Sour Cream Coffee Cake


If you’re looking for an out-of-this-world, above and beyond coffee cake, you’ve come to the right post. This is no Entenmann’s, for sure. I watched Ina Garten make this cake on an episode of Barefoot Contessa well over a year ago. I looked up the recipe online, saved it, and there it sat ever since. I have been dying to make it but the streusel looked so wonderful that I didn’t want to make it and have to omit the cinnamon and walnuts due to my allergies. Now that my food allergies have gone their merry way, I couldn’t wait to bust out my tube pan and whip up this cake. Speaking of tube pans, this was my first time using one, and now I might be addicted. Incidentally, this was also my first time making a coffee cake. I’ve certainly eaten my fair share, but making one was high on my list of things I want to try.  I’d still love to try a yeasted coffee cake and see what the significant differences are. If anyone has made one and loved it, please share your recipe!


I don’t recommend making this cake if you are already hungry, because the smell that wafts from the oven is so sinfully delicious that it might make you want to lick the oven door. We’re talking seriously fabulous.

It probably isn’t shocking to hear that the streusel that runs through the middle of this cake and graces the top steals the show. The flavor is absolutely fabulous – not too sweet or dense, and the cinnamon doesn’t overpower as I had suspected it might when I was putting the cake together. The use of cake flour gives a lighter, less-dense texture to the cake and the maple-flavored glaze all add up to an absolutely fabulous accompaniment to a cup of coffee or your favorite tea.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Yield: 8 to 10 servings

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


12 tablespoons (1½ sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1½ cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups sour cream
2½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt

For the streusel:
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
½ cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ cup chopped walnuts, optional

For the glaze:
½ cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons real maple syrup


Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for 4 to 5 minutes, until light. Add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla and sour cream. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the batter until just combined. Finish stirring with a spatula to be sure the batter is completely mixed.

For the streusel, place the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, salt, and butter in a bowl and pinch together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Mix in the walnuts, if desired.

Spoon half the batter into the pan and spread it out with a knife. Sprinkle with 3/4 cup streusel. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, spread it out, and scatter the remaining streusel on top. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Carefully transfer the cake, streusel side up, onto a serving plate. Whisk the confectioners' sugar and maple syrup together, adding a few drops of water if necessary, to make the glaze runny. Drizzle as much as you like over the cake with a fork or spoon.


58 Responses to “Sour Cream Coffee Cake”

  1. Maria on March 13, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Oh my, that cake looks amazing. LOVE the photos! I bet your house was smelling good!! I think I am going to have to make this one soon…and I might just have to lick the oven door:)


  2. Meghan on March 13, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    This looks great! I’ve been allergic to peanuts/tree nuts my whole life, so I’m used to avoiding them, but I can’t imagine having to avoid cinnamon -it’s in so many things, especially baked goods! Due to my allergies, foods like coffee cake are things I need to make myself to be certain there are not nuts, so it’s nice to have a good recipe 🙂


  3. Elyse on March 13, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    Mmm, welcome to the world of baking coffee cakes. It’s quite an addictive thing, I think. Man, you totally hit the ball out of the ballpark with this recipe. It looks totally fabulous. Man, I wish I had a slice right now!


  4. Erin on March 13, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    This looks delicious! I love making coffee cakes, and I will definitely have to try this one.


  5. Katrina on March 13, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Looks DIVINE!


  6. Lindsey on March 14, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Looks delicious! This recipe has been on my list of ‘must try’ for quite a while- your pictures have just convinced me to make this sooner rather than later 🙂


  7. Kerstin on March 14, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    I love sour cream in coffee cakes – I think it should be a required ingredient. This looks fabulous – love the fact that streusel is on the top and in the middle – yum!


  8. Jackie on March 14, 2009 at 1:39 pm


    I was wondering did you toast the nuts and what kind of Maple Syrup did you use Grade B or Grade A. Thanks


  9. kayte on March 14, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    your pictures of this cake are awesome chelle! i could seriously lick the screen. i need to try this one.


  10. Chelle on March 14, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    JACKIE — I did not toast the nuts and I used Grade A maple syrup.


  11. ashley on March 14, 2009 at 7:17 pm

    i’ve been dying to try this but haven’t come up with an excuse to make it yet… it looks fabulous! maybe next time SIL comes to visit!


  12. finsmom on March 15, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Wow, this does look sinful! Coffee cake is such a fantastic treat. This recipe looks great! Thanks for sharing!


  13. Poornima on March 16, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Wow…that looks jut amazing….lovely pics


  14. colleen on March 16, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    This looks delicious! My favorite kind of coffee cake!


  15. Nicole on March 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Coffee cake can be good or bad. Many are way too dry but this one… with the sour cream and the streusel topping… well brown sugar, butter and nuts on anything is pure heaven. It is no surprise it is stealing the show. I am bookmarking this one!


  16. My Sweet & Saucy on March 18, 2009 at 8:15 pm

    I would love for you to come to CA! Once my store is up I will post my class schedule for the year! Your coffee cake looks soooo delicious by the way!


  17. Erika on March 18, 2009 at 9:36 pm

    I love coffee cake and this looks amazing!


  18. Amber on March 19, 2009 at 7:45 am

    This looks amazing. I absolutely love coffee cake, especially topped with streusel.


  19. Ashley on March 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Wow your coffeecake looks absolutely perfect! I’m saving this recipe.


  20. Heartburn Home Remedy on April 15, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I stumpled upon a link on Delicious telling that the info is awesome. Thanks.


  21. Kelly on April 17, 2009 at 8:33 am

    Hey hun, question about this cake — does it retain it’s deliciousness overnight?
    I’d love to make this sunday evening for my co-workers at staff meeting Monday a.m. — but wanted to make sure it’d be okay overnight!


  22. ANn on August 25, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    hi…thanks for the recipe and the yummy photos, im in the process of transferring it….i cant do it LOL….the streusel and nuts are falling off haha…..smells so good though cant wait for it to cool down so i can top the glaze on it.


  23. Kelly on September 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Yum! This is in my oven right now…but it just occurred to me that I followed your directions, which will result in a bundt/tube cake with the streusel on the BOTTOM if I invert it!
    How did you keep the streusel on top when you removed it from the pan??
    I know I could’ve solved this by putting the streusel in first, but naturally I didn’t think about it that way LOL


  24. Michelle on September 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    Hi Kelly – I used a tube pan with a removable bottom. I hope yours still turned out ok!


  25. Sana on January 6, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Hi Michelle

    Can I use All purpose flour instead of self rising.. I dont understand the difference between all these and I am not able to find Cake flour in my supermarket 🙁 does it go by any other name?


  26. Sana on January 6, 2010 at 5:45 am

    sorry I meant instead of Cake flour (duh!!)


  27. Michelle on January 8, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Sana,

    You can’t use all-purpose flour and cake flour interchangeably, as cake flour is much lighter and produces a more tender crumb. The two supermarket brands of cake flour I am most familiar with are Swan’s Down and Softasilk. They would be right where the other flours are sold. If you can’t find it in the store and want to buy it, you could always order online. I buy a lot of flour through King Arthur and am always pleased. This is their cake flour:

    If you can’t find it in the store and don’t want to order online, the “rule of thumb” substitution of all-purpose flour for cake flour is as follows:

    1 cup cake flour = 1 cup all-purpose flour MINUS 2 Tablespoons PLUS 2 Tablespoons cornstarch


  28. Tania on July 14, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Hi I know this comment is about a year late ;-D but I only just discovered your website. If you are (still) looking for a yeasted coffee cake, please make the one in the Joy of Cooking from the last edition. It is the best coffee cake you will ever eat! Great blog!


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  30. victoria on May 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    i’m making this right now, smells great! i’ve been looking for a good coffee cake recipe and i think this is the one! thank you!


  31. erika on June 15, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    OMG!!! I Just finish making this cake,it’s look soo good.I can’t wait for eat.


  32. Kristina on August 31, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I’d love to make this today for my father’s birthday cake but I only have a bundt pan. WhileI know it will still be delicious, it might look a bit ridiculous sitting “upside down”. Do you think that it would fit in a springform pan or might it be too big?


    • Michelle on August 31st, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Hi Kristina, this definitely is too big for a springform pan. It should still be delicious in a Bundt pan 🙂


  33. Gordon on October 20, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Interesting I always loved coffee cake but I never had it with icing. that’s a amaze final touch.


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  35. asmat on October 1, 2012 at 2:21 pm


    Just a question evn thouigh there’s no coffee in the cake why is it called coffee cake.


    • Michelle on October 1st, 2012 at 11:52 pm

      Hi there, The term coffee cake is used loosely in the U.S. (not sure if it’s common in other areas) to refer to what is usually a single-layer cake that’s square or ring-shaped with some type of streusel and/or glaze. It got its name because these types of cakes are sometimes eaten for breakfast, served during coffee breaks, or offered to house guests around the coffee table.


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  37. Cindy on December 18, 2012 at 7:40 am

    My mom won an award for this cake, back in 1965. She was 30, had 4 young children and baked this coffee cake for a contest in our local news paper.
    She won cook of the month, then “cook of the year”. She was awarded a check for $100.00. I baked 5 of these two years ago and gave one to each of my siblings for Christmas morning. Wrapped pretty with a copy of our mom and her recipe. (the 5th cake went to my aunt, who my mom got the recipe from in the 1st place) This year I am again making them as gifts and sending them all over the United States.


  38. kedmom on August 12, 2013 at 2:22 pm

    It is in the oven as we speak………can hardly wait! Made slightly more topping than called for, but really, is there such thing as TOO much streusel?


  39. TY on September 20, 2013 at 5:14 pm

    I was wondering if you can use muffin tins instead if you don’t have a tube pan? And how long in the oven if using the batter to make them into muffins?
    Thank you!


    • Michelle on September 23rd, 2013 at 11:21 am

      Hi TY, I have not tried making this into muffins, but it never hurts to try! You’ll need to reduce the baking time, but I am not sure how long exactly, as I haven’t made them that way.


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  44. Laura Robinson on August 15, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Can u use large eggs, instead of extra large if I Can How many sad would I use.


    • Michelle on August 15th, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Hi Laura, You can use large eggs. Use 3 as well.


  45. Laura Robinson on August 15, 2014 at 8:25 am

    Should I use


  46. Ana on September 8, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    Can i use all purpose flour instead of cake flour?? Would there be a difference in the end product??


    • Michelle on September 9th, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Hi Ana, Yes, there will be a difference in the end product. Cake flour produces a lighter, finer texture.


    • Rose on March 8th, 2015 at 5:03 pm

      I found this for you Ana, I know anna Olsen has showed her viewer how to make your own cake flour too! I just couldn’t find the link! hope this helps! Good luck! Rose


  47. Wendy on October 1, 2014 at 7:49 am

    Fabulous! I was looking for something just like this – I did change up the streusel a bit, split it in half and added some cocoa and granulated sugar to half of it and used that in the swirl, used the original mixture on the top. It was truly amazing – thank you for posting this!


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  50. Rashmi on December 4, 2014 at 10:32 pm

    I’ve made this twice now and it is an outstanding cake. Today I made it “upside down” in a bundt pan and it worked beautifully. Incredibly moist with a great crumb, just melted in the mouth. One substitution I made – I didn’t have any sour creme so I used 3/4 cup ricotta and 1/2 cup plain yogurt instead. Worked fantastic. Thank you for this terrific cake! PS I think the cake part would also work nicely without the strusel as a basic yellow cake to bake and decorate etc. Can’t wait to play around with other versions of the cake!


  51. Anna on September 15, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Hi there — I want to make this cake, but I don’t have a bundt pan (I’ve made it this long without one, and I have no where to store one, so I’m no looking to purchase one). Could I make this in a loaf pan, or a rectangular cake/casserole pan? If so, would i need to adjust the cooking time and/or temperature?


    • Michelle on September 16th, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      Hi Anna, A 9×13 or casserole pan would be too small, but you could use this recipe to make two 9×5-inch loaves. Hope that helps!


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