My favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe is perfectly soft and fluffy, layered with cinnamon sugar, and always so delicious.
I realized the other day that it has been two decades since my college roommate, Natalie, first taught me how to make her family’s famous sour cream coffee cake. No idea how that’s even possible, because it feels like just yesterday that we were baking up a storm together in our tiny college kitchen. But all of these years later — and countless batches of coffee cake later — I have to say that this nostalgic recipe remains one of our family’s all-time favorites. ♡
It features a simple batter made with basic pantry ingredients and reduced-fat sour cream, whose tangy flavor perfectly balances the sweetness here and helps the cake bake up to be incredibly moist. Then in between the layers of cake, we’ll add in a crunchy sprinkling of cinnamon sugar (plus some chopped nuts, if you’d like). And then for one final layer of indulgence, I always love drizzling a quick 2-ingredient glaze on top. This cake is guaranteed to make your home smell absolutely heavenly as it’s baking up in the oven. And once it’s sliced served up nice and warm with a hot cup of coffee on a lazy weekend morning, well, I don’t know if there’s a more delicious way to start the day.
Let’s bake up some coffee cake together, friends!
Sour Cream Coffee Cake Ingredients
Here are a few notes about the sour cream coffee cake ingredients that you will need to make this recipe. (Also, for anyone who may be new to coffee cake, there is no actual coffee included in the recipe. It’s a cake intended to be served with a hot cup of coffee. ♡)
Butter: This recipe calls for one stick (1/2 cup) of unsalted butter. But if you only have salted butter on hand, no worries, just reduce the amount of salt to 1/4 teaspoon.
Sugar and flour: We will use basic granulated white sugar and all-purpose flour in the cake batter.
Baking soda and baking powder: We use both baking soda and baking powder as leavening agents.
Eggs: Two eggs serve to help bind the cake batter together.
Salt: I wrote this recipe using fine sea salt, which is what I always use in my kitchen. If you only have iodized table salt on hand, note that you will need to reduce the amount of salt by half.
Sour cream: I’ve always made this homemade coffee cake recipe using reduced-fat sour cream, but full-fat sour cream would work just fine too.
Vanilla extract: We will add in some vanilla extract (either homemade or store-bought) to warm up the flavor of the cake.
Brown sugar topping: A simple mix of granulated white sugar, brown sugar and ground cinnamon will serve as our filling and topping for the cake. Feel free to mix in some chopped walnuts or pecans if you’d like too.
(Optional) Glaze: Finally, if you feel like drizzling a quick glaze on top of the cake for an extra touch of sweetness, just whisk together some powdered sugar and milk until combined.
How To Make Coffee Cake
Full instructions for how to make coffee cake are detailed in the recipe below, but here are a few extra tips that may be helpful too:
Divide the cinnamon filling. Rather than eyeballing cinnamon sugar mixture to divide it, I always just measure out a quick 1/4 cup of the filling to ensure that there will be equal amounts for the two layers.
Add the second layer of batter by spoonfuls. This batter is quite thick and can be a bit unwieldy to spread over the cinnamon sugar filling to form the second layer. So I always recommend spooning it in small clumps over the cinnamon sugar and then gently spreading it into an even layer with a spatula or a knife. This works much better than adding the batter in one big blob. Although no worries if your second layer of batter isn’t perfectly even…it will still be delicious!
Enjoy warm. This coffee cake recipe will hold up well for a handful of days, but I just have to say that it is especially heavenly served warm out of the oven with a cup of coffee. Highly recommend cutting yourself a warm slice!
More Sweet Breakfast Treats
Looking for more yummy breakfast baked goods to try? Here are a few of my faves:
My all-time favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe is perfectly soft and fluffy, layered with cinnamon sugar, and always so delicious.
Coffee Cake Ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Cinnamon-Sugar Topping Ingredients:
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons milk
Prep the oven and baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Mix the dry ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
Mix the batter. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and granulated white sugar on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs to the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add half of the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix on medium-low speed until just combined. Add in half of the sour cream and mix until combined. Repeat with the remaining half of the dry ingredients mixture, followed by the remaining sour cream, mixing until combined.
Prep the cinnamon-sugar topping. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the granulated white sugar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon and nuts (if using) until combined.
Layer the batter. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan and spread it in an even layer. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar topping evenly on top of the batter. Add the remaining batter by spoonfuls evenly on top of the cinnamon-sugar topping (this makes it more easy to spread), then gently spread the batter out into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar topping evenly on top of the batter.
Bake. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the baking dish to a wire rack and let it cool for at least 10-15 minutes before serving.
Make the glaze. Meanwhile, if you would like to use a glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and 1 teaspoon milk together until combined. Add an extra teaspoon of milk if needed to thin the glaze to a drizzle-able consistency. Or if it seems too thin, add extra powdered sugar.
Serve. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the warm coffee cake. Slice, serve and enjoy!
Recipe source: Recipe from my good friend, Natalie.
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!
To me it is easier to put all the batter in the pan, spread the topping on it, then cut the topping in with a knife.
As one of her current roommates, I can also vouch for this scrumptious recipe! LOVE it!
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.
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!
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.
This looks wonderful and I’d love to have a piece alongside my iced coffee in the morning.
(Like that Christmas treat too!)
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!
Thanks, Jen!! :)
Congrats on the Christmas “creation”! :)
This looks delish and I can’t wait to make it!
I’m sorry, but I don’t see how this is a coffee cake when none of the ingredients are even coffee related? :S
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?
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!!
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!
Thanks, Amy!! Oooh – oats sound like a great addition. So glad your family enjoyed it!
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!
Thanks, Carmen! So glad you enjoyed it! :)
Looks fantastic, but I’m confused like Cyd- was coffee accidentally left off the ingredients list?
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 :)
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.
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
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!!
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!
I just made this for Sunday morning breakfast… um, YUM! so good!!!! Thanks for the recipe, I’ll definitely be making this one again!!!
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.
Coffee cake simply means it goes good with your coffee!
This is the best every! I tried to make my kids try it but they refuse because the words “sour cream” and “coffee cake”.
Try remaming for the kids. Cinnamon sugar cake will chang their minds.
I just made this! It turned out soooo good. The only downside is now I can’t stop eating it :(
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.
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!
So glad I googled and found this recipe I had lost which has been a 25 yr favorite of family and friends
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.
This is the exact recipe I ahve been using for a number of years. It IS THE BEST. soooo yummy.
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
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!!!!
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!
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!!!!
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!
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:)
I just made your sour cream coffee cake this morning and it is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your recipe!
I plan to make this for work Wednesday morning. How does it do in a bundt pan? Thanks!
Hi Faith! Haven’t tried this before in a bundt pan, but imagine they would do well! Would love to hear how it goes! :)
This recipe sounds delicious. I am hoping to take it with me on a family vacation. Does it freeze well?
Making it today. ;)
made it twice and my family loves it they would die for more! :)
I make this all the time and it is so good! It makes good cupcake like things too!
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.
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
Absolutely delicious! Gone in minutes……..
Thanks for sharing a great recipe.
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.
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!
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.
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.
I have this receipe however in the middle I use fruit.
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.
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 :)
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!