Easy Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

Mary and Brenda Maher

By Brenda & Mary

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You know, I totally get the confusion around the name “coffee cake.” Been there myself!

coffee cake

But there’s actually no coffee in it; it’s just a delicious sweet bread meant to go hand in hand with your morning cup of joe. So, trust me, this recipe for coffee cake is really simple!

Why Everyone Loves Streusel Coffee Cake Recipe

Coffee cake recipe
  • Coffee cake is a perfect blend of sweet and savory! This soft, fluffy dessert with crumbly streusel topping just melts on every tongue. Classic cinnamon and sugar, or maybe jazzed up with blueberries or croissants – there’s a flavor for every taste bud.
  • And talk about versatility; who says it’s for coffee lovers only? The cake pairs beautifully with hot tea, juice, or even a tall glass of milk. Plus, it makes a perfect grab-and-go breakfast or a shared dessert at a potluck with friends. Classic coffee cake: simple, yummy, and always a hit!

How To Make Coffee Cake


Okay, let’s talk about some simple ingredients we need for our coffee cake! 

  • Brown sugar: It’s gotta be moist if we want that perfect crumb topping. You know, the soft kind, not the crunchy stuff!
  • Flour: We are going with all-purpose here since no other flour is stable enough for our heavy crumb layer.
  • Cinnamon: A must-have! I mean, who has a cinnamon crumb dessert without the cinnamon?
  • Butter: Creaming softened butter and sugar is what gives us that awesome cakey texture.
  • Leaveners: Of course, we can’t forget baking soda and baking powder, the ones that help the cake rise like a charm.
  • Salt: A pinch of salt will boost the flavors.
  • Granulated sugar: It must be creamed together with the butter to form the base of our cake batter.
  • Eggs: These guys are next on the list. They bind everything together and turn our cake rich and tender.
  • Vanilla: Got any vanilla extract lying around in the kitchen? This is the perfect time to use it!
  • Sour cream: Just like in any other vanilla cake, sour cream makes our coffee cake incredibly lush.
  • Milk: And finally, a splash of milk. We’ll add just a bit to thin the batter out (so we can easily spread it onto the pan later on).

Simple Steps

Step 1.

Alright, let’s get our coffee cake show on the road! 

First up, preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Grab a pan and grease the pan directly or line it with some greased parchment paper. 

I use an 8” square pan. A 9” square pan will thin out the batter and might not yield the desired luscious mouthfeel. However, a 9” round pan (requires 40 minutes of baking) or a 9×13 pan (calls for 1.5x ingredients) works just fine. It’s all about adjustments, my friends.

Cinnamon Crumb Mixture

Step 2.

Mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a bowl. Grab some chilled butter and cut it in until you’ve got 2 cups of lovely pea-size crumbs (a few bigger ones are fine). Pop this mixture in the fridge while we move on to the next step.

make coffee cake batter


Step 3. 

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a big ol’ bowl. 

coffee cake sour cream

In another medium bowl, cream butter with sugar at high mixer speed until smooth (took me about 1-2 minutes), then toss eggs in with vanilla and stir again at medium-high. Don’t forget to add sour cream and mix it all up until ’til lumpy – yeah, lumpy is good here!

Step 4.

Now, gently add your flour mix to those wet ingredients and give it a good low-speed mix. Then, pour the milk in for one last stir. Don’t go crazy with mixing – we want our batter just right. You should end up with about 2 ½ cups of batter ready to go!

how to make coffee cake

Step 5.

Now comes the fun part of this simple coffee cake recipe! Gently spread about 1/2 of that glorious batter into your pan. Sprinkle about a cup of the crumb mix evenly over the top. 

Carefully layer on your remaining batter – every drop counts! It might get a bit tricky since we are laying thick batter over crumbs but just do your best. A small spoon or offset spatula usually does the trick for me; you don’t have to make it perfect!

Once that layer is on, sprinkle the rest of your crumb mixture over the top.

Step 6.

Pop that bad boy into the oven and let it work its magic for 32 to 38 minutes or ’til your homemade cake is perfectly baked through. Just poke a small toothpick into the middle; you’re good to go when it comes off mostly clean. Let your cake cool in its pan on the wire rack (about 15 minutes).

coffee cake baking


Step 7.

While our cake is cooling, let’s whip up some icing! 

sour cream frosting

Simply whisk together all your icing ingredients until super smooth. After your cake has cooled a bit, drizzle that icing all over it. A coffee aficionado like my hubby? Just switch to the coffee frosting for a stronger caffeine kick!

So, here’s the next tough part: waiting. But trust me, it’s worth it!

coffee cake and cheese frosting


Step 8.

Is the cake cooled enough to handle? Great! Using the parchment paper overhang, lift it out of the pan and slice it into squares. 

But what if you did not use parchment? No worries; just slice it right into your pan. Serve the cake at room temperature, and get ready to bask in some serious compliments from your friends and family!

Coffee cake final
we love coffee cake


1. Don’t go overboard mixing the batter. We want it thick (think thicker than a regular cake mix) and somewhat smooth, though a few lumps here and there are totally cool. 

2. When spreading the top batter layer over the crumbs, I usually grab a greased metal or silicone offset spatula. It helps me glide over the middle layer without messing it up!

3. About our crumb topping – don’t even think about ditching the butter. Trust me, it’s the secret sauce for the best results; margarine or any other substitute just won’t do the trick.

4. Is your streusel getting toasty too soon? No need to freak out. Just grab some foil, loosely tent your pan, and slide the cake down to the slightly lower part of your oven. Crisis averted!

5. Now, onto some ingredient swaps:

  • Sour cream running low? Whole milk, plain milk, or Greek yogurt will save the day. 
  • You can go light or dark for brown sugar – whatever tickles your taste buds. But if you’re fresh out, mix a cup of granulated sugar with a tablespoon of molasses, and voila!
  • If you want to switch up the milk (for the icing), go for it! Heavy cream will make your breakfast cake decadent, while 2% milk keeps things light and airy. It’s all about your preference.


Can I Make Coffee Cake Without A Stand Mixer?

Absolutely! Coffee cake batter can be easily mixed by hand with a whisk and some elbow grease. Make sure to cream the butter and sugar well for a light and fluffy cake.

Can I Freeze Coffee Cake?

Totally! Coffee cakes freeze well. Once the cake has cooled completely, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and then again in foil. 

Frozen coffee cake will keep for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before serving.

Happy baking!

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coffee cake

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This moist coffee cake recipe is like a warm hug on a lazy morning, a sweet surprise in the afternoon, or the star of any casual get-together. The best part? You can totally get wild with the flavors and fruits!
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Cooling Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 430kcal
Author: Brenda Maher


Cinnamon Crumb Mix

  • cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup spooned and leveled all-purpose flour
  • 2 ⅔ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 6 ½ tbsp cold, cubed, unsalted butter


  • 1 ⅓ cup spooned & leveled all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ½ cup softened, unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup full-fat sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 ½ tbsp milk (both non-dairy and dairy are fine)

(Optional) Vanilla Icing

  • 1 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp milk or heavy cream


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C). Grease an 8” square pan (or a 9” round pan or a 9×13 pan).

Cinnamon crumb mix

  • Combine brown sugar, cinnamon, flour, and chilled butter until pea-size crumbs form (about 2 cups). Refrigerate this mixture.


  • Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, cream butter with sugar at high mixer speed. Add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream, beating at medium-high until combined.
  • Gently mix the wet and dry ingredients at low speed, then add milk until combined. You should have about 2 ½ cups of batter.
  • Spread half the batter into the pan, sprinkle half of the crumb mix over it, then layer on your remaining batter and sprinkle the rest of the crumb mixture on top.
  • Let your sweet cake bake away for 32 to 38 mins or ’til a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out mostly clean. Let the cake cool in its pan for about 15 minutes on a rack.


  • Whisk together all the icing ingredients until smooth. Drizzle the icing over the cooled cake.


  • Lift the cooled cake off the pan with parchment paper overhang and slice it into squares. You can cut the cake directly into the pan if you did not use parchment in Step 1. Enjoy your beautiful treat!


  • The batter should be smooth and thick, but a few lumps will be fine.
  • Use a greased metal or rubber spatula to spread the top batter layer over the coarse crumbs.
  • Butter is essential for the crumb topping; substitutes won’t yield the same results.
  • If your streusel is toasting too quickly, tent your baking pan with foil and adjust the oven temperature.
  • For ingredient swaps, you can use Greek yogurt or plain/whole milk instead of sour cream, make a brown sugar substitute with granulated sugar and molasses, or choose between heavy cream or 2% milk for the icing based on preference.


Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 122mg | Potassium: 87mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @cakegirls or tag #cakegirls!

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Mary and Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher

Mary & Brenda Maher, are the founders of Cake Girls, a Chicago-based online baking shop specializing in cake supplies, party decor, and DIY cake tutorials. They are known for their elaborate and artistic cake creations, which have been featured on the Food Network Challenge and in a reality show, Amazing Wedding Cakes.

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