Allow the cake to cool for 20 minutes before cutting.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 795kcal | Carbohydrates: 117g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 135mg | Sodium: 357mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 73g

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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