This ultra moist sour cream coffee cake is topped with a brown sugar and walnut crumb topping. It’s easy to make and perfect for breakfast or dessert.
The truth is, I don’t have many family recipes. My family loves to eat baked goods, but for some reason, I am really the only one who bakes them. Or so I thought. It turns out my aunt had been holding her mom’s coffee cake recipe hostage for years. But this year, she finally gave it over.
Unlike some overly sweet or bland tasting coffee cakes you may have gotten from the store, this beauty has the perfect balance of sweet buttery goodness with a hint of tang (from the sour cream, of course). And because I love the crumb topping (we all know it’s the best part) I put an extra layer in the middle!
Ingredients You Need For The Sour Cream Coffee Cake:
- Unsalted butter. Always use unsalted butter as it gives you complete control over the flavor of a recipe.
- All-purpose flour. This is the most common type of flour used in the US and can be found at any grocery store. Make sure you “fluff” your flour with a fork or the measuring cup before measuring it.
- Sugar: To add sweetness and flavor to your baked goods!
- Eggs: I always suggest using “large eggs” when baking. The eggs add structure and flavor to our baked goods, and also combine with other ingredients to act as a leavening agent.
- Baking soda: This is a leavening agent that reacts with acids in your recipe (think brown sugar or lemon juice). The reaction causes your baked goods to rise.
- Baking powder: This is another leavening agent. It is made of baking soda + a dry acid. When added to liquid, the acid is activated, making your baked goods rise.
- Salt: Enhances the flavors in our baked goods – especially the butter! I prefer using Kosher salt, but you can use any kind of salt you have on hand!
- Sour cream: Full Fat sour cream is going to give you the best results. It makes our baked goods super moist and rich, while also adding that amazing tangy flavor.
- Vanilla Extract: It works to enhance all the flavors in our recipe. While skipping it will not change the structure of your baked goods, it can leave your baked goods tasting bland and boring.
- Cinnamon: There to add some amazing flavor!
Ingredients You Need For The Coffee Cake Topping:
- Light Brown Sugar: The molasses in brown sugar gives your baked goods a more robust flavor and allows it to hold more moisture. This usually results in a chewy texture.
- Cinnamon: Just like in the cake, the cinnamon is there to add flavor. And it just goes so well with brown sugar!
- Walnuts: These are optional – but I love me some crunch.
Why do we use baking soda and baking powder?
This Sour Cream Coffee Cake uses both baking soda and baking powder. While they are both leavening agents, they are used for different purposes. Baking soda is typically used in recipes that have an acid in them (light brown sugar, lemon juice, or yogurt). While baking powder is typically used in recipes that do not have an added acid (as the acid is already in the baking powder).
But sometimes we see recipes that use both. Here are 2 reasons why:
- While the baking soda completely neutralizes the acid (and doesn’t force the baked goods to rise enough), we use the baking powder to give it a little extra umph (aka more rise).
- Too much baking soda can neutralize the flavor of the acid. And most of the time, we want our acid to provide flavor (in this case, our sour cream). So we reduce the baking soda (to ensure flavor) and add baking powder to make sure we still get that lift.
Can I add chocolate to this Sour Cream Coffee Cake?
Of course. My aunt’s mom used to add a whole bag of chocolate chips to this recipe! I am more of a classic sour cream coffee cake kind of girl – and I also appreciate a heavy crumb topping. But if chocolate chips in coffee cake is your thing, you can definitely go for it.
If you want to go with my aunt’s version, you can add 1 cup of chocolate chips to this recipe. Spread ½ a cup over the middle crumb layer and the other ½ cup on top after you place the top crumb layer.
What if I don’t have a tube pan?
I got you covered. Not everyone has a tube pan at home, and that’s ok. It shouldn’t stop you from making coffee cake. Check out this cool trick you can use to make your own tube pan at home.
Can I make my Sour Cream Coffee Cake ahead of time?
Yep! You can make it the night before. Let it come to room temperature and then cover it tightly with plastic wrap and let it sit at room temperature overnight.
You can also wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer for up to 45 days. Just make sure you let it thaw in the fridge overnight and then allow it to come to room temperature again before you serve it.
Now you have everything you need to start making coffee cake! And like I said, if you are a classic coffee cake girl like me, go ahead and make this recipe as it is. But if you LOVE chocolate – go ahead and add the chocolate chips in the middle and top layer!
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- Electric Mixer
- Tube Pan
For The Cake
- 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature (226g)
- 1 cup sugar (100g)
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 cups all purpose flour (225g)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sour cream (245g)
For The Topping
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed (213g)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups walnuts, chopped (176g)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray the tube pan with non-stick spray.
- In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients and set aside.
- In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar. Cream until fluffy (about 5 minutes).
- Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until just combined.
- In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
- Add 1/2 of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix on low/medium speed until combined.
- Add ½ of the sour cream. Mix until incorporated.
- Add the other half of the dry ingredient mixture. Mix on low/medium speed until just combined.
- Add the remaining sour cream mixture. Mix until combined.
- Pour half of the cake mixture in the tube pan.
- Spread half of the topping mixture evenly over the batter.
- Add the other half of the cake mixture to the pan.
- Spread the remaining topping mixture evenly over the batter.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cake to cool before removing it from pan (about 45 - 60 minutes).