February 9, 2023

Paris Crepe 80903

Do It With Food

The Best Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Made with a soft, tender cake that is studded with a rich cinnamon swirl and then finished with a buttery streusel, this Sour Cream Coffee Cake is perfect for entertaining at brunch or during the holidays.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake is the perfect touch to a festive brunch when served alongside Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole, fruit salad, and Baked Bacon. Of course, don’t forget the coffee–or better yet, Homemade Lattes.

Piece of coffee cake on plate next to baked cake.

Coffee Cake is one of those recipes whose origin is quite curious, as it is not made with coffee, nor is this cake thought of as a dessert.

Instead, it is designed to be served at breakfast or brunch with a cup of coffee, hence the name coffee cake.

While there are many variations of coffee cakes out there, I do humbly believe that this recipe is the absolute best. And I feel like I can say that without bragging because this recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake was shared with me decades ago by a family friend.

It is rich, buttery, and full of cinnamon, yet light and tender. It is one coffee cake recipe that people will beg you to make again and again.

What Makes this the Best Coffee Cake Recipe

Sour Cream Coffee Cake is the absolute best version of coffee cake, for a few key reasons.

  • Sour Cream. You may have guessed that Sour Cream Coffee Cake is made with sour cream. The sour cream, which is folded into the cake batter, keeps the cake light and fluffy while giving it a bit of tang that balances out the sweetness.
  • Cinnamon Swirl. The cake is baked around a cinnamon brown sugar mixture that adds a delicious and beautiful rich swirl throughout the cake. This swirl adds warmth and cinnamon flavor to every bite.
  • Buttery Streusel. While most coffee cakes feature streusels, this recipe has streusel overload and that is a good thing! The texture and flavor that the buttery crumble adds to this coffee cake are insanely delicious. In fact, you will never see a crumb of it left behind on my plate! I am sure to lick the plate clean–even when entertaining, it is just that good!

Notes on Ingredients

Labeled Ingredients for Sour Cream Coffee Cake.
  • Butter: Butter is key to adding flavor and richness to both the cake and the streusel. Just be sure to use unsalted butter for both the cake batter and the streusel, not salted butter. This will allow you to control the level of salt in the overall recipe.
  • Sour Cream: The sour cream adds moistness and tang to the cake batter. Be sure to use full-fat or reduced-fat sour cream, not fat-free as the consistency of the cake may be affected.
  • Sugar: This recipe calls for both brown and granulated sugars. The brown sugar adds warmth and color to the cinnamon swirl and the streusel, while the granulated sugar is best suited for the cake batter.
  • Nuts: If desired, add chopped pecans or walnuts to the streusel topping for additional crunch and texture. Feel free to omit the nuts if desired though, and this cake will still be plenty delicious.

How to Make Sour Cream Coffee Cake

  • Prepare the cinnamon swirl filling. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. We need to add a bit of flour to the cinnamon filling or else it would be completely absorbed into the cake batter, resulting in no distinctive swirl. Then set it aside for assembling the cake.
  • Prepare the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until evenly combined. If using chopped nuts, mix them into this mixture and toss to coat. Add in the cold cubed butter, and using your hands, combine the mixture until crumbs form and the butter is well distributed through the flour and sugar. Set aside for assembling the cake.
Streusel with nuts in mixng bowl.
  • Cream the butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
  • Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and then add that mixture to the wet ingredients using a spatula. Fold the mixture together until it is just combined.
Sour cream coffee cake batter in mixing bowl.
  • Layer the cake batter. Spoon half of the cake batter into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling evenly over the batter to form that cinnamon swirl. a
Cinnamon Sugar Layer sprinkled over coffee cake batter.
  • Add remaining batter. Spoon the remaining batter in dollops evenly over the filling and gently smooth it out into an even layer.
  • Add the streusel. Evenly sprinkle the streusel mixture over the top of the cake batter.
Assembled unbaked coffee cake.
  • Bake the Coffee Cake. Bake until the cake is set, checking after 30 minutes to see if you need to cover the cake with foil so that the streusel does not burn.
Coffee Cake with Streusel in baking dish.
  • Cool. Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes on a cooling rack before slicing and serving.
Spatula removing slice of coffee cake from pan.

Storing Coffee Cake

Once the coffee cake is fully cooled, you can store it for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped well with plastic wrap.

If you would like to freeze the leftover coffee cake, allow the cake to cool fully. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap, then in a layer of foil, and then place it in a freezer-safe bag. This triple layer of wrap will help prevent the cake from becoming freezer burned. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator and if desired, warm individual slices in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.

More Delicious Brunch Recipes

As I shared, coffee cake is designed to be served at breakfast or brunch and makes a delicious accompaniment to any of the following recipes.

If you enjoyed this recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake, I would love for you to leave a review and a comment below.

Slice of sour cream coffee cake on spatula.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Made with a soft, tender cake that is studded with a rich cinnamon swirl and then finished with a buttery streusel, this coffee cake is perfect for entertaining at brunch or the holidays.