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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
Cinnamon Swirled Coffee Cake
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.
Watch Us Make the Recipe
You Will NeedFor 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 creamFor 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, optionalFor 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.