Coffee Cake

The name “coffee cake” says it all: you’re making a cake but have an excuse to eat it before 10 am. Get coffee cake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.
Because I tend to enjoy sweet things more for breakfast than after-dinner dessert, coffee cake has always been high on my list. The name says it all: you’re making a cake but have an excuse to eat it in the morning.

Although the sugar and fat in granola and muffin recipes might be scaled down or up to make them healthier or more like candy or cupcakes, coffee cakes tend to be both sweet and buttery. They have far more sugar than your standard “sweet” breakfast fare, from a pinch in crepes, to molasses-sweetened Gingerbread Pancakes, to a few tablespoons in scones. So I save my longtime coffee cake favorites for special occasions, tweaking them where I can to cut back on the richness but mostly just enjoying every bite.


Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 4 main ingredients plus a bunch of baking staples.
1. Mix the streusel.
2. Mix the batter.
3. Layer the batter and streusel in the pan.
4. Bake and enjoy.

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Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 8–10
  • Difficulty: 3
  • Print
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and/or pecans
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1 cup Cultured Buttermilk
2 teaspoons Homemade Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup Grandma Tiny’s Chunky Applesauce
3 tablespoons melted butter, divided
2 tablespoons rolled oats

In a large bowl, use a fork to mix the sugars, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Transfer 3/4 cup of the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the nuts; set this streusel mixture aside. To the nut-free mixture, stir in the flours, baking powder, and baking soda using a fork.

In another bowl or small glass measuring cup, beat the egg and then stir in the buttermilk and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the nut-free mixture, along with the applesauce and 2 tablespoons of melted butter; stir just until it forms a batter.

Spoon half of the batter into a buttered 8-inch-round springform pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel mixture. Drop the remaining batter in tablespoonfuls over the streusel, and then spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Add the remaining melted butter and rolled oats to the remaining streusel mixture, and then sprinkle this over the batter.

Bake at 350°F for 50–55 minutes, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serves 8–10.

Tips & Tricks
  • I recommend homemade ingredients for this recipe, but don’t worry if you don’t have everything. By substituting in store-bought ingredients as needed, you’ll appreciate your homemade ones even more next time.
  • This recipe has more ingredients than many coffee cakes (see below), but you should have most of them in your kitchen if you bake regularly. Many are doubled up to build flavor or reduce fat, so you can always use just one type of sugar, skip the nuts, add only all-purpose flour, and replace the applesauce with more butter.
  • Buttermilk has the perfect consistency and tang for this recipe, but I’m more likely to have Homemade Sour Cream on hand, so I often sub that in. Fresh Yogurt and yogurt whey work too, but you may need a bit more or less in the batter.
  • I like a springform pan for this coffee cake because it’s easy to cut and serve and shows off the sides. You can choose another type of 8-inch pan instead.
  • For a different presentation, turn this cake into muffins: Layer the batter, streusel, and remaining batter in buttered muffin cups. Swirl the layers a wooden skewer, and then sprinkle each top with about 1 tablespoon of the nut-and-oat mixture. Bake for just 20–25 minutes, until the muffins are golden and baked through.


The name “coffee cake” says it all: you’re making a cake but have an excuse to eat it before 10 am. Get coffee cake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.

Twice as Tasty

The name “coffee cake” says it all: you’re making a cake but have an excuse to eat it before 10 am. Get coffee cake recipes at TwiceasTasty.com.My mom sometimes made coffee cake at home for brunch gatherings when I was growing up, but once I started drinking coffee and venturing into the city on my own, I often sought out the sweet treat instead of lunch or as a post-rehearsal snack. One of my favorites was a marionberry coffee cake from the now-closed Hawthorne Street Cafe in Portland, Oregon. My dad grew other types of berries, so when I began trying to replicate the cafe’s recipe at home I reached for those: boysenberries, loganberries, and blueberries. These days I don’t hesitate to drop in my homegrown raspberries, currants, and cherries.

You can use any or a blend of these or other berries, but frozen, unthawed ones work best: they keep the cake moist and don’t immediately bleed color into the batter. As with Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake, you can swap out types of sugar and flour, but I tend to stick with the full butter in this recipe rather than replacing some with applesauce to keep the focus on the berry flavor.

Ready to give it a try? Full details are in the recipe below, but here are the basics:
You need just 3 main ingredients plus a bunch of baking staples.
1. Make the topping.
2. Mix the batter.
3. Fill the pan with batter and berries.
4. Bake and enjoy.

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Big Berry Coffee Cake

  • Servings: 10–12
  • Difficulty: 2
  • Print
3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1-1/2 cups rolled oats, divided
1 cup melted butter, divided
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 egg
1 teaspoon Homemade Vanilla Extract
3/4 cup milk
3 cups frozen berries

In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup each of the sugar, all-purpose flour, oats, and butter. Add the cinnamon and blend together until crumbly; set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the remaining all-purpose flour and oats with the whole-wheat flour and baking powder; set aside. In another bowl or medium glass measuring cup, beat the remaining butter and sugar with the egg, vanilla, and milk. Add the egg mixture to the double-flour mixture; stir just until it forms a batter.

Pour the batter into a buttered 10-inch-round springform pan, and then spread it out evenly. Top with the frozen berries, and then sprinkle on the topping.

Bake at 350°F for about 1 hour, until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving. Serves 10–12.

Tips & Tricks
  • For a smoother topping, you can blend the ingredients in a food processor. But mix the other ingredients by hand; overstirring the batter can make it dense and chewy.
  • Packed with berries, this recipe needs a bigger pan than Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake. You can again swap in a fixed-sided baking pan, but don’t be tempted to jam it all into a smaller one.
  • It’s so hard to let coffee cake sit and cool, but it’s even harder to cut a piping hot one into servable slices. The berries stay hot and continue to release juice longer than other batter ingredients, so expect messier slices if you cut into it early.


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