This Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake is tender cake with sour cream for moistness and flavorful cinnamon oat topping. Make this easy recipe for brunch or any party!
The Problem with Store-Bought Cake
If you have ever eaten coffee cake purchased from a grocery store, a couple of things may have bothered you about it. Most often, store-bought cakes are dry and overly sweet.
The cloying sweet white glaze initially masks how dry the cake is. However, that dryness is apparent as the cake sticks in your throat on the way down. Save me, milk!
This is one of the reasons that until I began baking from scratch, I was firmly Team Pie. Learning a few tips and tricks helps to create baked goods that people love and cherish.
These days, I can’t get enough cake, especially when it’s made with sour cream and there is cinnamon streusel involved!
I believe the best coffee cake recipe is one I’ve been making from Taste of Home for several years now. I have made changes to the original recipe, including the addition of sour cream.
THE PURPOSE OF SOUR CREAM IN CAKE
There are some important reasons for adding sour cream to my coffee cake recipe, or for that matter, any cake recipe.
- Flavor – Sour cream is very high in fat and and acidity. Using high fat ingredients adds flavor. This is also why every good cake recipe will include the use of butter.
- Texture – Another benefit of using high-fat ingredients like sour cream is to prevent the cake from drying out.
Moist coffee cake is a very good thing! Also, the acid in sour cream reacts with the gluten in flour, creating tenderness.
- To assist other ingredients. Food science is a very important part of the process of baking. Baking soda is a base, meaning it needs an acid to activate it. Sour cream is that acid! Other acids that are often used in baked goods are buttermilk and Greek yogurt.
Recipe Notes for Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
- Weigh the ingredients. I highly recommend using a kitchen scale to make this recipe. One cup of flour can weigh anywhere from 3 1/2 – 5 ounces. Read more about this in my post “How to Measure Flour.”
If you don’t have a scale, you’ll want to use what I call the “Spoon and Level Method” to avoid having a dense cake.
This method involves spooning the flour into the measuring cup, then leveling off the top with a knife.
- Brown sugar substitute – You can use light brown sugar instead of dark if that’s what you already have on hand.
Dark brown sugar has a bit more molasses, which enhances the brown sugar flavor. So, there’s no reason to make an additional trip to the store! You can even make a brown sugar substitute at home, with molasses and granulated white sugar!
- Don’t omit the fat. For best results, use full-fat sour cream instead of low-fat or no-fat. It’s cake.
- The best baking pan – I use a 9×13-inch baking pan. It comes with a lid, making it super easy to store leftovers or take the coffee cake to someone else’s home.
Check out more of my favorite bakeware!
OTHER Cake Recipes
Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake
For the cinnamon streusel topping:
- 1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (light brown sugar may be substituted)
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
For the cake:
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream (preferably full fat)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 8 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (2 cups using the Spoon & Level Method; see notes)
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch pan with baking spray or butter.
- Prepare the topping: In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Press the butter into the mixture with a fork until it’s evenly incorporated. Set aside.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment (or using an electric mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the dry ingredients, then turn the speed up until the batter is smooth (don’t over-mix).
- Spread half the batter evenly into the prepared pan (note: slightly less is better than slightly more if you’re unsure), and sprinkle with half the topping. Repeat with the remaining batter and topping.
- Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out of the center clean. Allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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