Cinnamon Swirled Coffee Cake

This is my favorite coffee cake recipe! It is made from scratch, easy to prepare, and perfect for breakfast, brunch, or dessert. The cake stays moist and tender thanks to the sour cream, while our brown sugar cinnamon streusel makes it extra delicious.

Watch the video

Coffee Cake Video

Coffee cake does not usually contain coffee, but is often enjoyed with coffee. That’s why you’ll often see it served for brunch or afternoon get-togethers. Adam’s grandmother, for example, is always entertaining with coffee and coffee cake, and I am here for it.

Our coffee cake recipe starts with a simple batter made with butter and an extra splash of vanilla, similar to this blueberry butter cake. Then, we swirl in a flavorful brown sugar streusel made with cinnamon and molasses. It’s rich and dark and makes the cake taste incredible.

A slice of homemade coffee cake made with a cinnamon brown sugar streusel

How to make cinnamon-swirled sour cream coffee cake

Butter is critical in this cake. It keeps the crumb moist and flavorful. For even more moisture and flavor, we add sour cream. Thanks to sour cream’s higher fat content, our coffee cake stays light, airy, and moist. It also adds a subtle tang to the cake, which works beautifully with the brown sugar streusel.

Besides butter and sour cream, our cake batter uses standard cake ingredients. You will need all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt.

Joanne’s tip: The flavor of this cake is much better when you combine vanilla extract with a little almond extract in butter cakes. Your cake will taste like it came from a fancy bakery. You won’t tell if almond extract is there, but the cake will taste amazing.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel

Making the streusel topping

Brown sugar cinnamon streusel takes this coffee cake over the top. Some recipes cut cold butter into the sugar and other streusel ingredients, but I take a tip from our apple crisp recipe and use melted butter instead.

Using melted butter is easier and hydrates the streusel to stay moist and delicious through baking. Our streusel isn’t crumbly and holds its own when you bite the coffee cake. Here’s what we use to make the streusel:

  • Brown sugar and granulated sugar: The brown sugar adds flavor, and the granulated sugar adds a little texture.
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt: We use a lot of cinnamon and don’t apologize for it — just like when making homemade cinnamon rolls.
  • Melted butter: Using melted butter is easier than cutting cold butter into the streusel ingredients. It’s quicker, too!
  • All-purpose flour: Flour acts as our base and ensures the streusel doesn’t melt into the cake.
  • Molasses: Just one tablespoon adds richness and color. It’s wonderful.
    Optional nuts — I especially love walnuts for this cake.
Making brown sugar streusel coffee cake

Finishing the cake

I bake this coffee cake in a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish. I add half of the batter first and spread it into one layer. Then I scatter half of the streusel and finish with the rest of the cake batter and more streusel. As you spread the batter out, streusel will swirl into the batter. It might even seem like you don’t have enough batter, but trust me, this cake rises a lot in the oven.

Bake the coffee cake in the oven until it’s risen and springy and a toothpick comes out clean. Let it cool briefly, and then add the final touch: a maple butter drizzle made with powdered sugar, maple syrup, butter, and milk. It’s amazing!

Adding a maple butter frosting to the coffee cake

This cake is delicious without the extra drizzle, but it’s pretty incredible with it. You can also leave the cake plain or add a dusting of powdered sugar on top instead (as we do with this fresh strawberry cake). And that’s it. How to make my favorite coffee cake recipe with a rich brown sugar streusel and maple butter drizzle!

Coffee Cake with Brown Sugar Streusel

Cinnamon Swirled Coffee Cake

  • PREP
  • COOK

Our sour cream coffee cake is outrageously good. We make the batter with sour cream, butter, and vanilla, then add brown sugar cinnamon streusel. We also add a maple butter drizzle after baking, which is delicious, but you can leave the cake plain or add a dusting of powdered sugar on top instead.

Makes 12 servings (or 24 small slices)

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

For Coffee Cake

12 tablespoons (170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, 1 ½ sticks

2 large eggs, at room temperature

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

2 ¼ cups (290g) all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar

1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon almond extract

1 ¼ cups (280g or 10 oz) sour cream

For Streusel

8 tablespoons (115g) unsalted butter, melted, 1 stick

1 tablespoon molasses

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1/3 cup (65g) brown sugar

1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

1 1/3 cups (170g) all-purpose flour

2/3 cup (70g) walnuts, chopped, optional

For Maple Butter Drizzle

2 tablespoons (30g) unsalted butter

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

1/2 cup (55g) powdered sugar

1 tablespoon milk

Pinch fine sea salt


  • Make Batter
  • 1Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F (176°C). Line a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.

    2Sift or whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

    3In a large bowl, beat 12 tablespoons of room-temperature butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar with an electric mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. (Alternatively, add butter and sugars to the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium speed until fluffy.)

    4Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the egg yolk, vanilla, and almond extract.

    5With the mixer on low speed, add one-third of the flour mixture to the batter. When it’s mostly combined, add another third and mix until almost no flour remains. Add the sour cream and mix just until smooth, then finish by adding the remaining flour to the batter and beat until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely blended.

  • Make Streusel
  • 1In a medium bowl, whisk the melted butter with the molasses, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt until well blended. Add the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and flour. Stir until a soft dough forms. Stir in nuts (optional).

  • Bake Cake
  • 1Spread about half of the cake batter into the prepared baking pan. It’s okay if the batter doesn’t spread all the way to each corner. Scatter half of the streusel over the cake batter. (I like scattering larger pieces and smaller crumbles.)

    2Spoon dollops of the remaining batter on top of the streusel and then spread into an even layer. It’s okay if some of the streusel from below gets mixed into the top layer of batter.

    3Finish with the remaining streusel on top. It might look like there isn’t enough batter, but don’t worry, the cake rises quite a bit, while some of the streusel will fall into the cake.

    4Bake the coffee cake until it starts pulling away from the pan’s sides and is springy. A cake tester or toothpick inserted into the middle should come out mostly clean, 40 to 50 minutes.

    5Cool the cake in the baking pan for 10 minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack and cool it completely.

  • To Finish
  • 1Melt the butter in a small bowl, and then stir in the maple syrup. Whisk in the powdered sugar, milk, and salt. The mixture should be the consistency of thick syrup and easily drizzled. If it’s too thin, add a bit more powdered sugar. If it is too thick, add a little more milk.

    2Drizzle the maple butter frosting over the cake, then set aside for 5 minutes or until it hardens slightly. Cut the cake into 12 large slices or 24 smaller slices, and then serve.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Measuring the flour: Flour should be spooned and leveled in the measuring cup. Use a spoon to add the flour to the cup, and then use a flat edge to scrape the top of the cup. This method ensures you do not add too much flour to the batter.
  • Room temperature butter & eggs: The butter and eggs must be room temperature for this cake recipe. If the eggs are too cold, the chill from the eggs will make your batter lumpy since they will chill the butter, and it will start to harden. It’s best to leave butter out in advance at room temperature. Place eggs into a bowl with lukewarm water for 5 to 10 minutes to quickly bring them to room temperature. (It’s okay if the sour cream is cooler since we add it at the end, but I prefer to take it out before making the cake recipe.)
  • Nutrition facts: The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. We have used the USDA database to calculate approximate values.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 of 12 slices / Calories 542 / Total Fat 26.1g / Saturated Fat 15.7g / Cholesterol 110.7mg / Sodium 252.4mg / Carbohydrate 71.2g / Dietary Fiber 1.4g / Total Sugars 39.4g / Protein 7.1g
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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20 comments… Leave a Review
  • Angela July 7, 2023, 3:38 pm

    I love nearly all of your recipes, regarding the coffee cake one, am I missing the coffee in the recipe?

    • Joanne July 7, 2023, 3:38 pm

      Hi Angela, Typically, you don’t actually find coffee in coffee cake. I know it seems odd, but we believe it is named more for being something sweet to enjoy with coffee instead of actually having coffee in it. That said, if you have any instant espresso or instant coffee, you can always add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the granules to the cake batter for some coffee flavor.

  • Samantha October 27, 2021, 6:01 pm

    Made this cake and it was so delicious! I folded 1 1/4 cup frozen blueberries in the end and it was super yummy. How about a cinnamon struesel swirled pumpkin coffee cake?

    • Joanne February 7, 2024, 4:15 pm

      Hi Samantha, We love the idea of blueberries in this coffee cake! And, yes, a pumpkin coffee cake sounds lovely.

  • deborah a dodd April 20, 2021, 5:16 am

    your recipes look delicious will try..thanks

    • Joanne February 7, 2024, 4:15 pm

      Wonderful, let us know how it turns out.

  • Holly April 14, 2021, 12:24 pm

    Hello, I just made your coffee cake this morning. It IS outrageously good! I know my daughter will love it. I’ll make it for her when she’s back from school. Tender cake and lots of yummy streusel – no nuts. Followed recipe. No changes. And icing is perfect on top. Not too sweet; perfect “icing on the cake”. Tried lots of coffee cake recipes and this is the one I’ve been trying to find. Thank you!

    • Joanne February 7, 2024, 4:16 pm

      Holly, This is such wonderful news. When creating this recipe, I really wanted that tender, moist crumb and wow does this recipe deliver. We are so happy you enjoy the recipe so much.

  • Karlie April 2, 2021, 6:31 pm

    Looks a-maze-ing. Have printed, can’t wait to try it. Will have to wait till I get some sour cream… actually, I could use greek yoghurt? I’m going to add some coffee too, and I really do have a soft spot for the coffee cake that is actually flavoured with coffee…A question though – will it be okay to freeze with the glaze on? Thanks!

    • Adam April 4, 2021, 11:51 am

      HI Karlie, greek yogurt is a great idea and freezing should work nicely.

  • POOKIE March 7, 2021, 7:54 pm

    made this for the 2nd time last night. first time the only thing i changed was for the glaze. i did not have maple syrup so i substituted honey….added fresh lemon juice & lemon zest. DELISH! last night i subbed yogart for the sour cr. vanila + plain. for the glaze i did same as before But added some raspberry jam. texture of the cake was a bit. not as lite..but otherwise just so delicious. the cake w/sour cr remined me of a buttercake my mom use to make. it was from betty crocker mix & so incredibly good, however, to make this from scratch w/the struesel & glaze..wish MOM was her to taste it! There was sooo much struesel, i covered the 1st layer & the top & still had some left over. more than in your pic. nothing like lots of streusel! THANKS..

    • Joanne February 7, 2024, 4:16 pm

      Yes, this cake has a lot of streusel (I love it this way). Thanks for coming back and sharing!

  • Monica November 2, 2020, 2:50 am

    This looks delicious! Can I ask about storage instructions, does this freeze well? Do we need to refrigerate? How long can it keep for?

    • Joanne September 23, 2022, 12:01 pm

      Hi Monica, This freezes well! I cut the cake into single-serving slices and then freeze in resealable bags. I’d assume that they would keep for one month, possible a little longer.

  • Patti Teeters October 19, 2020, 8:21 pm

    So yummy looking I could just lick the monitor. You wouldn’t happen to do a Fresh Apple Cake too would you? Just wondering.

  • Alene October 19, 2020, 5:15 pm

    Hi! This sounds delicious. I need to use gluten free flour though, so if anyone tries it with that, I hope they will let you know.Thanks!

    • Joanne February 7, 2024, 4:17 pm

      Hi Alene, I’ll keep my eye out for other bakers trying this recipe with GF flour. Honestly, I think it will work, but have not actually tried it myself.

  • Lara October 19, 2020, 5:04 pm

    Stupid question: Coffee cake but I don’t see any coffee in the ingredients? Also, what’s the best alternative for molasses? Thank you in advance, Lara 🙂

    • Adam October 19, 2020, 5:33 pm

      Hi Lara, Coffee cake is an odd ball. Even though it’s called coffee cake, it doesn’t usually contain coffee. It is usually enjoyed with coffee. There really isn’t any good alternative for molasses because it gives the cake a really nice rich flavor. If you don’t have molasses you can leave it out. Our best advice is to use dark brown sugar for the streusel instead of light (if you have it on hand) since that does have a bit more richness.


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