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up close photo showing cinnamon coffee cake with 1 slide turned on side to see ribbon of cinnamon swirl inside.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (with Crumb Topping)

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: serves 9-12
  • Category: Cake
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Every baker should have a classic, old-fashioned and buttery coffee cake recipe in their back pocket and this one is my gold standard, baseline recipe. You’re welcome to borrow it! An 8-inch square pan is required, but see the recipe Notes for other sizes.


Ingredients

Cinnamon Crumb Mixture

  • 2/3 cup (135g) packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 6 Tablespoons (85g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

Cake

  • 1 and 1/3 cups (166g) all-purpose flour (spooned & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp; 113g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (120g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature*
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) milk (any kind, dairy or nondairy, is fine)

Vanilla Icing (Optional)

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) heavy cream or milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch square pan (9-inch square is too big, see Notes for other pan sizes) with lightly greased parchment paper or directly grease the pan. I usually use this square pan or this square pan.
  2. Make the cinnamon crumb mixture: Combine the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or two forks (or use a food processor or your hands) until the mixture is in pea-sized crumbs. Some larger crumbs are OK. You’ll have a little over 2 cups of crumb. Refrigerate until step 5.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until combined. Beat in the sour cream. Scrape down the sides and up the bottom of the bowl with a silicone spatula and beat again as needed to combine. Mixture will be lumpy.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and beat on low speed until just combined. Finally, beat in the milk. Do not overmix this batter. The batter will be thick. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of batter.
  5. Carefully spread about half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle 1 cup (about half) of the crumb mixture evenly on top. Carefully spread the remaining batter on top (every last drop of it!). This can be a little tricky since you’re spreading thick batter on top of crumbs, but do your best. I usually use a spoon or small offset spatula. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture evenly on top.
  6. Bake for around 32–38 minutes or until the cake is baked through. To test for doneness, insert a toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it is done. Allow cake to cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
  7. Make the icing: Whisk all of the icing ingredients together. Drizzle over warm cake.
  8. Lift the cake from the pan using the overhang parchment paper around the sides and slice into squares. Or, if you didn’t use parchment, slice directly in the pan. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.
  9. Cover leftovers tightly and store at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead & Freezing Instructions: The cake can be baked and covered tightly at room temperature overnight. Make the glaze the next morning and drizzle over cake before serving. Cake, with or without icing, can be frozen up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and bring to room temperature before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): 8-inch Square Baking Pan (such as this one or this one | Glass Mixing Bowls | Pastry Cutter | Whisk | Silicone Spatula | Electric Mixer (Handheld or Stand) | Small Offset Spatula | Cooling Rack
  3. Sour Cream: Sour cream creates a bakery-style tender and thick crumb. Do not skip it. If needed, you can substitute full-fat or low-fat (not nonfat) Greek yogurt.
  4. Loaf Pan: If you’d like to bake this coffee cake in a 9×5-inch loaf pan, adjust the bake time to about 40 minutes.
  5. 9-inch Round Pan: This recipe is too small for a 9-inch square pan; however, it fits wonderfully in a 9-inch round cake pan. Same instructions and bake time.
  6. 9×13-inch Pan: If you want to make this cake in a 9×13-inch pan, you need to just about 1.5x the recipe. My team and I tested the exact amounts and here is what you’ll need. The instructions are exactly the same, just use the following amounts. Crumb: 1 cup (200g) packed dark or light brown sugar, 1 and 1/4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 10 Tablespoons (1 stick + 2 Tbsp or 145g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed. Cake: 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter, 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup (240g) sour cream, 1/4 cup (60ml) milk. The icing recipe makes a lot, so it’s plenty for the larger cake. Bake time is closer to 45 minutes. Makes 24 servings.
  7. Update in 2022: After making this recipe for 7 years straight, I’ve made 2 small updates to produce an even better sour cream coffee cake. The recipe above has more crumb filling/topping than the 2015 version and it also includes a touch of milk to smooth out the batter. If you wish to make the old version, skip the milk and halve the amounts for the crumb filling/topping.
  8. Why is this called coffee cake and there is no coffee in the cake? “Coffee cake” gets its name not because of the ingredients in the cake, but because it’s a breakfast cake to be enjoyed WITH coffee.

Keywords: coffee cake, crumb coffee cake, sour cream coffee cake