Sour Cream Coffee Cake

20 Feb

Coffee Cake

Did you ever have adventures at grandma’s house? When I was a kid, my grandma’s house seemed like a magical place full of mystery and adventure. Going down to the basement was like visiting a 1920s’ speakeasy. Going up to the attic, trying on all those old dresses felt like fashion shopping in France. Piggyback rides on her massive German Shepherd were like riding a grand horse. Playing with the cousins upstairs was top-secret spy business. We usually stayed out of trouble.


There was this one time at my grandma’s house that we tried to stuff me down the laundry chute. All in all, it was a terrible idea. At the time, we thought it was a great idea. And it had to be me to go down the chute because I was the smallest cousin. “Like riding a really exciting slide,” they convinced me. Luckily for me, we got caught in the act of stuffing me in. I probably wouldn’t have survived three flights of a dead drop. But it was exciting. Another adventure at grandma’s house.

Coffee cake screams grandma’s house to me. Fragrant cinnamon and moist crumb cake. Definitely grandma’s house.

This recipe comes from the Joy the Baker Cookbook. A welcome addition to anyone’s recipe library has got to be coffee cake. Any excuse to eat cake for breakfast, right?

Coffee Cake

Stir together your crumb topping. Set aside for now.

Coffee Cake

Stir together your yummy cinnamon filling layer. Set aside.

Coffee Cake

Mix together your butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and eggs.

Coffee Cake

Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Coffee Cake

Prepare your sour cream and milk combo. Whisk ’em real good.

Coffee Cake

Add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 additions.

Coffee Cake

Spread half of the cake batter on the bottom of the pan, and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon filling layer.

Coffee Cake

Spread the rest of the cake batter evenly on top of the cinnamon filling layer.

Coffee Cake

Make a few swirls with a knife.

Coffee Cake

Top with the crumb topping and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until golden brown and crackly.

Coffee CakeLet rest for 20 to 30 minutes before slicing and serving.

Coffee Cake

Makes one 9-x-13″ cake


For the streusel topping:

3/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the cinnamon filling:

1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 teaspoons cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the cake:

3/4 cups (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup sour cream
1-1/2 cups whole milk


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-x-13″ cake pan.

In a small bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter, and mix with your hands until the streusel topping is crumbly. Set aside.

In another bowl, stir together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, sugar, and brown sugar together until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat to combine. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, until incorporated.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a 2-cup  measuring cup, whisk together the sour cream and whole milk until combined. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture to the cake batter in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream mixture in 2 additions. Mix well to combine after each addition. Stir the cake batter until no flour specks remain, but do not overmix. The cake batter will be very thick.

Spread half of the cake batter in the bottom of the cake pan. Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon filling. Top with the rest of the cake batter, and spread evenly. Using a butter knife, make a few swirls in the batter. Top with the crumb topping, and bake for 55 to 60 minutes until crackly and golden brown. A wire skewer or butter knife should come out clean when it’s done baking.

Let the cake rest for 20 to 30 minutes before cutting and serving.

Source: Joy the Baker Cookbook

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