Simple, moist, and utterly decadent, this easy sour cream coffee cake recipe is one for the recipe box! This moist coffee cake with a cinnamon pecan topping and swirl makes a perfect make-ahead breakfast or simple teatime snack.
Even if you don’t drink coffee, you need a good sour cream coffee cake recipe. Coffee cake, like pound cake, or really any simple snack cake, is an easy to mix sheet cake that goes from breakfast to tea to after-dinner dessert effortlessly. No frosting required, eat with your fingers or a fork, pair with your favorite beverage. Simple cakes are seriously the best.
Just make sure to have the napkins handy. The crumble topping on this cake can get a little messy, but it adds a delicious sweet texture and is not to be skipped! Personally, crumble topped cakes have a retro feel for me and remind me of childhood. Acting as a substitute for frosting, the topping also serves to help the cake retain moisture.
Why use sour cream in cake?
Sour cream is a great addition to baking, because it helps retain moisture in the batter, and nobody wants a dry coffee cake! And since you really want a coffee cake to stay nice and moist for a couple of days after baking, sour cream is a perfect addition.
While this easy sour cream coffee cake recipe is hard to resist fresh out of the oven, I usually bake it a day or so before serving. It’s just easier. Coffee cakes are for fuss-free entertaining. This is really a great recipe to bake up for the holidays when you have company coming over. Pair it with my slow cooker overnight bake, or a quiche (bake ahead and reheat in the morning), and you have easy sweet and savory options with minimal morning prep.
Can I freeze coffee cake?
This cake batter can either be baked in one 8×8 inch square pan, or you can split it between two loaf pans. The cake does freeze well, so it’s a good way to bake a bit for unexpected company or a last-minute dessert. Like my gingerbread loaf cake, this is a good recipe to bake for the holidays. And it’s good to send in for teacher breakfasts or other assorted social food occasions. It’s simple, sweet, and the flavors are comforting for those who prefer classic comfort food.
Is coffee cake just for breakfast?
Of course not! I’ve seen coffee cake served for breakfast very rarely. More often coffee cake is enjoyed later in the day. Not that it couldn’t be breakfast, but there’s really no wrong time to enjoy it. You do you.
And you don’t have to have it with coffee. Milk, tea, water, wine… whatever makes you happy is the right pairing. But a good latte (add link) is always a safe bet.
I hope you enjoy this recipe for easy sour cream coffee cake. When’s your favorite time to enjoy a slice?
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping and Swirl
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons butter, melted
- Make the topping and swirl: In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and flour. Melt the butter and pour over the dry ingredients. Stir until large clumps form. Refrigerate while you prepare the batter.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F, then grease and line an 8-inch square dish with parchment paper. set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract. Scrape the bowl as needed.
- In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
- Stir 1/3 of the flour mixture into the butter and sugar. Add 1/2 of the sour cream. Follow with another 1/3 of the flour, the other half of the sour cream, and finish with the remaining flour.
- Pour half of the batter into your prepared baking sheet. Remove the cinnamon pecan streusel from the refrigerator and sprinkle half over the batter in the pan.
- Put the other half of the batter in the pan and then top the cake with the remaining cinnamon pecan streusel.
- Bake the coffee cake for 50-60 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, or with no more than a moist crumb or two. The topping should look browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to stand in the pan for 5-10 minutes before carefully removing to a wire rack to cool completely (see notes).
- I like to use a baking pan with a removable bottom to make this as I can unmold easily. Otherwise, leave a little extra length on your parchment paper to make easy "handles" for lifting the cake. And if you forget, I have let this cool in the pan on a rack, but I watch carefully towards the end of cooking time and pull the second the cake is ready to keep the edges from overbaking.
- If you don't have an 8-inch square pan, a 9-inch round cake pan can be used instead.
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