Few things are as nice as a warm piece of moist and delicate coffee cake with a crunchy streusel topping. I love that you can make this way in advance, freeze it and have a wonderful treat ready when guests come over or you just need a special treat.
What You’ll Need for This Recipe
All-Purpose Flour and Corn Starch: You can use 2 1/2 cups of Cake Flour instead if preferred. Both will work well however I’ve found many people do not have cake flour in their pantry at home so for this recipe I’ve specified the substitute, which uses cornstarch and AP flour.
Light Brown Sugar: You can use dark brown sugar instead if needed.
How to Make Coffee Cake
1. Set the oven to 350F and line a 9×9 inch pan with parchment paper or grease it. Start off by making the cinnamon filling. Add the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon to a bowl then whisk together and set aside.
2. To make the streusel topping whisk the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl then drop in the cubed butter and pinch together to create crumbles. Your goal here is to have a bunch of crumbles ranging in various sizes. If the mixture is too sandy then press large handfuls together and gently break them apart.
3. To make the cake batter; sift flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl then whisk together. I will say that you can just use cake flour instead of the all-purpose and cornstarch if preferred.
4. Beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy then add the light brown sugar and mix to combine. Scrape that bowl down and mix once more.
5. Pour in the vanilla then add the eggs one at a time while mixing on a medium speed. Mix in the sour cream then scrape the bowl down and mix until completely smooth.
6. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until just combined. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl down and give the mixture one last mix.
7. Pour half of the batter into your prepared pan and smooth toward the edges to create a base layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling on top then add the remaining batter. Use your spatula to smooth the batter toward the edge, it will not stick to the base layer because the cinnamon filling.
8. Top with the streusel crumble then pop into the oven to bake at 350F for about 50-55 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean from the center. Give your cake 20 minutes to cool before cutting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is it called a coffee cake?
This cake gets its name from traditionally being served with coffee. Some might expect it to have coffee as an ingredient but that is rarely the case.
What does it taste like?
Most coffee cakes will have a very moist, tender crumb with notes of vanilla, cinnamon and brown sugar. They can be flavored with cocoa powder, maple syrup etc and have additions like pecans, walnuts, or a glaze on top.
How do you keep it moist?
Adding sour cream and using brown sugar really brings the moisture to this cake. If you don’t have sour cream on hand you can sub in Greek yogurt.
Can you freeze it?
Sure! Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap, then pop into a freezer bag or wrap in foil. Thaw on the counter and I always recommend serving coffee cake warm. You can warm it in the oven or give it 10-20 seconds in the microwave. You can store the frozen cake for up to three months.
Pro Tips for this Recipe
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don’t have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- If you’re enjoying the coffee cake the next day give it 10-20 seconds in the microwave. It’s SO good just a bit warm.
- You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired, I do it all the time and can’t really tell the difference.
- If you don’t want to get your hands messy then pour melted butter into your streusel mixture and mix with a spoon to get those clumps.
- Try mixing in a cup of chopped pecans with your streusel topping for extra crunch.
If you’ve tried this Coffee Cake recipe then don’t forget to leave a rating and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you!
- 9x9-inch baking dish
For the Cinnamon Filling
- 3/4 cup light brown sugar 150g
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour 30g
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the Streusel:
- 2/3 cup light brown sugar 133g, lightly packed
- 1 cup all-purpose flour 120g
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter 113g, diced
For the Cake:
- 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 270g
- 1/4 cup cornstarch 30g
- 2 ½ tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- ¾ cup unsalted butter 170, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup brown sugar 100g
- 1 cup granulated sugar 200g
- 3 eggs room temperature, large
- 2 tsp vanilla extract 10mL
- 1 cup sour cream 240mL, room temperature
For the Cinnamon Filling
- In a small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon then set aside.
For the Streusel Topping
- Add the brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, and flour to a medium bowl. Whisk together then add the diced butter. I usually use room temperature butter for this but you can use cold butter too.
- Use your clean fingers to press and crumble the butter into the dry mixture. Once you have a crumbly mixture you can set it aside. For larger crumbles try pressing a large handful together and break apart into large pieces.
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9x9 inch pan with parchment paper, or grease it, and set aside. Sift the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder into a large bowl, whisk together and set aside.
- Beat the butter and granulated sugar in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or a large bowl If using an electric hand mixer. Mix until light and fluffy then add the brown sugar and mix on high. Pour in the vanilla then add the eggs one at a time while mixing on low. Scrape the bowl down then add the sour cream and mix until combined.
- Add the dry mixture to the wet and mix until just combined then use a spatula to scrape the bowl down and mix any stray bits in.
- Pour half the cake batter into the prepared pan and smooth out. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling on top. Spread the remaining batter over the cinnamon filling moving from the center to the edges. Top with the streusel and bake at 350F for about 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before cutting.
- Measure your flour correctly! Adding too much flour to the recipe is the most common mistake. The best, and easiest way to measure flour is by using a scale. If you don't have one then fluff your flour with a spoon, sprinkle it into your measuring cup, and use a knife to level it off.
- If you're enjoying the coffee cake the next day give it 10-20 seconds in the microwave. It's SO good just a bit warm.
- You can substitute whole milk yogurt for the sour cream if desired.
- If you don't want to get your hands messy then pour melted butter into your streusel mixture and mix with a spoon or fork to get those clumps.
- Try mixing in a cup of chopped toasted pecans with your streusel topping for extra crunch.