Made with a soft, tender cake that is studded with a rich cinnamon swirl and then finished with a buttery streusel, this Sour Cream Coffee Cake is perfect for entertaining at brunch or during the holidays.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake is the perfect touch to a festive brunch when served alongside Hash Brown Breakfast Casserole, fruit salad, and Baked Bacon. Of course, don't forget the coffee--or better yet, Homemade Lattes.
Coffee Cake is one of those recipes whose origin is quite curious, as it is not made with coffee, nor is this cake thought of as a dessert.
Instead, it is designed to be served at breakfast or brunch with a cup of coffee, hence the name coffee cake.
While there are many variations of coffee cakes out there, I do humbly believe that this recipe is the absolute best. And I feel like I can say that without bragging because this recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake was shared with me decades ago by a family friend.
It is rich, buttery, and full of cinnamon, yet light and tender. It is one coffee cake recipe that people will beg you to make again and again.
What Makes this the Best Coffee Cake Recipe
Sour Cream Coffee Cake is the absolute best version of coffee cake, for a few key reasons.
- Sour Cream. You may have guessed that Sour Cream Coffee Cake is made with sour cream. The sour cream, which is folded into the cake batter, keeps the cake light and fluffy while giving it a bit of tang that balances out the sweetness.
- Cinnamon Swirl. The cake is baked around a cinnamon brown sugar mixture that adds a delicious and beautiful rich swirl throughout the cake. This swirl adds warmth and cinnamon flavor to every bite.
- Buttery Streusel. While most coffee cakes feature streusels, this recipe has streusel overload and that is a good thing! The texture and flavor that the buttery crumble adds to this coffee cake are insanely delicious. In fact, you will never see a crumb of it left behind on my plate! I am sure to lick the plate clean--even when entertaining, it is just that good!
Notes on Ingredients
- Butter: Butter is key to adding flavor and richness to both the cake and the streusel. Just be sure to use unsalted butter for both the cake batter and the streusel, not salted butter. This will allow you to control the level of salt in the overall recipe.
- Sour Cream: The sour cream adds moistness and tang to the cake batter. Be sure to use full-fat or reduced-fat sour cream, not fat-free as the consistency of the cake may be affected.
- Sugar: This recipe calls for both brown and granulated sugars. The brown sugar adds warmth and color to the cinnamon swirl and the streusel, while the granulated sugar is best suited for the cake batter.
- Nuts: If desired, add chopped pecans or walnuts to the streusel topping for additional crunch and texture. Feel free to omit the nuts if desired though, and this cake will still be plenty delicious.
How to Make Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Prepare the cinnamon swirl filling. In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon. We need to add a bit of flour to the cinnamon filling or else it would be completely absorbed into the cake batter, resulting in no distinctive swirl. Then set it aside for assembling the cake.
- Prepare the streusel. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until evenly combined. If using chopped nuts, mix them into this mixture and toss to coat. Add in the cold cubed butter, and using your hands, combine the mixture until crumbs form and the butter is well distributed through the flour and sugar. Set aside for assembling the cake.
- Cream the butter and sugar. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
- Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl and add in the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and then add that mixture to the wet ingredients using a spatula. Fold the mixture together until it is just combined.
- Layer the cake batter. Spoon half of the cake batter into a buttered 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling evenly over the batter to form that cinnamon swirl. a
- Add remaining batter. Spoon the remaining batter in dollops evenly over the filling and gently smooth it out into an even layer.
- Add the streusel. Evenly sprinkle the streusel mixture over the top of the cake batter.
- Bake the Coffee Cake. Bake until the cake is set, checking after 30 minutes to see if you need to cover the cake with foil so that the streusel does not burn.
- Cool. Let the cake cool for at least 10 minutes on a cooling rack before slicing and serving.
Storing Coffee Cake
Once the coffee cake is fully cooled, you can store it for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container or wrapped well with plastic wrap.
If you would like to freeze the leftover coffee cake, allow the cake to cool fully. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap, then in a layer of foil, and then place it in a freezer-safe bag. This triple layer of wrap will help prevent the cake from becoming freezer burned. Thaw the cake overnight in the refrigerator and if desired, warm individual slices in the microwave for 30-45 seconds.
More Delicious Brunch Recipes
As I shared, coffee cake is designed to be served at breakfast or brunch and makes a delicious accompaniment to any of the following recipes.
- Green Chile Egg Casserole
- Overnight French Toast Casserole
- Breakfast Sliders
- Christmas Fruit Salad
- Blueberry Coffee Cake
- Hashbrown Breakfast Casserole
- Cranberry Orange Muffins
If you enjoyed this recipe for Sour Cream Coffee Cake, I would love for you to leave a review and a comment below.
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
For the Filling
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Streusel
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup cold butter cubed
- ½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts optional
For the Cake
- ½ cup unsalted butter 1 stick, softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup sour cream
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8-inch pan with butter.
For the Cinnamon Filling
- In a small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon then set aside.
For the Streusel
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt until evenly combined. If using chopped nuts, mix them into this mixture.
- Add in the cold butter and use your fingers to mix the mixture together, until crumbs form and the butter is well distributed through the flour and sugar. Set aside.
For the Cake
- In a large bowl or stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. This should take 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the eggs and mix again to incorporate. Add in the sour cream and vanilla and mix until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- Add dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and use a spatula to combine then fold the mixture together until it is just combined.
- Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan and smooth into an even bottom layer. Sprinkle the cinnamon filling evenly over the batter and then spoon the remaining batter in dollops evenly over the filling. Gently smooth it out into an even layer. Evenly sprinkle the streusel mixture over the top of the cake batter.
- Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few crumbs. Be sure to check on the cake after 25 minutes to see if the streusel is browning too much. If it is, lightly tent with foil and continue baking.
- Remove the cake from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
This post was shared in 2021 and updated in 2022.
Can this recipe be doubled?
Yes! I would bake in a 9×13 buttered baking dish. You may need an extra 3 to 5 minutes for baking, so keep a close eye on the cake at the end of bake time. Enjoy
OMG. This cake is super moist and delicous. I used 1/2 cup ground almonds each in the filling and topping instead of pecans or walnuts. Gave just a hint of almond flavor. This is a fantastic recipe.
Thanks for sharing you added almonds Joan! So happy to hear you enjoyed!
Just made this for dinner company. It was my first coffee cake and a total hit! It was light and fluffy and not too sweet. I’ll be making this again 🙂
Thanks for sharing Shaina! It makes me so happy to hear you and your guests enjoyed this coffee cake!
I have a question? I made the coffee cake but the topping sunk into the cake?? What happened.
Hi Lisa! I am sorry that happened to you. It may have been that your butter was too warm in the topping and so it melted too quickly into the batter of the cake. The butter should be room temperature and soft to the touch, but not melting.
Best coffee cake I have ever made! So glad I found this online. Absolutely 5 star recipe.
Hi Mimi! I LOVE hearing you enjoyed this coffee cake so much!
Delicious, easy to follow recipe, keeper 😋
Made this today, used walnuts in the topping. What a perfect cake! Moist and delicious! Thank you!!
Looks like a great cake thanks for sharing your recipe looks like a great cake
The streusel topping is perfection. My go-to recipe for the best coffee cake!
This is a comfort food recipe for me - reminds me of my mom making it! This is wonderful and I love that in under an hour this can be in my belly! Delicious!
I am so happy to hear you enjoyed Beth! THanks for sharing.
A bit time consuming, but worth the effort. A moist and delicious cake with crumbs that stay put.