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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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My favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe is perfectly soft and fluffy, layered with cinnamon sugar, and always so delicious.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

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!

Layering the batter to make homemade coffee cake

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.

Homemade Coffee Cake in Baking Pan

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!

Slice of sour cream coffee cake

More Sweet Breakfast Treats

Looking for more yummy breakfast baked goods to try? Here are a few of my faves:

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 15 servings 1x

Description

My all-time favorite sour cream coffee cake recipe is perfectly soft and fluffy, layered with cinnamon sugar, and always so delicious.


Ingredients

Scale

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)

Optional Glaze:

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

Instructions

  1. Prep the oven and baking dish. Heat oven to 350°F. Mist a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. Set aside.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Serve. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the warm coffee cake. Slice, serve and enjoy!

Notes

Recipe source: Recipe from my good friend, Natalie.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Fork

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285 comments on “Sour Cream Coffee Cake”

  1. This reminds me of an old recipe of my mom’s from the 60’s, called Merk’s Coffee Cake — one of my all-time favorites. It was done in a bundt pan, which looked lovely with the middle layer of goodness.

  2. Nothing beats cinnamon and sugar…and cake! Thanks for this awesome recipe, can’t wait to make it!

  3. Perfect! Going to make it for Christmas morning….best thing about it….I do t have to go to the grocery!!

  4. Hi,
    Can we substitute greek yogourt instead of sour cream ,
    thank ypu for all your wonderful recipes
    Nathalie

  5. Awww that is almost my grandma’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe!! I know what I’m making for Christmas morning!! Thanks for the reminder of this scrumptious cake! 

  6. Yummy, tyty ty from across the wide seas in Australia.

  7. mmm, I adore a good coffee cake. That is my ideal weekend breakfast!

  8. Savor a classic! A brown sugar, nut and spice filling is layered and baked in a rich sour cream coffee cake .

  9. Looks delicious!!! Happy New Year! :)

  10. This looks so perfect! A great brunch recipe for the New Year! 

  11. Can you use regular sour cream or does it have to be reduced fat sour cream?

  12. Just made this cake for Christmas and it was a runaway hit! Everyone was asking when I will be making it again!

    One note, when I was making the cake I noticed the recipe calls for vanilla extract in the ingredients, but there are no directions to actually add it to the mix!

    P.S.I have been making something from your blog every week since I stumbled onto it a few months ago, and have been impressed every single time. Thanks so much for sharing! 

    • Thanks for sharing, Taylor — we’re so glad it was a hit! And oops, we’re sorry about that, thanks for letting us know — we will edit the recipe!

  13. Just put this in he oven, and as I as cleaning up I realized I never used the vanilla. It’s in the ingredient list but not the directions.. When was it supposed to go in?

    • Hi Abby! We’re so sorry about that, we realized we mistakenly left it out of the instructions. It’s since been edited (you add it when you add the eggs). We hope you still enjoyed it!

  14. This is a great recipe – just made it yesterday for a small New Year’s brunch.  Added about a tablespoon of milk to the batter to thin it a little bit.  I don’t have a 9×13 pan so used a deep dish 9 inch pie plate instead and baked it for about 40 minutes.  Came out great and Ididn’t use icing.  Thanks!

  15. This looks absolutely divine. I love cakes with sour cream. Such a wonderful texture. That top layer of cinnamon sugar looks like it formed the perfect crunchy crust to go with the cake too. Probably going to have to make this now. I’ve been thinking about it too much. Thanks for the post.

    Cheers,
    Jason

  16. Hey Ali, 
    Congrats on your engagement, your fiancé is a very lucky man. I just made your sour cream coffee cake recipe and noticed that in your ingredient list there is vanilla listed, but it isn’t mentioned in the directions. Thanks for the tip of spraying the spatula with cooking spray, it made the sticky task much simpler. I also have a tip for you regarding brown sugar ; simply seal the bag with a twist tie, and then put it into a large zip-lick storage bag, no more dried out sugar. But you probably already knew about that one. Looking forward to sharing the coffee cake with my family tonight. Thanks for the great recipes, Dave.

    • Hi Dave! Oops, thanks for catching that for us, we just edited it (you add the vanilla when you add the eggs)! And we hope you and your family enjoyed the cake! :)

  17. This looks absolutely divine. I love cakes with sour cream. Such a wonderful texture. That top layer of cinnamon sugar looks like it formed the perfect crunchy crust to go with the cake too.

  18. It is wonderful, Give me one
    Thank you so much

  19. could i swap whole wheat flour (in place of regular flour) and 1/2 cup room temp coconut oil for butter? thanks!

    • Hi Jill! We think you could definitely do coconut oil instead of butter, but we would be hesitant about using all whole wheat flour for this (if you do, use white whole wheat flour), but we think a combination of whole wheat and ap flour would work best (otherwise it’ll be really dense and possibly a little on the dry side). We would suggest trying a cup of each, or doing 1 1/2 cups ap and 1/2 cup of whole wheat. We hope this is helpful and that you enjoy the coffee cake!

  20. This looks delicious. I don’t have a mixer; if I mix by hand will it still turn out?

    • Thanks, Andrea! You really want to use a mixer for this, to cream the butter and sugar together really well. A hand mixer works just fine though. If you can’t get one, perhaps you could borrow one from a friend? Anyway, we hope you can try this sometime! :)

  21. I made it and it is so tasty!!!

  22. I did this cake today and it is very good. Soft, delicate. I have put a little less sugar ( 3 tbs less) and didn’t do the glaze. I recommend to try , it is easy and very good. Thank you for sharing . ???

    • Thanks for sharing with us, Joanna — we’re so glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  23. Thank you for this perfect recipe! I have made your Sour Cream Coffee Cake for my family as well as friends and I get the same reaction from everyone who has tasted it….”I love it, its the best coffee cake Ive ever had”, and I agree. This is wonderful so go ahead and make it, I promise you will be HAPPY you did!

  24. Totally yummy! Got many compliments when I brought it to a family gathering. I didn’t have sour cream so I used plain fat-free Greek yogurt. And no nuts because, unfortunately, my husband doesn’t like them, though I do. I’ve been baking for many years. This recipe is going in my file box of favorites!

  25. Forgot to mention a suggestion: Spreading thick batters in pans is sometimes easier if you grease the pan with solid shortening. The sprays can be so darn slippery, especially if you use too much! I also found it helpful to press the cinnamon layer down with the back of a spoon to coax the batter into the corners of the pan.

  26. This was delicious! I don’t bake much so I was happy to make use this simple recipe and end up with great results.

  27. Did make as directed.Came out as promised.Wonderul cake.Not too sweer and a flavourful hint of the spice and sugars.Definately a 5Plus cake.

    • That’s great, Pat, we’re so glad to hear it turned out nicely for you!

  28. looking so delicious.. it must be sweet, gonna save the recipe, so i can make it someday with my family :)

  29. Made this today because I was craving something sweet with my coffee– YUM! I didn’t have any sour cream so I substituted plain yogurt and it turned out delicious.

  30. Very excited to try this recipe. Do you think the proportions will work if I half it exactly? My husband and I just don’t need the whole thing!

  31. I just made this and it really is very nice. It looks lovely and tastes delicious. Very light and fluffy and just the right sweetness .

  32. Plan to make this today. I love the look of coffee cakes in a Bundt pan. Will it turn out as good if I use one with this recipe?
    P.S. I love your blog and have made oodles of your recipes.

  33. I first made this a few years ago and it has become a family favorite! Made it today and just enjoyed a piece! I love the white baking dish in your picture. What make is it? Thanks for a great recipe!

  34. I first made this a few years ago and it has become a family favorite! I love the white baking dish in your picture. What make is it? I’d love to get one! Thanks for a great recipe!

  35. Very easy to make and super moist and yummy!

  36. For anyone who cares: I made this recipe gluten-free and it turned out unbelievably well. I have no problems with gluten, but I ran out of all-purpose, so mixed up my own gluten-free mix and used it! If anyone wants precise measurements, let me know! Thanks!

  37. oh! and I used FULL FAT sour cream because…less fat is dumb. No offense :)

  38. Love love LOVE this recipe. It’s a hit at parties!! At first I’m nervous there’s not going to be enough flavor, but WOW is it great. Super moist, and glaze in mandatory in my house. ;)

  39. I do a lot of baking and this is one of my new favorites. Simple and delicious. Thank you for this terrific recipe.

  40. I’ve made tbis several times now, and it has become a favourite. One of the times, quite by accident, I made a wonderful discovery. I had taken two big slabs of the cake to work to have as a snack with coffee at my desk, only it was someone’s birthday with cake and snacks and then we had a lunch meeting, so my cake was forgotten in my bag until the next day. Instead of being worse for wear, it had become even lovelier from being in the sandwich bag! All soft and even more delicious that it had already been! Since then, I have tried to recreate the sandwich bag technique but the cake hasn’t lasted long enough to try it again haha. I’ll have to make two next time.

  41. Thanks for such an absolutely delicious coffee cake recipe! I have made this many times, always to rave reviews. In our home, the chopped pecans are a must, as is the glaze, which I make with real maple syrup instead of milk. These just send it over the top in our book.

  42. Hi. I’ve made this several times and it’s always a hit. But this time I’m making it for a tailgate brunch. Could this be baked Into muffin tins? How would you adjust the time and temperature of baking?

  43. This recipe was great! But make sure you read the instructions carefully. When the directions said to fold in half the sour cream, I though it said eat half the batter. I will let you know eating this both raw and cooked is damn delicious. FYI I had to adjust my pan size and cooking time. Merry Christmas everyone.

  44. Ohhhh My Word… This is the BEST coffee cake I’ve ever tasted. It is so light & fluffy. The stripe of cinnamon/sugar in the middle is devine. The topping is crisp g YuMmY ?. This recipe is a keeper. Thanks so much for sharing this with me and all the others.. I will be making this quite often.. I think next time I’ll try it in my bundt pan.

  45. Made this for my family this evening on a whim. While I used whole wheat flour it was absolutely amazing! Everyone loved it!

  46. I’m not a cake person but made this for my family. It was a hit. Made it a second time and again rave reviews with colleagues as well. Absolutely loved it.

  47. Looks amazing. I added raisins in the middle and almonds in the topping mix.

  48. I have been experimenting with coffee cake recipes as I need to take several coffee cakes to an important social event brunch.. I tried this one and fell in love with it. I made it exactly as written, but I did make one change. I love streusel topping so I DOUBLED the topping mix. Yummmmm !!!! My coffee cake turned out so moist and with a lot of topping! I served it warm….a big hit with my taste-testing group! This is my new go-to coffee cake recipe!

  49. Was absolutely fantastic

  50. SOOOO GOOD!! Perfect moist center with a nice crumbly top. Also very easy to make! Thankyou for this recipe, it’s definitely kids and boyfriend approved :)