The quintessential breakfast coffee cake – soft and moist, with a middle layer cinnamon filling and crumbly cinnamon topping. A perfect pair to your coffee (and tea too)! The sour cream in this coffee cake keeps it very moist and adds a touch of tanginess.
My husband lives on coffee, so I’m constantly looking for recipes that he can pair with it. Enter coffee cake…Now don’t be surprise if this coffee cake has no coffee ingredient at all. It’s called coffee cake because it’s meant to be paired with coffee (…or tea for me!). They’re a common part of a coffee break, a tradition that goes back to the first coffee houses in the late 16th century in Germany.
The best thing about this coffee cake is that it’s incredibly soft and tender, with a bit of crunch from the cinnamon crumb topping. It is also not very sweet.
P.S. Do you need to make this vanilla cake in another pan size and shape? Download your free Baking Pan Conversion Chart!
tips, tricks, and techniques for success
- Cake flour is an important ingredient to make this cake fluffy and tender, but can be substituted with a combination of all-purpose flour and cornstarch if it is not available:
CAKE FLOUR SUBSTITUTE
To make 1 cup of cake flour substitute: Combine 16 grams (2 tablespoons) of cornstarch and 105 grams (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) all-purpose flour. Sift the two ingredients together three times to combine the ingredients and aerate the flour so that it will function more like cake flour.
- This recipe calls for the cake flour to be sifted twice. It is important not to skip this step. You may ask why? The short answer is because sifting flour and other dry ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, salt) give you a more tender and finer crumb. Sifting spreads out the flour and breaks up any lumps that can weigh down the batter. It truly does make a difference!
- It is extremely important that your ingredients are at room temperature for this recipe. Cold ingredients do not incorporate together as easily, or even at all! This results in clumpy buttercreams, dense cookies, flat breads, etc.
- Cream the butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. This usually takes 3-4 minutes, if using a stand mixer, at medium-high speed. This process forces air to get trapped in a web of sugar and fat particles and helps make your cake rise and keeps it very light and tender.
RELATED CONTENT:Stand Mixer Speed Control Guide
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here’s what you’ll need…
TOOLS & EQUIPMENT:
- digital food scale
- Ditch your cups and weigh your ingredients – it will give you consistent results every time. Try it and you will never look back on using cups again! There are a lot of reasons why you should measure by weight and entirely a topic of its own – I should write a separate post soon. 🙂
- 9×9 square pan
- I use and recommend Williams Sonoma Gold Touch Square Pan. It heats up evenly and cools down quickly, avoiding overcooked baked goods!
- parchment paper
- mixing bowl
- pastry blender (optional)
- sifter or a fine mesh sieve
- stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
- rubber spatula
- offset spatula (optional)
For the Cinnamon Crumb Topping:
- 125 grams brown sugar
- 50 grams white granulated sugar
- 90 grams all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 85 grams unsulated butter, cold and cut into small pieces
For the Cake Batter:
- 210 grams cake flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 170 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 200 grams white granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 180 grams sour cream, at room temperature
How to make Cinnamon Crumb Coffee Cake
PREPARATION: Preheat your oven to 350F (177C). Grease and line a 9 x 9 (23 x 23 cm) square pan.
I intentionally cut the parchment paper longer on the 2 opposite sides so it’s easier to lift the cake later on. I put a clip on each side to make sure the hanging parchment paper won’t go over the batter while in the oven.
MIS EN PLACE. Measure all the ingredients needed for the cake batter. Set aside.
**Ensure that all the ingredients are at room temperature.
CREAM THE BUTTER AND SUGAR. In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, place the butter and white granulated sugar and cream on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
ALTERNATE ADDING THE DRY INGREDIENTS AND SOUR CREAM. With the mixer still running on medium-low speed, add about one quarter of the dry ingredients into the bowl. Once the flour is just incorporated into the batter, add about one third of the sour cream. Continue alternating adding the dry ingredients with the sour cream, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. Scrape the sides of the bowl in between, if needed, to ensure that everything is incorporated. The cake batter should be thick and heavy.
It’s easy to overmix the flour at this point, so it’s important to note that you don’t need to mix it for a long time. Overmixing can yield to a dry and chewy cake.
Here’s the print-friendly recipe. Enjoy!