Moist, tender Coffee Cake with a ribbon of chocolate in the middle and a streusel topping. Enjoy this snack cake for breakfast, brunch, or dessert and as intended – with a cup of coffee or tea!
In addition to our Blueberry Buckle and Cinnamon Roll Quick Bread, this Coffee Cake is a must for a simple morning treat with the family or when serving guests. Try our Cranberry Coffee Cake, too, which is perfect for holiday time!
Easy Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Cake for breakfast? Yes, please! Coffee cake is definitely one of those times when this rule not only applies, but is encouraged. Rich, butter-sour cream based with a tender crumb, a layer of chocolate, and topped with a cinnamon streusel, what’s not to love? Every bite practically melts in your mouth. Washed down with a cup of coffee is the formula for a perfect morning. Plus, this coffee cake recipe is super easy to make.
What is Coffee Cake?
Coffee cake, also known as a snack cake, is sort of a cross between a pound cake, a buckle, and a traditional cake. While it is butter-based, its ingredients, texture, and shape can vary depending on the region, sometimes round, square, or baked in a loaf pan. The American version typically includes cinnamon as a key ingredient, with a streusel or crumb topping, or glazed. Coffee cake can also include fruit or nuts. Our recipe incorporates sour cream into the batter, a layer of chocolate that runs through the middle, and chopped hazelnuts as part of the topping.
Does Coffee Cake have coffee in it? As the name would suggest, you’d think there would be actual coffee in coffee cake, but nope. This cake gets its name because it’s usually paired with a cup of coffee. Pssst…it’s also delicious with tea or a cold glass of milk! If you are looking for a caffeinated treat in the morning, don’t miss our Coffee Chocolate Cake or Banana Smoothie.
Coffee Cake Recipe
This snack cake is truly irresistible! Here’s what’s in it:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Flour: All-purpose flour. Make sure it’s spooned and leveled to avoid using more than called for, which can result in a dry cake.
- Eggs: Eggs provide richness and structure.
- Granulated sugar: For sweetness and to properly cream the butter, but also provides necessary moisture.
- Baking powder and Baking soda: These are both leavening agents to give the cake some lift.
- Butter: I use unsalted butter and add in salt separately, so I can control the amount of saltiness. You can use salted butter if that’s all you have, but I recommend cutting back on the added salt listed.
- Sour cream: this makes the cake super moist and adds a touch of tanginess.
- Salt: Boosts the other flavors.
- Vanilla: Just a little bit adds a nice touch of flavor.
- Chocolate spread or Nutella: A thin layer of chocolate spread or Nutella through the middle of the batter makes the cake extra delicious! (Do not use chocolate syrup – its consistency is too loose and the cake won’t bake properly.)
- Streusel topping: Butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and finely chopped hazelnuts.
- Powdered sugar, optional: For dusting the finished baked cake.
- Replace the sour cream: Plain yogurt or even plain Greek yogurt can be used instead of sour cream, if preferred.
- Add in some fruit: Raspberries or chopped up strawberries would go so well with the chocolate. (Note baking time might need to be extended, since fruit will release liquid.)
- Use a different nut: The hazelnuts in the topping can be replaced with almonds, pecans, or walnuts. Or simply omit them entirely.
- Drizzle with glaze: We dust our coffee cake with some powdered sugar, but if you prefer a glaze, we are all for it! Whisk together some powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla until you get a drizzling consistency.
How to Make Coffee Cake
This cake is made in a few simple steps. Here’s a brief summary:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details.)
- Whisk together the dry ingredients for the batter.
- Beat together the wet ingredients for the batter.
- Combine dry and wet together.
- Spread half the batter in a 9×9 baking dish, lined with parchment paper.
- Coat with an even layer of chocolate spread (or Nutella.)
- Spoon the remaining batter over the chocolate and spread evenly.
- Sprinkle with the streusel topping.
- Bake, cool, and dust with powdered sugar.
How to Store Coffee Cake
- How long will coffee cake keep? Leftovers can be stored on the counter at room temperature. To help prevent it from drying out, make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or transfer to a resealable plastic bag, or keep it under a cake over. Properly stored, it will keep up to 3 days. You can also store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
- Can you freeze coffee cake? Oh yes, it freezes beautifully. Once baked, allow to cool completely, then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and again in foil, and transfer to a freezer-safe bag. It will keep in the freezer for 2-3 months. Thaw at room temperature in its wrapping.
- To reheat: Enjoy this cake cold, room temperature, or slightly warm. If you want to warm it up a bit, unwrap and pop a slice in the microwave for about 10 seconds or until warm. Or wrap a slice in foil (but remove any plastic wrap) and place in a 350 degree pre-heated oven for about 8-10 minutes.
More Cinnamon Desserts:
For the Streusel Topping
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter , cut into cubes
For the Batter
- 2 cups all-purpose flour , spooned and leveled
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter , softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2/3 cup Chocolate spread or Nutella (not chocolate syrup)
- Powdered sugar , for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, leaving an overhang. Coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Make the streusel topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nuts. Cut in the butter with a pastry blade, fork, or your hands, until mixture resembles course crumbs. Set aside.
- Make the batter: In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy; about 2 minutes. Add in eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. (The batter will be thick.)
- Spread half the batter in the prepared dish. Transfer chocolate spread (or Nutella) to a piping bag (or resealable plastic bag with a corner cut off) and pipe on top of the batter. Gently spread it around in an even layer using an offset spatula. Spoon the remaining batter over the chocolate and spread evenly. Sprinkle with the streusel topping.
- Bake for about 50-55 minutes until the topping is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool for 20 minutes in the dish, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Dust with a bit of powdered sugar, cut into squares and enjoy!