Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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

This is my all-time favorite sour cream coffee cake. It's decadent, and so delicious.


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)



  1. In a mixer, cream together butter and sugar. Add eggs to the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the sour cream and vanilla. Mix until combined.
  4. 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.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

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!)  :)

Leave a Comment:


  1. Cathy — May 13, 2013 @ 6:29 pm (#)

    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!

  2. AJ — June 8, 2013 @ 1:19 pm (#)

    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. :)

  3. Linda — July 12, 2013 @ 10:14 am (#)

    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!!

  4. Samantha — October 7, 2013 @ 12:04 am (#)

    Ali, why did you have to give up running?

  5. Chloe — October 12, 2013 @ 10:39 am (#)

    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

  6. Clara Brown — October 31, 2013 @ 8:39 am (#)

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

  7. Maria — November 9, 2013 @ 1:23 am (#)

    I dont see any coffee in the recipe

    • Donna — March 23, 2014 @ 7:13 am (#)

      Coffee cakes don’t normally have coffee in them. They call it a coffee cake because it’s something you can have with a cup of coffee. I’m hoping you were just being sarcastic. haha

    • Safi — March 26, 2014 @ 12:04 pm (#)

      There is no coffee in coffee cake!

  8. elaine — December 6, 2013 @ 3:36 pm (#)

    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!!!!

  9. John Carman — December 11, 2013 @ 12:42 am (#)

    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

  10. Kellie E — December 15, 2013 @ 10:57 am (#)

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

  11. Earl — December 23, 2013 @ 10:30 pm (#)

    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…

  12. Hillary — December 28, 2013 @ 9:20 am (#)

    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!

  13. Melly — December 29, 2013 @ 10:35 am (#)

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

  14. Jill Simmons — January 25, 2014 @ 3:41 pm (#)

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

  15. Ellie Goldberg — January 27, 2014 @ 4:43 pm (#)

    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!

  16. Sierra — February 26, 2014 @ 12:50 pm (#)

    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!

    • Ali — April 5, 2014 @ 9:37 am (#)

      You could definitely sub in Greek yogurt. I have not tried whole fat yogurt.


  17. Julie — March 2, 2014 @ 12:35 pm (#)

    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!

  18. Phill — March 8, 2014 @ 11:44 am (#)

    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.

  19. Dorothy Wimbush — March 14, 2014 @ 9:55 pm (#)

    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 .

  20. Donna — March 23, 2014 @ 7:16 am (#)

    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.

  21. Nicole — April 30, 2014 @ 7:30 pm (#)

    Can I use gluten free flour?

    • Ali — July 18, 2014 @ 4:53 pm (#)

      Actually, the cake will not turn out well when baked with GF flour. I’m working on a GF alternative, though! :)

  22. Kaitlin — June 1, 2014 @ 9:05 pm (#)

    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?

  23. Brandie — October 10, 2014 @ 5:15 pm (#)

    The recipe is gone… I can see a couple photos and the story behind the coffee cake but cannot see the recipe. Is there something I should click on or is it removed for a reason?

    • Ali — October 10, 2014 @ 5:28 pm (#)

      Oh no! So sorry, we’re having technical difficulties today. I will look into it right now!

  24. Karly — October 12, 2014 @ 7:59 am (#)

    Delish!! Just made this morning. I didn’t have enough sour cream so I subbed half of it with a container of blueberry greek yogurt.  Perfect hint of blueberry flavor.  Thanks for a great recipe. 

  25. carolyn — March 1, 2015 @ 11:08 am (#)

    I got this same recipe from my mother-in-law. It is a Christmas morning tradition but we melt a half a stick of butter in one cup of Orange juice, poke holes in cake with a fork then  pour it over cake.

  26. cookinggrammy — March 15, 2015 @ 2:28 pm (#)

    I just made this wonderful sour cream coffee cake that you and a school buddy had made while presumably in college. This is one of the best ,easiest ,moist ones I have made in a long time. I did have a recipe from aunt Jemima but lost it. I did tweak this a little by using vanilla bean Greek yogurt in place of sour cream as I didn’t want to go to the store before making it. I do find a hint of vanilla but used almond extract instead of vanilla to tone down the content. My family will be so happy in the morning when I give them this for their on the go breakfast with some sausage links. I have to make things that they can take with them as they don’t have time to sit and eat. thank you for this recipe and I have added it to my permanent recipe list.

    • Ali — March 17, 2015 @ 9:31 pm (#)

      Thanks so much, I’m really happy to hear that, what a nice compliment! And I love your idea of using the vanilla bean Greek yogurt, I’ll have to give that a try! Cheers : )

  27. JustLookAtTheFlowers — May 17, 2015 @ 7:32 pm (#)

    This turned out great. I was looking for a good recipe to use up some, ahem, very expired but unopened sour cream.  I love the texture of the cake – moist, light, and the brown sugar mixture in between layers gave a nice, subtle crunch.  Will definitely make again.

    • Ali — May 18, 2015 @ 7:18 am (#)

      Thank you, so glad you enjoyed it! : )

  28. Teri — May 24, 2015 @ 9:45 am (#)

    Made this coffee cake yesterday and tweaked it ever so slightly by adding a bit more cinnamon and an extra bit of vanilla extract. It is delicious & my husband loves it.  This will definitely make a “repeat performance” at my house! Yum! Thank you Ali!  

    • Ali — May 25, 2015 @ 8:17 am (#)

      So happy to hear that, Teri! : D

  29. Maria LoRusso — May 30, 2015 @ 5:32 pm (#)

    I have made this recipe many times.  It is delicious.  Moist and tender.  I cut down the total sugar by about a 1/4 cup, two tablespoons less in batter and two less in toppings and I add a 1/4 tsp of nutmeg in the topping.    It is a great recipe!

    • Ali — June 1, 2015 @ 9:53 am (#)

      Thank you, Maria, so glad you like it! : )

  30. Franca — July 18, 2015 @ 3:22 pm (#)

    This was by far one of the easiest and delicious cake recipes I have ever made. I am no baker and don’t bake often. My family of 3 ate the cake two days. I have never received sooio many compliments. Thanks for sharing

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — July 19, 2015 @ 11:36 am (#)

      Thank you Franca, that’s so sweet! We’re really happy you and your family enjoyed this!

  31. Pierrette — September 3, 2015 @ 4:15 pm (#)

    Thanks SO MUCH for sharing this recipe! Simple, delicious and elegant😊. I just wanted to tell everyone I’ve made this recipe about six time and have always followed it to the letter and have always been pleased with the results. I was trying to do too many things at once while making it today and neglected to cream the butter and sugar first (I mistakenly mixed ALL the dry ingredient together – duh). Well I decided to just dump the rest of the ingredients into the bowl (minus the topping) and see what happened. The batter seemed to be stickier than usual so I threw in 1/2 cup of heavy cream to loosen it up. I popped it in the oven an VOILA…perfect coffee cake. So not only is it good, its idiot proof!😜 Thanks again for sharing!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 7, 2015 @ 1:41 pm (#)

      You’re very welcome, we’re so happy you enjoyed this! And oh no, we’ve totally made that same mistake before! We’re glad you were able to fix it, and that it still turned out so well! Good to know. :)

  32. kero — September 7, 2015 @ 12:21 pm (#)

    So yummy! Subbed coconut oil for the butter (mostly motivated by not wanting to wait for the butter to come to room temp) and, because my family doesn’t usually do overly sweet, omitted the topping. Came out really good — lightly sweet and not too dense. I imagine in this way it would be great with some whipped cream and/or a compote. Perfect for a sweet snack on its own and so easy to whip together! Thank you!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — September 8, 2015 @ 8:55 am (#)

      Yay, we’re glad to hear that! Now we totally want to try this with coconut oil! :D


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