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May 2, 2011 01:23 PM

Best recipe for coffee cake?

Hello -

Grew up in a family of bakers (mostly Swedes and Germans). Anybody out there know how to bake a great coffee cake? Looking for a taste of home.


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  1. More info please! Do you want a yeast-based coffee cake (light/airy/bread-like?) or a denser cake? One with a streusel? Fruit? Crumb-topping?

    7 Replies
    1. re: nothingswrong

      The ones from my youth were pretty cake-like, with a crunchy-ish topping, cinnamon flavoring, and occasionally an apple layer in the middle.

      The other ones were usually in a circle, had an almost pastry like texture (very airy), and had a glaze on top and white frosting on top of that.

      1. re: Westy

        My mother-in-law's sour cream coffee cakes is wonderful. And it sounds like the style you are describing: a moist, rich yellow cake with a cinnamon streusel layer in the middle and on top.

        Sour Cream Coffee Cake

        1 c. sour cream
        1 t. baking soda
        ½ c. butter, softened
        1 c. sugar
        2 eggs, beaten
        1 t. vanilla
        1 ¾ c. flour
        2 t. baking powder

        1/4 - 1/2 c. brown sugar (depends on your personal taste)
        2 t. cinnamon
        1/4 - 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts (once again, depends on your preference, you can easily leave out the nuts if you wish)

        Preheat oven to 350.

        Grease and flour an 8 x 8 pan. Combine sour cream and baking soda in a bowl, mix to blend. Set aside (it will double in bulk). Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla, mix well. Combine flour and baking powder in a bowl. Alternately mix in portions of the flour mixture and the sour cream mixture to the batter, ending with flour.

        Spread half of the batter in the pan. Sprinkle with half of the topping mixture. Cover with remaining batter. Sprinkle with the rest of the topping mixture.

        Bake for 30 – 40 minutes.

        1. re: TorontoJo

          Made this yesterday for my father-in-law. Very nice! I added more vanilla ( my preference ) and a sprinkle of chocolate chips in the middle. Nice, tender cake. Thanks, TorontoJo!

          1. re: MrsCris

            Glad it turned out well for you! To me, it's cake at it's most basic. I love it and can eat far too much of it in one sitting. :) I've used the cake base for cupcakes and really liked them because it's not overly sweet. I can see how more vanilla would be really good.

          2. re: TorontoJo

            Your recipe is almost identical to mine (well, actually it's my mother's and me, my mother and my sister have been making it for years). It is always a hit...always! I just noticed that mine has chocolate chips so a slight difference.

            Sour Cream Coffee Cake


            ¼ Cup Butter (unsalted)
            1 Cup Sugar
            ½ pint Sour Cream (1 cup) – you can use low-fat if desired
            2 Eggs
            1 Tsp. Vanilla
            ¼ Tsp. Salt
            2 Cups Flour
            1 Tsp. Baking Powder
            1 Tsp. Baking Soda


            ¾ Cup Chopped Walnuts
            2 Tsp. Cinnamon
            ¼ Cup Sugar
            ¾ Cup Chocolate Chips (semi-sweet)

            Preheat over to 350.

            Cream butter. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Add vanilla.

            Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add alternately with the sour cream blending well.

            Pour half the batter into a well-greased baking pan.

            Combine filling ingredients. Sprinkle half of mixture over batter in pan. Top with remaining batter and then sprinkle with remaining filling mixture. Slightly press chocolate chips and nuts down so that they stay on the cake when it is baked.

            Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Test with a toothpick – it might need a little more time in the oven (like 10 or 15 minutes).

            1. re: valerie

              My recipe (my mother's as well!) is very close to yours and TorontoJo's, although mine calls for 2 cups of sugar to the same amount of flour (I do recall it being rather sweet - it's been a long time since I made it). The chocolate chips sound like a tasty addition - I will have to try that next time!

          3. re: Westy

            I think the second one you describe is a type of kringle/kringler. It is yeast based and Beatrice Ojakangas is a good source for a recipe.

        2. Coffee Cake from Duncan Hines (the food critic that founded the cake company) 1948

          Coffee Cake from AP Food Editor - 1955

          Award Winning Coffee Cake (1992 Vermont Apple Bake-Off

          Crumb Coffee Cake (Won 1st prize in Sour Cream contest from St Petersburg Times newspaper 1950

          One-Step Tropical Coffee Cake (1973 Pilsbury Bake Off winner

          Blueberry Coffee Cake (2nd Prize Suncoast Recipe Contest

          Peach Coffee Cake (2nd place Farmers Market summer dessert contest

          Yeast Coffee Cake (Winner Wisconsin State Fair 1956

          Cranberry Crown Coffee Cake (3rd place Suncoast Recipe Contest using cranberries 1968


          8 Replies
          1. re: Antilope

            wow! i need to come to YOU, antilope, when i need something!!! talk about thorough!!! impressive!

            i tried the coffee cake out of "flour" and it blew up all over my oven (literally). then i tried a crumb cake off of cook's illustrated's website (with extra "crumb") and it was fantastic!

            1. re: Antilope

              Anti, sadly most of the links are a-wall now.

              1. re: HillJ

                Google changed part of their URL. I've gone back and copied the new URL format.
                They are too long to work here. I have converted the URL's to TinyURL.
                They all work now (unless Google changes them again).

                Coffee Cake from Duncan Hines (the food critic that founded the cake company) 1948

                Coffee Cake from AP Food Editor - 1955

                Award Winning Coffee Cake (1992 Vermont Apple Bake-Off

                Crumb Coffee Cake (Won 1st prize in Sour Cream contest from St Petersburg Times newspaper 1950

                One-Step Tropical Coffee Cake (1973 Pilsbury Bake Off winner).

                Blueberry Coffee Cake (2nd Prize Suncoast Recipe Contest).

                Peach Coffee Cake (2nd place Farmers Market summer dessert contest

                Yeast Coffee Cake (Winner Wisconsin State Fair 1956

                Cranberry Crown Coffee Cake (3rd place Suncoast Recipe Contest using cranberries 1968).

                  1. re: Antilope

                    The trouble with links is they're a moving target -- all broken again and search isn't helping refind that first one

                    1. re: MidwesternerTT

                      Here is my favourite, go to coffee cake. Make it usually once a year or so, great for a group. Delish when warmed up and lasts (stays moist) for a few days easily

                      caramel apple coffee cake

                      1. re: MidwesternerTT

                        Go up about 3 messages. The links in my original message are working again.

                        Duncan Hines Coffee Cake from 1948

                        <<<Paraphrased recipe>>>

                        Makes 8 servings

                        1 cup sugar
                        5 Tbsp butter
                        1 egg, beaten well
                        1/2 cup milk
                        1/2 cup cream
                        1 tsp vanilla
                        2 cups flour
                        1/2 tsp salt
                        2 tsp baking powder
                        1/3 cup sugar
                        1/2 tsp cinnamon
                        1 cup walnuts, ground

                        Cream together 1 cup of sugar and butter.
                        Beat egg and add to above.
                        Then blend into a mixture of the milk, cream and vanilla.
                        Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Add dry
                        ingredients to the wet ingredients and beat well.
                        Pour mixture into a shallow pan about 1-inch deep.
                        Sprinkle top with 1/3 cup of sugar, then sprinkle top with
                        cinnamon and ground walnuts. Finally dot top with butter.
                        Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes until it is done.

                        Source: Food Critic Duncan Hines, from his Nov 26, 1948 newspaper column. St Petersburg Times.

                        1. re: Antilope

                          Thanks very much, Antilope for the re-check of the links and (most especially) for taking the time to paraphrase.

                1. If you like cranberries, this is delicious!

                  Cranberry Nut Coffee Cake

                  ½ cup butter
                  1 cup sugar
                  2 eggs
                  1 teaspoon baking powder
                  1 teaspoon baking soda
                  2 cups flour
                  ½ teaspoon salt
                  1 cup sour cream
                  1 teaspoon almond extract
                  1 16-oz can whole cranberry sauce
                  ½ cup chopped walnuts

                  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan.

                  Cream butter and sugar. Add unbeaten eggs 1 at a time. Combine dry ingredients and add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream ending with dry ingredients. Add almond extract.

                  Spoon half the batter into greased tube pan. Spread ½ of cranberry sauce evenly over batter. Top with remaining batter and then remaining cranberry sauce. Sprinkle top with nuts. Bake for about 55 – 60 minutes or until done.

                  Cool in pan 5 minutes then turn onto rack and cool another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare icing.

                  ¾ cup confectioners sugar
                  ½ teaspoon almond extract
                  2 tablespoons warm water

                  Combine and drizzle over top of warm cake, letting some spill down sides.

                  1. I love, love, love Melissa Clark's rhubarb coffee cake.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: lilgi

                      Do you have the recipe handy? That sounds really good.

                      (ED) Is this it?


                      1. re: chowser

                        Yes, that's the one. The tang makes a nice contrast with the sweetness of the coffee cake. This doesn't last too long when I make it, I keep small frozen batches of rhubarb for this.

                    2. I love Margaret Fox' coffee cake - in the cafe Beaujolais cookbook. It sounds exactly like what you are looking for.