How to Make Coffee Cake

Make a homemade coffee cake recipe and you’ll have some really happy people around your table. Learn how it’s done with our step-by-step directions for a blueberry coffee crumb cake. Or try another easy coffee cake recipe that calls on a secret ingredient for extra richness.

A coffee cake recipe can be square, rectangular, round, or made in a fluted tube (Bundt) pan. Some have streusel or crumb toppings and a drizzle of icing, and others are filled with a ribbon of fruit or berries. Such flexibility allows for plenty of creativity with memorable results. These cakes are quick enough to whip together on a weekend morning, but you can also freeze the cake ahead or opt for the overnight recipe.

Here are two styles of coffee cakes to choose from, complete with how-to instructions for each coffee cake recipe.

    Streusel-Topped Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe with Blueberries

    Every cook needs a basic, go-to cake coffee cake recipe to serve on a brunch table, at breakfast next to a cup of tea or coffee, and as an afternoon snack. This easy coffee cake recipe is just that, and it takes only 30 minutes to prep before popping it into the oven. The sour cream in the batter makes it a rich, tender, and moist coffee cake recipe, while the blueberries add flavor and visual appeal.

    This sour cream coffee cake recipe makes 16 servings.

    1. Prep the Ingredients

    Gather the ingredients you’ll need for this irresistible and easy coffee cake recipe:

    1½      cups packed brown sugar
    1         cup coarsely chopped nuts
    4         teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1         8-ounce carton sour cream
    1         teaspoon baking soda
    ¾        cup granulated sugar
    ½        cup butter, softened
    3         eggs
    1         teaspoon vanilla
    2         cups all-purpose flour
    1½      teaspoons baking powder
    2         cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
    1         recipe Powdered Sugar Icing (see below)

    • Read through the recipe.
    • If using frozen blueberries, place in a colander and run cool water over them until thawed, or set the package in a bowl filled with cool water until the berries are soft.
    • This is also a good time to set out the sour cream, butter, and eggs on the counter. Room-temperature ingredients work best for this cake, and it will take about 30 minutes for the butter to soften.
    • Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.

    2. Make the Streusel Topper

    A streusel topping is a sweet, crumbly mixture that is sprinkled atop the cake—it’s what makes this recipe a classic coffee crumb cake. For topping, in a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, chopped nuts, and ground cinnamon.

    TIP: This mixture is fairly flexible. You can use light or dark brown sugar and any kind of nut, including almonds, walnuts, pecans, and hazelnuts. If you like, substitute 2 teaspoons apple pie spice for 2 teaspoons of the cinnamon or 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg for 1 teaspoon of the cinnamon.

      3. Prepare the Batter

      A rich and moist coffee cake recipe is all about the batter. Sour cream adds moistness, while the butter adds richness and great flavor. Mixing up the batter is practically foolproof.

      • In a small bowl stir together sour cream and baking soda.
      • In a large bowl combine the granulated sugar and butter.
      • Beat sugar and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat until combined. Add flour and baking powder; beat until combined. Beat in the sour cream mixture.

      4. Spread the Batter

      You’ll note that the batter for your homemade coffee cake is thicker than batter for regular cakes. That means you’ll have to call on our pour-and-spread technique:

      • Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan. Using a flat-edge spatula, spread the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan.

      5. Add Middle Layer

      Use your hands or a large spoon to sprinkle the berries evenly over the batter. Next, sprinkle with half of the streusel topping to add one of the tender crumb layers to your coffee crumb cake.

      TIP: If you like, you can omit the blueberries or substitute fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed) or 1 to 1-1/2 cups dried cherries for the blueberries.

      6. Add Final Layers

      Carefully pour the remaining batter over the layers in pan, and spread it evenly to cover the berries and streusel. Sprinkle evenly with the remaining streusel topping.

      TIP: If you like, you can omit the blueberries or substitute fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed) or 1 to 1-1/2 cups dried cherries for the blueberries.

      7. Bake

      Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven, and bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Carefully remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. While cooling, stir together the powdered sugar icing.

      TIP: Test the cake at 35 minutes, and try to avoid the blueberries when inserting the toothpick. If batter or crumbs are attached to the toothpick, return the cake to the oven for 3 to 5 minutes longer and test again. Baking to just the right doneness will ensure that this coffee cake recipe remains moist and tender.

       

      8. Make the Powdered Sugar Icing

      What’s better than a coffee crumb cake? A coffee crumb cake topped with powdered sugar icing! Here’s how to make the icing for your homemade coffee cake.

      • In a small bowl stir together ½ cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons milk, and ¼ teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, to make the icing a drizzling consistency. Using a whisk or spoon, drizzle the icing over the slightly cooled cake; serve warm or cool completely. A serrated knife works best for cutting the cake. Makes 16 servings.                     

      To Freeze Homemade Coffee Cake: Prepare the coffee cake as directed, except cool completely and do not drizzle with icing. Leave the cake in the pan and cover with a lid or foil, or cut into pieces and place in a freezer container and cover. Label with the recipe name and date, and freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature and drizzle with icing.

      Overnight Coffee Cake Recipe

      This version of coffee crumb cake is also made in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan. The advantage of this easy coffee cake recipe is that once the cake is assembled, you can either bake it right away or chill it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours as a convenient make-ahead option. It makes 15 or 16 servings.

      1. Prep the Pan and Ingredients

      Gather your ingredients for this easy coffee cake recipe:

      3          cups all-purpose flour
      1½       teaspoons baking powder
      1½       teaspoons baking soda
      1          teaspoon salt
      1          cup butter, softened
      1¼       cups granulated sugar
      3          eggs
      1          15-ounce carton ricotta cheese
      ¾         cup chopped nuts (any kind)
      ½         cup packed dark brown sugar
      2          tablespoons toasted wheat germ
      1          tablespoon ground cinnamon
      1          teaspoon ground nutmeg

      • Read through the recipe.
      • This is a good time to set out the butter, eggs, and ricotta cheese on the counter. Room-temperature ingredients work best for this cake, and it will take about 30 minutes for the butter to soften.
      • Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 13x9x2-inch baking pan; set aside.
      • If you plan to bake this coffee cake recipe right away, preheat the oven to 350°F.
      • In a 3-quart bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

      2. Make the Batter and Streusel Topper

      • For batter, in a 4-quart mixing bowl beat butter on medium speed for 30 seconds. Add granulated sugar and beat until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta cheese. Beat in as much of the flour mixture as you can. Stir in any remaining flour mixture with a spoon.
      • Using a flat-edge spatula, spread the batter in the prepared pan.
      • For streusel topper, in a small bowl combine chopped nuts, dark brown sugar, toasted wheat germ, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the pan. If desired, cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

      3. Bake and Serve Warm

      If refrigerated, remove the cake from the refrigerator and uncover. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

      Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack. Serve warm. Makes 15 servings.

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