My Favorite Sour Cream Coffee Cake

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

This recipe is sponsored by McCormick Spices.

Between my three-and-a-half years of college, three summer internships in between, traveling and playing out with our band on the weekends, and apartment-hopping with friends for years after college — I feel like I lived with a record number of roommates during my twenties.  But one of those roommates was an extra-special kindred spirit:

My friend, Natalie.

She and I lived together during my final semester at our tiny Midwestern college, where I was wrapping up a degree in classical vocal performance (yes, opera) and she was studying the world of non-profit management.  And while our worlds looked very different during the days, there was one thing we both looked forward to in the evenings — cooking together.  And specifically — cooking together for friends.

Both of us were just learning how to cook at the time, and our repertoires were pretty limited.  But the good news about learning how to cook in college is that there were always plenty of hungry and willing taste-testers nearby, our other roommates being two of them.  I was the expert in the house on how to make egg drop soup and pasta galore (which we loved to toss on the ceiling back then to see if it was done ?).  And Nat was the expert on casseroles and desserts and all things “comfort food” (for which she credited her small-town Kansas roots).  We had so much fun together that year experimenting and feeding our friends all of our hits (and definitely a few “misses”).  But without a doubt, my most delicious take-away from that year was learning Natalie’s recipe for how to make the most amazing sour cream coffee cake.

Oh my goodness, you guys.  This coffee cake.

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

Many of you already experienced how life-changing this coffee cake can be, since this was actually one of the very first recipes I shared on the blog back in 2010.  But when I made it again recently, I realized how far down it was now buried in the recipe archives and that too few of you seemed to know it existed.  So for a bit of a #ThrowbackThursday post, I thought I would bring it back to the front page of the blog again to share with you.

Because if you love some good ol’ fashioned coffee cake, I’m telling you, this recipe is the absolute best.

And it also happens to be incredibly easy.  (<– Trust me, if we could make it back in those days, anyone can make it.)  ?

Just mix up a simple sour cream cake batter…

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

…and then whisk together a simple cinnamon-sugar topping.  (I used McCormick Ground Cinnamon, which has been doing good work in my kitchen this holiday season.  I’ve already gone through two bottles!  ?)
This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

Then you just layer half of the cake batter in a baking dish, sprinkle on half of the cinnamon-sugar mixture, repeat with the remaining cake batter, repeat with the cinnamon-sugar…and then bake to delicious perfection.

(Pro tip on the batter-spreading though: Since the batter is fairly sticky, it can be a little difficult to spread.  So I recommend adding it to the pan in small clumps, then spreading it around with a rubber spatula until smooth and even.  And if the batter is sticking to your rubber spatula too much, just spray it with some cooking spray!)

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

Then, if you’re really feeling indulgent, you probably should go ahead and drizzle on a quick and easy glaze.   I mean, you definitely should.
This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

Then, this gorgeous coffee cake will be ready to serve and enjoy.  (And yes, that yummy line of cinnamon sugar baked into the middle of the cake is the best.)

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is easy to make, perfectly soft and moist, and filled with the BEST cinnamon-y sweet flavors. It's the perfect sweet treat for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. |

Seriously, I’ve made this coffee cake recipe dozens and dozens of times since college, and it never gets old.  And it’s always a crowd favorite.

And I love that every time I make it, I’ll always think of Natalie.  ?  Thanks for the good memories and good recipe, sweet friend!

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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


Coffee Cake Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounce) reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon McCormick Vanilla Extract, homemade or store-bought

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons McCormick Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Optional Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 teaspoons milk


To Make The Coffee Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray, set aside.  Prepare the cinnamon-sugar topping (see below), set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and add the eggs to the mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add half of the dry ingredients 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.
  4. Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking pan, and spread it around so that it covers the bottom of the pan in an even layer.  Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-sugar topping evenly on top. Spread the remainder of the batter on top in an even layer (<– although note that the batter will be sticky and difficult to spread, so I recommend adding with a spoon in little clumps, and then use a rubber spatula to help spread it out in an even layer).  Sprinkle the remaining cinnamon-sugar topping evenly on top.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.  Remove from the oven, then drizzle with the glaze if desired (see below).
  6. Serve warm.  Or let the cake cool to room temperature, then cover and keep for up to 3 days.

To Make The Cinnamon-Sugar Topping:

  1. Whisk all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl until combined.

To Make The Glaze:

  1. Whisk powdered sugar and milk together until smooth.  Add more milk if you’d like to thin out the glaze, or more powdered sugar if you’d like to thicken it.

Recipe from my friend Natalie.

All images and text ©

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

This post was sponsored by McCormick Spices, maker of the yummy ground cinnamon used in this recipe.  Thank you for continuing to support the brands I love who help make this site possible!  

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239 comments on “My Favorite Sour Cream Coffee Cake”

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  17. 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.

  18. 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.

    • 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 : )

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  21. 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.

  22. 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!  

  23. 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!

  24. 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

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

  25. 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!

    • 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. :)

  26. 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!

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  28. Delicious. Thank you!!

  29. Can this be made the night before by preparing the wet and dry ingredients separately, storing and then combining in the morning? Thanks!

    • Hi Sarah, you can definitely prepare the dry ingredients in advance, but we wouldn’t recommend prepping the wet ingredients in advance. We hope you enjoy this!

  30. I’m excited  to bring this to tomorrow’s Sunday’ church service. My house smells like Christmas. 

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  33. Can this cake be frozen?

  34. Hi I would like to make this cake but I got confused why it’s called sour cream coffee cake ? Do we have to add coffee to the ingredients? Thanks

    • Hi there, we’re sorry for the confusion! This cake doesn’t have coffee in it, but is called a “coffee cake” because of the style of cake it is (excellent for enjoying alongside a nice cup of coffee). :) Here’s a little backstory on the origin of the “coffee cake”

  35. Made this cake 2 days ago. SOOOOO good, it’s more then half gone. Gave some to my neighbor too! A recipe keeper for sure!! 

  36. I used to make this coffee cake for my boyfriend in high school and that was 50 years ago!  Same recipe, I was so thrilled to find it.  Cake is in the oven ask we speak.  Good recipes never die, sometimes they just fade away.  But always return.  P.S.  I married him 42 years ago.  Must have been the cake!

  37. I made this to use up leftover sour cream and added chocolate chips to increase the decadence! Absolutely delicious and very easy. I will definitely make this again

    • Thanks for sharing Kelly — we’re so glad you enjoyed it! And extra chocolate chips are never a bad thing. :D

  38. This is the coffee cake recipe I have been looking for! Light, moist, SO delicious.  Only thing I did differently was add a tiny bit of cardomom to the topping mixture the second time, which we all decided was a keeper. Thanks for this! 

    • Thanks, we’re so happy you loved this! We think that addition of cardamom sounds lovely too. :)

  39. You didnt mention coffee in the whole recipe .when n how much to add?

    • Hi there! Coffee cakes typically don’t have coffee in them (despite their name). They’re just historically called “coffee cakes” because they are usually enjoyed with a cup of coffee. :)

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  41. Thanks for a great recipe! Made it for my family and it turned out perfect. Best of all, they loved it! This will be made again. Cheers

    • You’re welcome Lindsay — we’re happy you and your family enjoyed it!

  42. Thank u so much for the recipe . I made it and it’s so good and moist. My kids loved it 

    • You’re welcome Huda — we’re so glad you and your kiddos enjoyed it!

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  44. This was SO good!!!! I used fresh ground soft white wheat for the win!

  45. Hi, there is no coffee in the ingredients so how does the coffee flavour come through please. Thnx Tina

    • Hi Tina — coffee cakes generally don’t have coffee in them (we know, the name is misleading) but historically they’re called coffee cakes because they go so well with coffee. :)

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  49. My whole family loved this and I’m going to make it whenever I need a go to dessert! It was so light and fluffy and not too sweet. My mom even said it was the best coffee cake she ever had and that’s high praise from a very critical lady! Thank u for sharing this!

  50. Made this today for my family.   So easy, moist and delicious!!!  Thank you for sharing.  Will be making this again!