Sour Cream Coffee Cake

September 17, 2010 by Ali

One of the definite highlights of my college years was getting to be roommates with my friend, Natalie. In addition to being a wonderful friend, and my first serious walking buddy (seriously – we lived together during the year I had to stop running, and she graciously gave up her jogging to walk a few miles with me each day…such great memories!)….Natalie is also a fantastic cook. :)

So needless to say, we had a blast in the kitchen that year. (I threw in a picture below of the two of us and the “creation” we made for a Christmas dessert contest!) At the time, I was obsessed with all sorts of ethnic recipes. Whereas Nat was raised in a small town, and was the pro at all things “comfort food”. So we had a great time swapping tips and recipes! (And…consuming too many calories, but hey – that’s where the walking came in!)

Without a doubt, one of my favorite recipes from Natalie is her famous sour cream coffee cake. Oh my heavens. We made this often while we were roommates, and I have made it a few times a year ever since. In short — this recipe is coffee cake perfection. The texture is perfectly moist and fluffy, flavored with all of that wonderful buttery-cinnamon-sugary goodness, and people go NUTS over it. I always get requests for the recipe.

So cheers to amazing cakes, and amazing college roomies! Love you, Nat!!


Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


    Cake Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 (12 oz.) container of sour cream (I use reduced-fat)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)


In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined.

Then pour half of the batter into a greased 9"x13" baking pan, and sprinkle with half of the topping. Add the remainder of the batter on top, and sprinkle with the remaining topping. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Recipe from my friend Natalie.

(c) 2013 Gimme Some Oven. All rights reserved.

Ali’s Tip:

The batter will be pretty sticky, so I recommend adding your second layer in small spoonfuls all over the pan (rather than just adding the remaining batter in one big blob). This may make it easier to spread out over the cinnamon-sugar layer.

(We took 1st place!) :)

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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94 thoughts on “Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  1. My cake turned out a bit dense. I made half of the cake recipe and cooked it in a 7×11 inch baking dish for 30 minutes. I used full fat sour cream because I had it on hand, would that have made a difference?

    - Kaitlin

  2. Can I use gluten free flour?

    - Nicole

  3. I found your recipe a while back and I added it to my favorites. It’s very simple to make and tastes great. I’m getting ready to make another one right now. Thanks for sharing your recipe with all of us.

    - Donna

  4. made this cake and it was so wonderful. Could not stop eating it got ate up in a day.that was five days ago,getting ready to make was such a hit in the house.thank u .

    - Dorothy Wimbush

  5. I’ve made this at least a dozen times….my little family loves it….doesn’t take long to make either.
    Increase the white/brown sugar to 1/3 cup, double the cinnamon and add a bit of nutmeg. 12oz sour cream = 1.5 cups. Change vanilla to 2 teaspoons. Bake for ~ 40 minutes (3Kft elevation) in an 8″ cast iron skillet coated with butter and flour. Use only real eggs, butter and sour cream or grandma will come down from heaven and hunt you down.

    - Phill

  6. It’s freezing and sleeting in Dallas so I decided to try your recipe after finding it on Pinterest. It is delicious – light, fluffy and moist! I halved the recipe and baked it in an 8×8 pan since there are just 2 of us and I had a feeling I’d eat the whole 9×13 if I had it in front of me. Thanks!

    - Julie

  7. Does the cake taste like sour cream or can you not tell? I’m a bit nervous to use so much sour cream, could I replace it with plain Greek or whole fat yogurt? Thanks so much!

    - Sierra

  8. It’s in the oven now…smells so yummy! I had to make another half batch of the batter because I did too much in the first layer…hard to measure half the batter!

    - Ellie Goldberg

  9. That looks so moist and yummy! I can’t wait to make it. Thanks for the recipe.

    - Jill Simmons

  10. Ali, we just made the cake yesterday. It was so yummy! We had friends over and they kept “straightening” the cake line …

    - Melly

  11. I found this on Pinterest and had to make it it looked so good but I didn’t have sour cream so I substituted plain whole milk yogurt…it was perfect! Thanks for the recipe!

    - Hillary

  12. Gosh this just looks so yummy. can’t wait to make it and then eat it all. all by myself. because i have no one to share christmas with…

    - Earl

  13. This is my most favorite coffee cake recipe! I had to share! I’ve linked to your recipe here: :

    - Kellie E

  14. I was craving Mom’s excellent Sour Cream Coffee Cake when I came across your excellent recipe.
    I had ALL the ingredients except the Vanilla, but tried it anyway.
    I mixed the liquids on a mixer and the dry ingredients in a stainless steel mixing bowl…So far so good! Boy that batter was “thick”, but I took time to spread it all out. Everything else to the recipe.
    I can wait to taste it!! If the bowel tastes as good, the cake will be better. With a 1/2 gallon of milk to drink with the cake. Yummy !!
    Thanks for sharing at a moment of necessity!! My Mom passed away 3 years ago and she made the best cakes and cheesecakes.
    Thanks for helping me enjoy the best cake in the world!!! John

    - John Carman

  15. I thought the batter was to thick,more like muffin batter then cake. I added a little bit of milk to make it easier to pour and layer the batter with the topping. Taste is great!!!!

    - elaine

  16. I dont see any coffee in the recipe

    - Maria

  17. I was wondering if I could use a Bundt pan for this cake ???

    - Clara Brown

  18. Don’t bother looking anywhere else. THIS IS THE RECIPE for light and fluffy coffee cake. PERIOD. Got nervous after the batter came out thick and sticky, BUT no matter–it was amazing–and a fluffy end product! I added 1/2 egg white and baked in 325 for 20 minutes and the last 15 minutes at 350. I didn’t do the middle toping because it doesn’t add to much batter for a 9×13 glass pan, which was what I had, so just used topping for the top, which I did also add a little cocoa to. Once it was cooled, I added confectionary powder. LOVED IT

    - Chloe

  19. Ali, why did you have to give up running?

    - Samantha

  20. I am going to make this today even though, it is hot and very humid up here in New Hampshire. My oven will make the kitchen really hot, but I have the urge so here I go! I will let you know how great it is!!

    - Linda

  21. I made a glaze out of powdered sugar, maple syrup, cinnamon, and butter, to go on top of this. I didn’t measure anything out but after it came out I poked the cake and drizzled a little butter (separately) and then added the glaze. It was REEEEEEEEEEEEALLY GOOOOOOOD! It’s good without the extra butter and glaze but it was even Better with it. :)

    - AJ

  22. What a wonderful recipe! I made it for our Mother’s Day gathering and my family wiped it out leaving NOTHING but crumbs behind! They’re already asking when can I make another!! Lol Thanks for sharing!

    - Cathy

  23. What a wonderful recipe! I made it for our Mother’s Day gathering and my family wiped it out leaving NOTHING but crumbs behind! They’re already asking when can I make another!! Lol Thanks for sharing!

    - Cathy

  24. Just made this! I had a huge craving for it and haven’t baked in a while. This turned out so well! I didn’t think it would fit in the 9 x 13 pan but it fluffed up so well as it baked that it fit perfectly! Very delicious, moist and fluffy! Definitely a staple Coffee Cake recipe :)

    - Michelle

  25. I just made this and it is delicious! I used half sour cream and half buttermilk, because it’s what I had in the house. 1 tablespoon of vanilla because I love it.

    I think next time I would reduce the baking soda – I used a scant tsp and it is quite strong.

    - Sequoia

  26. I have this receipe however in the middle I use fruit.

    - Mary kruse

  27. Love your recipe and website! I wanted you to know that I made your coffee cake in mini bundt cake form this past weekend. They turned out great! To make sure there was enough topping, I added a few extra layers of it. Wonderful! And the bake time was about the same.

    - Maren

  28. This coffee cake was excellent. Not too sweet but very good. It was so light and moist. I am going to use the batter recipe to make blueberry muffins. Thanks for sharing.

    - Debbie

  29. I knew soon as I saw the pic of it that this is the coffee cake I grew up with. Everyone who has ever had it says it is the best coffee cake they have ever had. My boyfriends co-workers beg for it! Only difference in the recipe I have is that you can use sour cream OR buttermilk…done it both ways and both are awesome!

    - michele

  30. Made this yesterday, made half the recipe. Big mistake! This is too good, next time I will make the whole recipe.
    Thank you so much.

    - Laura

  31. Absolutely delicious! Gone in minutes……..

    Thanks for sharing a great recipe.

    - AGS

  32. I just realized that I have to take a coffeecake to church to tomorrow. I am really busy, as are most people about now. I thought of a sour cream coffeecake and looked at a lot of them that I could put together easily since it is now 4:00 p.m., and I have to go do a lot of things tonight. I found this particular sour cream recipe and Ali made it sound so good and easy that I am preheating the oven for it even as we speak. Mary Curtis

    - mary

  33. I made this last week – my whole family loved it! We added a little butter and flour to the topping. Great recipe. Thanks so much.

    - Lori

  34. I make this all the time and it is so good! It makes good cupcake like things too!

    - Haley

  35. made it twice and my family loves it they would die for more! :)

    - Tatiana

  36. Making it today. ;)

    - Amy

  37. This recipe sounds delicious. I am hoping to take it with me on a family vacation. Does it freeze well?

    - Kate

  38. I plan to make this for work Wednesday morning. How does it do in a bundt pan? Thanks!

    - Faith

  39. I just made your sour cream coffee cake this morning and it is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your recipe!

    - Kerri

  40. I love this recipe its perfect! I have also made it with a layer of fresh apples and also have used frozen blueberries. still comes out perfect. thanks so much and love the story:)

    - Tamara

  41. I just have to thank you for posting this recipe. We have made it a gazillion times! We love it so much that it has become a household favorite! It doesn’t last longer then 2 hours in my house!

    - Kathy

  42. I want to thank you for this recipe. I have been looking for the recipe for years. I used to have it in a church cookbook I had but my ex husband had it at his restaurant when we divorced and he refused to give it back to me. I can’t wait to make this recipe for my family again and to have some with my coffee!!!! Thank you , thank you, thank you!!!!

    - Julie

  43. This cake was so incredibly yummy! I made it last night for my co-workers and they all cannot stop raving about it. The best part is that it is so quick and easy. I acually cooked it in a 9×9 pan and had to cook it for an extra 10 minutes but it worked out great. Thanks for sharing!

    - Erica

  44. Needed a coffee cake recipe and saw this on pinterest. I loved it. The sour cream made this coffee cake very moist. My kids and husband ate it all up. Thanks for the recipe!!!!

    - Grace

  45. I’m forwarding this to my mom, who just reported a coffee cake disaster that called for 1 cup of vegetable oil! She’s trying to replicate her coffee cake made from Bisquick. This sounds like a good candidate and I like the idea of adding more topping

    - Mark

  46. This is the exact recipe I ahve been using for a number of years. It IS THE BEST. soooo yummy.

    - Amy H

  47. This is absolutely the best coffee cake ever. We will only be making this recipe in my family from now on. We used 16oz of sour cream instead of the 12oz. The best cake. You go girls.

    - Anna

  48. So glad I googled and found this recipe I had lost which has been a 25 yr favorite of family and friends

    - florence

  49. Stumbled upon this recipe… I halved the recipe and added more cinnamon than the recipe called for, since I’m a huge cinnamon lover. It was SO fluffy right out of the oven, but I think it is even more flavorful the second day, eaten at room temp! MMM!

    - Aimi

  50. I made this a few weeks ago and my family really enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this. It is now in our book. I usually review recipes I have made that have been enjoyed and this is one worth sharing… and always linking back giving credit where credit is due.
    Thank you again.

    - tracie

  51. I just made this! It turned out soooo good. The only downside is now I can’t stop eating it :(

    - jewlie

  52. This is the best every! I tried to make my kids try it but they refuse because the words “sour cream” and “coffee cake”.

    - soffie1223

  53. How is it possible to make a coffee cake that doesn’t contain any coffee? I’m going to try it anyway :)
    I have to make my coffee cakes with decaf coffee, as my family all have an intolerance to caffeine.

    - Lynda

  54. I just made this for Sunday morning breakfast… um, YUM! so good!!!! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definitely be making this one again!!!

    - Betsy

  55. I made this cake for my boyfriend (and of course myself!) the other night, and it was delicious! The addition of sour cream really helps and makes it so moist and yummy!

    - Whitney M

  56. It looks delicious. I’m missing the coffee as an ingredient. Did I miss something or is this correct?
    Love to hear from you about this. And what is baking soda exactly? I’m Dutch and not familiar with this product. We use soda for cleaning.

    I would like to serve this at a picknick and surprise my guest with a real astonishing American recipe..

    Greetz from Holland, Karen

    - karen

    • Hi Karen!

      Thanks so much for your interest in this recipe! Ha, unfortunately, the name “coffee cake” in the United States is a little misleading. The cake doesn’t actually contain coffee, but has that name because it is traditionally served with coffee. But I assure you, it is still absolutely delicious! :)

      Also, I just did a quick Google search, and although it sounds like it can be hard to find, I would ask at your grocery store about baking soda (our main brand in the States is “Arm & Hammer”. If not, a few people online suggested looking at an American or Asian supermarket, or a pharmacy for bicarbonate soda?? Eeks — I don’t want you to take my word on that, so I would recommend asking around.

      Best of luck!!

      - ali

  57. Just made this in a bundt pan and it came out wonderful! The cake is truly so moist. I substituted half the sour cream for plain nonfat greek yogurt and it’s perfect! Thanks for a great recipe.

    - Jocelyn

  58. Yummy!!!

    - london1215

  59. Oh, just Googled it and realised in the States it just means sponge cake with streusel, to be eaten WITH coffee. Sorry, I’m not from there :)

    - Samantha

  60. Looks fantastic, but I’m confused like Cyd- was coffee accidentally left off the ingredients list?

    - Samantha

  61. i just made this – it is SOOOO good! the cake comes out so light and airy .. YUM! I used almonds and absolutely love it. thanks for sharing this recipe!

    - carmen

  62. I stumbled on your website and had to try this recipe this morning. It was a big hit with the whole family. I didn’t have any nuts so I used oats instead and it was perfect. Awesome recipe! Thank you!

    - Amy

  63. This cake was just wonderful! I loved it and will make it again. I only had enough batter for one layer to fit in a 9X13 pan though.

    Thanks for the recipe!!

    - Heidi

  64. I’m sorry, but I don’t see how this is a coffee cake when none of the ingredients are even coffee related? :S

    - Cyd

    • Coffee cake doesn’t necessarily have coffee ingredients…it was originally intended to be eaten along side a cup of coffee or even on a coffee break. Make sense?

      - Kellie

  65. Congrats on the Christmas “creation”! :)
    This looks delish and I can’t wait to make it!

    - kelli

  66. That’s such an adorable picture of you! I remember lots of fun times with my college roommates… Such a fun time. That coffee cake looks incredible, too. Yum!

    - Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction

  67. This looks wonderful and I’d love to have a piece alongside my iced coffee in the morning.

    (Like that Christmas treat too!)

    - Michelle

  68. this came out sooo good. the cake is really tender and moist. i hope it stays that way til tmrw. i think next time i’ll add a crumb topping just for the top.

    - Anna

  69. i just put this in the oven! AHH so excited!

    love your roomate story too! i got lucky with my random freshman yr roomate as well. cheers to great friends!

    - Anna

  70. That picture is so so cute! And that coffee cake looks scrumptious. My mom used to make me coffee cake after really hard Saturday morning swim practices, and I would sit around and eat the whole pan throughout the day.

    - Caitlin (EatFeats)

  71. As one of her current roommates, I can also vouch for this scrumptious recipe! LOVE it!

    - Natalie

  72. Love the picture of you two! Your Christmas dessert looks pretty awesome. As does this coffee cake. I am always a sucker for a good, moist & fluffy coffee cake. This one looks delicious! Yay for breakfast!

    - Megan