Sour cream coffee cake? Sure, it’s good. But sour cream coffee cake with an easy crumb streusel made from scratch? Even better. See where I’m going here? There is just no way not to enjoy this moist cake. Serve it with a steaming cup of hot coffee for the grown-ups and a glass of cold milk for the kids. (And you can add me into the milk category. I simply can’t resist milk with cake.)–David Leite

A whole sour cream coffee cake with a wedge cut from it.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

5 / 11 votes
This sour cream coffee cake gets its richness and tender crumb from sour cream and is rippled through with a cinnamon-pecan streusel and drizzled with a white glaze. Excellent for breakfast, coffee breaks, tea time, snacking, and dessert. Oh, and it shuts up kids in three seconds flat!
David Leite
CourseDessert
CuisineAmerican
Servings12 to 14 slices
Calories519 kcal
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes

Equipment

  • 10-inch tube pan

Ingredients 

For the filling and topping

  • 1/3 cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons (1 1/2 oz) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch (6-mm) cubes
  • Large pinch kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

For the coffee cake

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 12 tablespoons (6 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the glaze

  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Small pinch kosher salt

Instructions 

Make the streusel filling and topping

  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, butter, salt, and vanilla, and mash with a fork until it comes together in a crumble. Stir in the pecans.

Make the sour cream coffee cake

  • Crank up the oven to 350°F (177°C). Position a rack in the middle of the oven, and generously butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or spritz it with nonstick vegetable spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Add the eggs, 1 at a time, blending just until incorporated after each addition. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix just until combined.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer, dump in the flour mixture, and stir it in by hand just until no dry ingredients are visible.
  • Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it with a spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle about half the streusel over the batter. Spoon the rest of the batter in the pan, again smoothing it. Sprinkle the cake with the remaining streusel. Bake the cake for 50 to 60 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
  • Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack until room temperature.
  • Cover the pan with a plate, invert the pan, and then remove the pan and the removable center core. Place a platter or cake plate against the cake and invert it once more so it's right side up.

Make the glaze and drizzle it all over the coffee cake

  • Whisk the confectioners' sugar and milk together. If a thinner consistency is desired, add a little more milk. Drizzle the glaze over the coffee cake using a spoon.

Notes

Coffee Glaze Variation

Craving a little extra jolt in your coffee cake? It’s as easy as replacing the milk in the glaze with strongly brewed coffee. It’s sorta like coffee cake squared. Just don’t blame us if you can’t sleep at night.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 sliceCalories: 519 kcalCarbohydrates: 64 gProtein: 7 gFat: 27 gSaturated Fat: 13 gMonounsaturated Fat: 9 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 114 mgSodium: 241 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 40 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2015 David Leite. Photo © 2015 David Leite. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Eureka! I found it. The sour cream coffee cake recipe I’ve been searching for. It’s super moist, has the perfect density, is not too light and not too heavy with just the right amount of sugar and cinnamon crumb. I love the light cinnamon swirl layer in the middle. I made this for my family and to share with some friends. This sour cream coffee cake will be a showstopper for any gathering or gift.

I used a Bundt pan and it turned out perfectly. I was afraid the glaze would make the cake too sweet, and I almost didn’t make it, but I’m glad I did because it was a nice finishing touch. For the glaze, I used milk, sugar, and a drop of vanilla.

Two substitutions I made with success: I used walnuts because that’s what I had on hand. They were lovely and toasty from the baking time, a perfectly acceptable substitute. I also used Daisy-brand light sour cream, and the cake was still moist and rich, and I was happy to save on some calories without sacrificing taste or texture.

The cake part of this sour cream coffee cake is moist and the filling and topping is crunchy and delicious. Because this recipe is made in a tube pan, you can definitely turn it over and back to get the topping back on the top; however, its a little messy as the topping is crumbly. This is a really, really minor complaint, but there are a lot of ingredients in this recipe. If I made this again, I would probably cut back on the butter.

This was phenomenal! I brought it to a family birthday party and everyone was talking about this coffee cake instead of the birthday cake! My husband, who generally doesn’t care for cake, was devastated that we had to leave it behind (ha!!) This recipe has a permanent home in my arsenal now. I wouldn’t change a thing.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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30 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I would file this recipe under “Does the world need another coffee cake recipe? Yes, yes it does!” I made this cake for a post-dinner meeting and it was wonderful. Perfect moist-ness, delicious flavor and a nice crunch topping. I would maybe make 1-1/2 times the filling/topping as I found the layer in the cake got a little lost and that was sad. Also, I might trim the sugar by 1/4-1/2 cup. It was a very sweet cake. I do not have a tube pan and, thanks to David’s note to another baker, I didn’t use my bundt pan. I went with a 10-inch springform pan and that worked out fine. It took an extra 10 minutes or so of baking but turned out just fine.

    1. We are so glad to hear that you enjoyed the cake, Greg. Once you have a great go-to recipe, then as you mentioned, you can begin to add your own tweaks to it. That’s part of the fun, I think. Thank you for writing to Leite’s!

  2. 5 stars
    I was amazed that I didn’t burn this cake. It was so delicious even my fussy momma loved it. She asked for a second piece.

    1. That’s music to our ears, Mary! We’re so pleased this was such a success for you. Thank you for taking the time to let us know.

    1. We haven’t tried it this way, Michael, so we really can’t say. The baking time would likely be significantly different.