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A simple yet decadent Sour Cream Coffee Cake is the best recipe for a holiday breakfast or a special brunch. The rich butter cake includes cinnamon pecan streusel for a surprise filling and a crunchy crumb topping, and is finished with a drizzle of icing. It’s a show-stopping morning treat that you can easily prepare in advance. Perfect for entertaining!

Front shot of a Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe with a slice taken out

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

With its warm spices, rich flavor, and sweet glaze, this Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe is the ultimate breakfast or brunch for special occasions. Whether you’re hosting guests for a long Thanksgiving weekend, preparing a festive Christmas spread, or just spoiling your family with a special Sunday treat, this easy cinnamon coffee cake is a guaranteed hit. Best of all, you can bake it ahead of time, sleep in, and pour yourself a warm cup of coffee in the morning. There’s no need to wake up early!

What is Sour Cream Coffee Cake?

Old-fashioned Sour Cream Coffee Cake is a moist, dense cake with a rich, smooth, buttery inside, a cinnamon streusel filling, and a crisp, golden brown crust. It’s traditionally prepared in a Bundt pan or tube pan, but can also be baked in two loaf pans. This simple coffee cake recipe gets its name because of the sour cream in the batter.

What does sour cream do to a cake?

The sour cream is an important ingredient, thanks to its high fat content and its acidity. The sour cream adds moisture without thinning the batter, adds fat for creaminess, helps to control the browning, and activates the baking soda.

Why is it called coffee cake?

What makes a coffee cake a coffee cake — especially if coffee isn’t one of the ingredients?! In America we often call this type of dish a coffee cake because the traditional sweet pound cake is an ideal complement to a cup of coffee or a foamy latte. When you’ve got a warm beverage and a slice of this decadent treat on your plate, it’s definitely not bad to eat cake for breakfast!

Side shot of a slice of the best sour cream coffee cake recipe served on a white and gold plate

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a streusel coffee cake recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Pecans: a toasty, nutty crunch in the streusel filling and on top.
  • All-purpose flour: the base of the cake. You can use cake flour, too.
  • Light brown sugar and granulated sugar: for a perfectly sweet cake.
  • Eggs: four large eggs give the cake structure.
  • Sour cream: use full-fat sour cream for the best flavor and texture.
  • Vanilla extract: for warm flavor.
  • Baking powder and baking soda: leavening agents that help the cake rise.
  • Butter: I use salted butter for extra flavor. Make sure that it’s softened at room temperature so that it evenly mixes with the other ingredients. You can substitute with unsalted butter, but you may need to add some extra salt to both the streusel and batter.
  • Cinnamon and kosher salt: for extra flavor.
  • Confectioners’ sugar and milk: for the glaze.

What does adding sour cream to cake do?

The sour cream is an important ingredient in this cake, thanks to its high fat content and its acidity. The sour cream adds moisture without thinning the batter, adds fat for creaminess, helps to control the browning, adds tenderness to the crumb, and activates the baking soda.

How to Make Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Prep ahead for quick grab-and-go breakfasts during the week, serve it for a holiday brunch, or enjoy a slice with a cozy drink for an afternoon snack. Kids and adults all go crazy for this classic coffee cake!

I ran through many different versions until I landed on my favorite — with numerous failed attempts along the way. Inspired by the classic Ina Garten sour cream coffee cake, I wanted a simple, buttery cake — but with a thicker, more prominent layer of streusel throughout and a moist, tender crumb. I can safely say that this is the best sour cream coffee cake recipe I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tried many)! Hope you love it, too!

  1. Prepare Streusel: In a small bowl, use your hands to work together the chopped nuts, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt to form a crumble. Set aside.
  2. Make Batter: Using an electric mixer, cream together the wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add the sifted flour mixture to the butter mixture; combine. The batter will be nice and thick!
  3. Layer: Spoon half of the streusel in the bottom of a greased and floured Bundt pan. When you invert the cake after it’s baked, this will become the cinnamon crumb topping, giving the cake an even more delicious flavor and texture on the outside. Top with half of the batter. Repeat the layers once more, finishing with the remaining batter on top.
  4. Bake: Bake the cake in a 350°F oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. My cake is typically done by the 50-minute mark, so check it early to make sure that your cake doesn’t burn. After 15 minutes, invert the cake onto a wire cooling rack.
  5. Glaze: Once the cake is cool, drizzle the icing over top.
Bowl of cinnamon streusel
Sour cream coffee cake batter in a stand mixer
Process shot showing how to make sour cream coffee cake in a Bundt pan
Process shot of making cinnamon coffee cake in a Bundt pan
Cooling classic coffee cake recipe on a wire rack
Drizzling glaze on a cinnamon coffee cake

How to Serve Sour Cream Cinnamon Coffee Cake

This cake is perfect on its own with a hot cup of coffee, tea or mulled cider. For a bright, fresh touch, garnish with fresh berries.

For a more elaborate brunch spread, try pairing the cake with any of these other morning dishes:

Spatula lifting a slice of sour cream coffee cake

Storage

  • Wrapped tightly, the cake will last at room temperature for up to 2 days. It does not need to be refrigerated.
  • Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • If you’re enjoying cake a day (or more) later, reheat the leftovers to give the slices a nice, soft texture. Just loosely cover an individual slice and microwave for 10-15 seconds (or until warm).

How to Freeze Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Allow the cake to cool completely. Do not glaze. Wrap tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter overnight. Once the cake is completely thawed, drizzle with icing and serve!

Front shot of a thick slice of cinnamon coffee cake on a gold rimmed plate

Recipe Variations – Classic Coffee Cake

  • Instead of all-purpose flour, use an equal amount of cake flour for an even lighter crumb.
  • Swap out the pecans and use chopped walnuts or almonds.
  • If you don’t have a Bundt pan, you can prepare this cake in a tube pan. For a tube pan, sprinkle the streusel topping in the middle of the batter and on top of the batter. Since you won’t invert the tube pan in the same way that you invert a Bundt pan, you want to make sure that you end up with the streusel topping on the top (not bottom) of your cake.
  • Sour Cream Coffee Cake Loaf: Bake this recipe in two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans. Remember to add the streusel to the middle and top of the cake (not the bottom of the pan). Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Instead of icing, dust the top of the coffee cake with powdered sugar.
  • Chocolate Chip Sour Cream Coffee Cake: add about 12 ounces (1 bag) chocolate chips to the cake batter.
  • Blueberry Sour Cream Coffee Cake: Add about 2 cups of fresh or frozen blueberries to the cake batter.
Glaze on a top sour cream streusel coffee cake

Tips for the Best Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

  • Chop the nuts very fine so that they blend into the streusel easily. You don’t want them ground into a powder, but small bits are ideal. I like to buy chopped pecans and then pulse them a couple of times in a mini food processor to create slightly smaller pieces. You can also do this with a large knife.
  • Make sure that the ingredients are all at room temperature before preparing the batter.
  • Do not overmix the batter, or the cake will become dense and dry. Just combine all of the ingredients until they come together, then stop.
  • The batter is supposed to be very thick, so don’t be alarmed. This will yield a rich, buttery cake for breakfast — what could be finer?!
  • A light-colored or gold Bundt pan is always best to ensure even baking and color. Dark metal pans tend to cause the exterior of the cake to burn before the center is cooked through.
Front shot of a classic coffee cake served on a cake stand

What can I do with a lot of sour cream?

If you have extra sour cream in your fridge, use it up with one of these recipes:

More Coffee Cake Recipes to Try

Front shot of a Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe with a slice taken out

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Cooling Time 2 hours
Total: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings 12 – 16 slices
Calories 484 kcal
A simple yet decadent Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel is the best treat for a holiday breakfast or a special brunch!

Ingredients
  

FOR THE STREUSEL:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) salted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled

FOR THE CAKE:

  • ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups (10 oz) sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

FOR THE GLAZE:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour a Bundt pan.

PREPARE THE STREUSEL:

  • In a medium bowl, combine chopped nuts, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add chilled butter and mix together with your fingers until it forms a crumble. Set aside.

PREPARE THE CAKE BATTER:

  • In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together softened butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 4 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, beating until completely combined. Mix in sour cream and vanilla extract.
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. While the mixer is running on low speed, gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Mix just until combined – do not overmix.
  • Sprinkle half of the streusel mixture in the prepared pan. Top with half of the batter. Add remaining streusel, and then remaining batter.
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes; invert cake onto wire rack, and let cool completely before glazing (about 2 hours).

PREPARE THE GLAZE:

  • Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk and vanilla in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. If the glaze seems too thin, add more powdered sugar. If the glaze seems too thick, add a small amount of milk.
  • Drizzle glaze over the top of the cool cake.

Notes

  • Wrapped tightly, the cake will last at room temperature for up to 2 days. It does not need to be refrigerated.
  • Store the cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
  • If you’re enjoying cake a day (or more) later, reheat the leftovers to give the slices a nice, soft texture. Just loosely cover an individual slice and microwave for 10-15 seconds (or until warm).
  • To Freeze: Allow the cake to cool completely. Do not glaze. Wrap tightly with a layer of plastic wrap and then a layer of foil. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw on the counter overnight. Once the cake is completely thawed, drizzle with icing and serve!

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (1/16 of the cake)Calories: 484kcalCarbohydrates: 63gProtein: 5gFat: 24gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 344mgPotassium: 181mgFiber: 2gSugar: 41gVitamin A: 618IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 83mgIron: 2mg
Keyword: cinnamon coffee cake, sour cream coffee cake
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. You’ve said you are not a baker but you are killing it lately! I am loving the homemade desserts and the increased number of scratch recipes, which are still easy to make. A wonderful blog and site to visit. I look forward to my Sunday email every week. Thank you for all you do and for your lovely weekly recap – reminds me of all the fun we had when our kids were young! Happy holidays to you and your cute family.

    1. Thank you, Teresa! I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting more with the baking recently, so I’m glad to know that you appreciate more of the made-from-scratch recipes, too. It’s definitely easier to spend a little bit more time on something now that my boys are getting older. Thanks again for your kind note and for reading along with us. Have a great holiday!

  2. 5 stars
    Hello!

    I made this in a 9×5 pan for the two of us. (cut the recipe in half)
    Husband really loved it – I thought it was a trifle sweet but I am that way haha. I also left off the glaze as the streusel was plenty of yum.
    Great recipe!
    Shelly

    1. Hi, Shelly! Thanks so much for your note. I’m glad to know that it worked well for you in the smaller pan. Great tip for those who want less cake — cut it in half! Take care, and have a great week. 🙂

  3. This is a Christmas am tradition in our family, but we also add drained maraschino cherries to it as we put in the streusal.