A slice of Sour Cream Coffee Cake with lots of crunchy walnut cinnamon streusel is the perfect pairing with your coffee on a crisp morning. You really can’t beat a pillowy soft coffee cake to gently wake you up from your slumber. If you can, let me know!
Do you prefer a sweet or savory breakfast? I’m sweet all the way. Give me a coffee and anything from a piece of french toast bake to a couple of coconut buns and Anpan or a slice of this tender and soft Sour Cream Coffee Cake, and I’ll be happy as a clam.
Fun fact: I’ve always wondered why coffee cake is called “coffee cake” when there’s no coffee in it? It’s simply called “coffee cake” because it is often served with coffee. Just like how “tea cakes” are served with tea but they don’t have to be made with tea.
How to make Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
The streusel takes just a few simple steps to make. Note that this one is made with brown sugar instead of the typical granulated sugar. Make sure to keep your streusel cold in the refrigerator or freezer while you make the cake batter, especially important during hot weather.
- Add all your dry ingredients into a small bowl.
- Use a whisk to mix them together.
- Add cold butter. I usually cube the butter (about ¼” – ½” cubes) ahead of time and keep them refrigerated.
- Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture.
- Add the chopped nuts. You’ll want to toast the nuts and chop them ahead of time, so they have time to cool.
- Toss the nuts in the streusel evenly with a fork.
The Simple Cake Batter
You don’t need any fancy tools to make this easy sour cream coffee cake recipe. It comes together quickly by hand.
- Add all the liquid ingredients to a medium bowl
- Beat together with a whisk.
- Prepare your dry ingredients in another bowl and add the dry mixture to the liquid mixture.
- Gently fold in the flour to make the cake batter.
Putting it all together
In order to remove the cake from the pan entirely after baking, you need to butter the pan well so the cake doesn’t stick to it. Then line the pan with parchment paper, leaving the excess hang over the sides, which can be used as handles later to lift the cake out. Make sure to butter the parchment paper too.
- Add half the cake batter to the prepared baking pan.
- Spread the batter out with a spatula and sprinkle about a third to half of the streusel over it.
- Add the rest of the cake batter on top.
- Spread it out into a layer. This step takes some gentle nudging. To make it easier, you could drop the batter in smaller dollops to cover the streusel layer, then nudge it with your spatula.
- Add the rest of the streusel on top.
- Bake for 35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Substitutions and Variations
Can I use yogurt instead of sour cream?
You can substitute plain yogurt or plain Greek yogurt for sour cream. Yogurt has less fat and lower calories than sour cream but will work well in this recipe without compromising the flavor or texture.
What if I don’t like nuts?
You can make the streusel topping without nuts. Your cake will turn out similar to this buttermilk coffee cake, without the crunchy walnut bits.
If you just don’t like walnuts, you can substitute a different type of nuts like pecans, almonds, pistachios, etc.
Other coffee cake variations
Besides changing up the streusel topping with different types of nuts, you can add fresh fruits. It’s a great way to use up leftover fruits. Check out these fruit coffee cakes:
How to Store and Serve Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Do I need to refrigerate sour cream coffee cake?
This coffee cake will keep for up to 3 days at room temperature in an airtight container, without refrigeration. However, it will last longer, up to a week in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the cake for up to 3 months.
When freezing, it is best to cut the cake up into individual serving size, then wrap well with plastic and foil, and freeze in a container or ziploc bag. This way, you can defrost them individually when you want them, and they will defrost quicker too.
How to serve sour cream coffee cake
I love to enjoy my coffee cake warm, so I would typically microwave it for 15-20 seconds, especially if it’s been refrigerated. If the cake has been frozen, you’ll need to defrost it completely and then warm it up in the microwave.
Here are some ideas to serve this sour cream cinnamon coffee cake:
- Coffee cake is obviously great with coffee for breakfast.
- You could also serve it at brunch alongside a savory item like a simple Vegetable Frittata and a refreshing homemade juice.
- It’s also a great snack cake to go with a cozy hot chocolate during the colder months.
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment, send me a photo, rate it and don’t forget to tag me @wildwildwhisk on Instagram. I’d love to see what’s cooking up in your kitchen. Cheers!
Sour Cream Coffee Cake
- ½ cup all-purpose flour (64 g)
- ¼ cup light brown sugar (53 g, packed)
- ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 oz unsalted butter (56 g, cold & cubed)
- ½ cup chopped walnuts (50 g, toasted & cooled)
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (179 g)
- ⅔ cup granulated sugar (122 g)
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup sour cream (235 g, room temperature)
- 2 large egg (room temperature)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (114 g, melted & cooled)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the walnut streusel
- Chop and toast the walnuts until lightly brown and fragrant. Allow the nuts to cool completely.
- Combine flour, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl, mix together thoroughly with a whisk.
- Cut the cold butter into small cubes and add to the dry mixture. Use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the dry mixture until coarse crumbs form.
- Add the cool chopped walnuts and toss evenly with a fork. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Make the cake
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Melt the butter in a microwave-safe bowl for about 30 seconds.
- Use the melted butter to brush an 8” square baking pan, line pan with a piece of parchment paper, letting the excess hang over the sides for handles. Then brush the parchment paper with melted butter as well.
- Set the baking pan aside and allow the rest of the melted butter to cool.
- In a medium mixing bowl, add sour cream, eggs, the cool butter, and vanilla extract, beat with a whisk until smooth.
- In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder, then add the flour mixture to the bowl with the liquid ingredients. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spatula until just combined.
- Add half the cake batter to the prepared pan, and use a spatula to spread it into a flat layer. Sprinkle a third to half of the streusel over the top. Then add the rest of the cake batter over the streusel layer and gently nudge it into a flat layer. Sprinkle the rest of the streusel on top evenly.
- Bake for 35 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Let cool on a wire rack completely before unmolding the cake.
- Toasting the walnuts is recommended to bring out their flavor. You can also use roasted & unsalted walnuts and skip the toasting step.
- The cake batter is thick and may need some gentle nudging to spread the top layer flat. To make it easier, you could drop the batter in smaller dollops evenly over the streusel layer, then nudge it around with your spatula.
- You can use yogurt instead of sour cream for this recipe.
- Different nuts can be used instead of walnuts.
- To reheat, simply cover and microwave for 15 - 20 seconds.