Coffee Cake

dsc_1130RECIPE #285, DAY #483


ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Sour Cream Coffee Cake,” from Rose Levy Berenbaum’s Cake Bible*

TIMING: 1 hour, 15 minutes

DIFFICULTY: On the easy side of cakes, for sure

TOOLS: A spring form pan, a food processor, parchment paper, foil, and a mixer

COOK TYPE: Oven, baking

HEALTH: Cake for breakfast is not the most intelligent thing you’ll do all day.


EXPERIENCE: During a car conversation the other day, my kids revealed that not only had they never had a coffee cake, they didn’t even know what it was. Well, I had grown up on a steady stream of store-bought coffee cakes, either cinnamon, lemon, or raspberry. So when I was on breakfast on Saturday morning, I very stealthily whipped up a coffee cake and wouldn’t tell anyone what was in the oven, making the whole house smell like sweet cinnamon.

Of course everyone loved it. It’s coffee cake.

NOTES: This coffee cake allows for apple or peach in the middle, which perhaps could be a berry, cherry, or even lemon curd, but I don’t know.

I made it without the nuts, and crumbed some leftover donuts in their place. I know.


  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Prepare a spring form pan by buttering it and lining the sides with parchment paper.
  3. In a small food processor, combine 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 cup walnuts or pecans, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon until nuts are chopped. Set 3/4 cup aside. Add 1/2 cup cake flour, 4 tablespoons softened butter, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Pulse until large crumbs are formed. Set this aside, also.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 4 egg yolks, 1/3 cup sour cream, and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Set aside.
  5. In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Beat at low speed for 30 seconds.
  6. Add 1/3 cup sour cream and 12 tablespoons softened butter and beat on low for 30 seconds. Increase to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Add egg mixture a little at a time, and beat 20 seconds each time. Scrape down the bowl.
  7. Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the simple nut mixture and optionally layer with 1 cup of apple or peach slices sprinkled with lemon juice. Spread the remaining batter, then top with the crumble.
  8. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 15-30 minutes, checking for done-ness. Allow to cool some before serving.


Serve with steaming coffee.

*Recipe changed from the original.


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