Classic Coffee Cake

Love Starbucks Coffee Cake? This version is even better. Tender, buttery cake topped with crunchy crumbles and a cinnamon-sugar ribbon running through the middle. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, and dig in!

Easy Coffee Cake Recipe - coffee cake on blue plate
Cindy Rahe

Coffee cake is one of those magical cakes that gets away with being acceptable to eat any time of the day.

Slice of Coffee Cake on a plate
Cindy Rahe

Curiously, coffee cake contains zero coffee itself. I think (and I am totally speculating here) that it’s meant to be served with coffee, sort of in the tradition of tea. My sleuthing on the internet points to origins in German yeasted cakes, but it’s not entirely clear.

A common theme of coffee cakes is the incorporation of streusel, and for many of us (at least in the US), it means a rich yellow cake spiced with cinnamon and topped with as much crumble as the cake can handle!

Video: How to Make Classic Coffee Cake

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Classic Coffee Cake

Better-Than-Starbucks Coffee Cake

My inspiration for this classic crumb coffee cake is the picture-perfect slices you find behind the glass at Starbucks—but bigger, better, and with more crumb!

The cake batter includes sour cream, which not only adds richness but also helps maintain a tender crumb. There’s a cinnamon stripe through the center of the cake and a blanket of crumble over the top.

To ensure that distinctive stripe, we layer about half of the batter into the bottom of the pan, sprinkle the cinnamon layer over the top, then the remaining batter, and finally, a thick cover of crumble topping.

Some of the crumble floats on top of the batter in spots and buckles in others, in a way that sort of resembles a sugarscape of cinnamon-scented hills and valleys that are nearly impossible to resist peeling off and eating straight from the pan—or maybe that’s just me!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake - coffee cake in baking pan
Cindy Rahe

How to Store and Freeze Coffee Cake

This is one of those cakes that just gets better after a day or two on the counter. The texture improves and moisture remains. It also freezes well!

To freeze the cake, let it cool completely, then wrap it in a layer of plastic followed by foil. The double layer helps to prevent it from drying out in the freezer. To defrost the cake, set it on the counter until it reaches room temperature—if you have that kind of patience! The cake, even half-frozen, is still delicious.

How to Adapt This Cake

This recipe is easily adaptable to include other spices.

  • Add cardamom and a little zest for an interesting twist.
  • Swap the cinnamon and sugar for pumpkin pie spice.
  • Add 1/3 cup of finely chopped walnuts or pecans to the topping or batter.

This cake is great served as it is. The crumble and the rich cake batter are perfectly satisfying without embellishments, but a dollop of barely sweetened whipped cream is always welcome!

Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Cindy Rahe

More Cakes to Serve With Coffee!

Classic Coffee Cake

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 80 mins
Servings 12 to 14 servings

Ingredients

For the streusel topping:

  • 1 cup (150g) brown sugar, packed

  • 1 cup (96g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • Pinch kosher salt

  • 1/2 cup (113g) unsalted butter, very soft

For the cinnamon layer:

  • 1/4 cup (50gsugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the cake batter:

  • 3 cups (384g) all-purpose flour

  • 2 1/4 cups (450gsugar

  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1 cup (227g) unsalted butter, very soft

  • 1 cup (227gsour cream

  • 1/4 cup whole milk

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Heat the oven and prepare the pan:

    Preheat the oven to 350°F and butter or spray a 9x13 inch pan.

  2. Make the streusel layer:

    In a small bowl combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Use a fork to mash the butter into the mixture until completely combined and crumbly.

    Best Coffee Cake Recipe - strusel topping mixed together
    Cindy Rahe
    Sour Cream Coffee Cake -- strusel topping mixed together
    Cindy Rahe
  3. Make the cinnamon layer:

    In another small bowl, combine sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Set both to the side.

    Sour Cream Coffee Cake - cinnamon and sugar in a bowl
    Cindy Rahe
    Crumb Cake Recipe - strusel topping in a bowl
    Cindy Rahe
  4. Begin making the batter:

    In the bowl of your mixer, add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and kosher salt. Using the paddle attachment for your stand mixer, stir on low to combine.

    Add the softened butter and beat on medium-low speed for 2-3 minutes, or until all of the butter is mixed in and the mixture resembles moist sand.

    Crumb Coffee Cake Recipe - crumbly butter and flour mixture
    Cindy Rahe
  5. Combine wet ingredients and finish the batter:

    In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Add the mixture to the dry ingredients. Beat the batter on medium speed until you get a smooth batter. A few small lumps are totally fine.

    Crumb Coffee Cake Recipe - cake batter in mixing bowl
    Cindy Rahe
  6. Prepare the cake:

    Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon-sugar layer over the top of the batter in an even layer. Spread the remaining batter over the top (this does require some patience since the batter likes to lift off the cinnamon-sugar layer). Top the final layer of batter with the crumble mixture.

    Easy Coffee Cake Recipe - cake batter with cinnamon and sugar sprinkled over the top
    Cindy Rahe
    Easy Coffee Cake Recipe - cake batter in pan
    Cindy Rahe
    Cinnamon Coffee Cake -cake batter partially covered in crumb topping
    Cindy Rahe
  7. Bake the cake:

    Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 1 hour (or until the cake comes to room temperature) before serving.

    Cinnamon Coffee Cake - coffee cake in baking pan
    Cindy Rahe
  8. Store the cake:

    You can make this cake a day or two in advance. Remove the cake from the pan and cover with plastic wrap. Keep it on the counter. To freeze the cake, wrap it in plastic, followed by foil.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
539 Calories
25g Fat
74g Carbs
6g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12 to 14
Amount per serving
Calories 539
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 25g 32%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 115mg 38%
Sodium 156mg 7%
Total Carbohydrate 74g 27%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 47g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 67mg 5%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 106mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.