This Sour Cream Coffee Cake is not only incredibly EASY to make, it’s absolutely delicious! A tender crumb cake with cinnamon pecan topping. You wont be able to stop at just one piece.

Nothing says brunch like homemade coffee cake!  If you love breakfast/brunch recipes, you may also like Quiche Lorraine, Easy Homemade Scones, andLemon Blueberry Bread.

A slice of sour cream coffee cake on a plate with a fork.

Why I Love this Recipe:

1. Ingredients I have on hand. This recipe uses simple pantry ingredients which makes it perfect for an easy brunch or dessert.

2. The pecan topping. The topping is where this cake really shines.  It’s layered both inside the cake and on top, adding the best cinnamon sweetness throughout, and the perfect crunch on top.

3. Enjoy it anytime of day.  The cake is soft and tender without being overly sweet and I feel like it can pass as breakfast, brunch, or even dessert.

Why is it called coffee cake?

Coffee cake is a term given to foods that are intended to be eaten with coffee, or other brunch type foods.  Imagine little cakes you would serve at a tea party or having coffee with a group of friends.  There is generally not coffee in the actual cake but it is usually a sweet cake with light streusel or icing.

How to make Sour Cream Coffee Cake:

1. Cream butter and sugar. Add egg, sour cream and vanilla and mix.

2. Add dry ingredients: In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder.  Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix just until combined.

3. Add ½ batter to pan.  Make the pecan topping by combining the ingredients in a bowl. Spoon half of the batter into a greased 8×8 pan and smooth into an even bottom layer. Sprinkle half of the pecan topping over the batter.

5. Add remaining batter.  Spoon remaining batter on top and smooth into an even layer. Sprinkle remaining topping mixture over the top.

Four process photos for making sour cream coffee cake.

6. Bake for 35-45 minutes. Check the mixture about half way through baking –you may want to put a piece of tinfoil over the top to keep the top from browning too much.  Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Make Ahead And Freezing Instructions:

To make ahead: This cake can definitely be made the morning of or even the night before. Store it on the countertop for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It does dry out easily so it tastes best made fresh!

A glass pan with a slice of coffee cake being removed from it.

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Recipe

A slice of sour cream coffee cake on a plate with a fork.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 45 mins
Cool 10 mins
Total 1 hr
Add to Meal Plan

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1/2 cup salted butter 1 stick
  • 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Topping:

  • 1 cup pecans , chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Instructions
 

  • Lightly grease an 8x8'' baking pan.*
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Combine topping ingredients together in a bowl. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg and mix. Add sour cream and vanilla and mix.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda and baking powder. 
  • Add dry ingredients to butter mixture and mix just until combined.
  • Spoon half of the batter into your prepared pan and smooth into an even bottom layer. 
  • Sprinkle half of the topping mixture over the top. Spoon remaining batter on top and smooth into an even layer.
  • Sprinkle remaining topping mixture over the top.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with few crumbs. 
  • Check the mixture about half way through baking --you may want to put a piece of tinfoil over the top to keep the top from browning too much. 
  • Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

*Double the recipe for a 9x13'' pan and you may need to cook it for about 5 extra minutes.
 
Make ahead instructions: This cake can definitely be made the morning of or even the night before. Store it on the countertop for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It does dry out easily so tastes best fresh!

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcalCarbohydrates: 30gProtein: 4gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 136mgPotassium: 110mgFiber: 1gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 350IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 1.1mg

Did You Make This Recipe?

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I originally shared this recipe December 2016. Updated March 2020 with process photos and instructions.

Have you tried this recipe?!

RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.

This Sour Cream Coffee Cake is not only incredibly EASY to make, it's absolutely delicious! A tender crumb cake with cinnamon pecan topping. You wont be able to stop at just one piece.| Tastes Better From Scratch

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. I have never used your recipes before and that will change. I had some sour cream left over in the refrigerator and tried your recipe. Had to add some Greek yogurt to make the correct amount. It was without a doubt the moistest coffeecake ever. I told my daughter to make it. And she did and like me loved it.

  2. 5 stars
    The first time I made this I used a Bundt pan. Came out great. The second time I decided to make a larger cake (doubled recipe) and used a 10” round pan plus a smaller round pan. Big disaster. The 10” round pan’s center never cooked properly even after cooking for a longer period of time. Very doughy. Lesson learned. Always use recommended size of pan.

  3. 5 stars
    My mom has made lots of your recipes, and they have all been amazing. I’m 17, and I made this coffee cake for a 4-H baking contest at the county fair. The judge liked it so much that she tasted it twice, and she gave it a purple (the best) ribbon. It was also a super easy recipe. Thank you! 🙂

  4. 4 stars
    I guess I expected this cake to be higher. It was delicious and just the taste I was looking for to duplicate my absolute fave, the sour cream donut.

  5. 5 stars
    My husband’s mother made this coffee cake. I had misplaced the recipe. So happy to have found it.

    Really a nice tasting came. Easy to make. Thank you.

  6. 5 stars
    This.is.SCREAMING! My family loves it (even my daughter who tends to be on the pickier side). Sometimes I add a layer of blueberries 🫐 , aside from that no modifications are needed. Perfect as is. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Delicious! I made the coffee cake according to the recipe…no changes. It came out perfectly. And it was easy! Thank you!

  8. My coffee cake is in the oven. I doubled the recipe, used a larger pan ; instead of 2 cups of nuts I used one cup cranberries and one cup of chopped nuts. To spread the second layer of batter I used a large tablespoon dipped in water..worked like a charm!

    1. 5 stars
      Thank you for the suggestion for too layer. My husband really enjoyed
      this coffee cake. His mother used to make it.

  9. 5 stars
    Making this recipe has been on my to do list for about 6 months! I finally made it a few weeks ago and it was perfect! Everything I expected it to be. I doubled the batch and made it in a 9×13 pan. The flavor was delicious and it was great to snack on throughout the day. It kept well in a covered baking dish sitting on the counter for a couple days, until it was all gone.

  10. 4 stars
    This tastes great, however I have no idea how anyone could make this work in an 8×8 inch pan. I had to double it because it hardly filled the bottom.

  11. This was the first time I made this coffee cake and it was really delicious. I received many compliments.
    I doubled the recipe per your instructions for a 9×13 baking sheet. I have a question though: is the dough supposed to be so thick or did I do something wrong? It was not easy spreading the second layer of dough, it was sticking to the topping mix. Also, the cake was a little crumbling, it was ok but not moist. I used greek yoghurt instead of sour cream, would that be the reason for not being moist. I used the other ingredients exactly per your recipe.

  12. 5 stars
    So Delicious! I made mine with self rising flour and it did great! So light in the middle and crispy on top! I will definitely make this again!!😍

  13. Have this is the oven now. I love this website and every meal my family has DEVOURED!! I had to add some milk to this recipe to make it more of a batter and less of a sticky dough. But it smells delicious!!

  14. 5 stars
    Very good and husband approved! I love that this is a small batch recipe. I cut it into 9 small pieces and it lasted us 4 days. Especially good with some vanilla ice cream. Yum! The batter is thick and not easy to spread. (I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream though) I was worried that there wasn’t enough batter since I couldn’t get it to cover all of the baking pan–there was a half inch gap on the sides for me. But once it puffed up in the oven that was no problem at all. Try it, you won’t regret.

  15. Hi,

    I’d love to make this recipe but my mother does not like cinnamon, do you think I could replace it with cardamom?

    Thanks,
    Harshita

  16. 5 stars
    Loved this little coffee cake. The drier crumble (sans butter) was crispy crunchy in a very nice contrast/complimentary way to the soft buttery cake. I liked the 8 x 8 pan size too. Great recipe. Thank you for sharing💕

  17. 5 stars
    Very good coffee cake! Not overly sweet. The batter is thick, so don’t think you left something out. The top is drier than those with lots of butter in a crumble. But my husband actually preferred this type. I made this two days in a row! I might go for three!

  18. 5 stars
    Overall very good. Batter was excellent. Only issue I had was that the topping was kind of dry with just nuts and sugar. I think one comment suggested adding a little melted butter over the top which would improve the end result.

    1. Yes. Grease bundt pan well, put half batter in the bottom then sprinkle on the strussle mixture
      then the other batter mix on top. Then bake.

      1. This batter is so thick and there’s not much of it. If you use a bundt pan you should double or triple the recipe.

        1. I agree! The batter was very thick, I could barely spread it. I ended up thinning it out with some half and half. We’ll see what happens after it’s baked!

  19. Do you think I can freeze it and then thaw over night and pop it back in oven to warm. Or how would you recommend reheating?

    1. Hi Pam, use I would suggest freezing it, thawing it overnight in the fridge and then reheat it briefly in the oven (don’t want it to dry out), or each slice for a few seconds in the microwave. Enjoy!

    1. Hi Cindy, I wouldn’t recommend that (because of the baking powder and soda in it that are activated when the wet and dry ingredients are mixed) sorry!

  20. 5 stars
    Super moist and delicious! My new favorite recipe. I added chopped dark chocolate to the crumb topping which took it to the next level of yummy!

  21. 5 stars
    I like taller coffee cakes so I doubled the recipe and kept the same size pan (8×8 glass) and increased the cook time by 5 minutes. I also did not have a second stick of butter (for doubling the recipe) so I substituted a half-cup of Earth Balance vegan “butter” spread instead of the second stick and that worked great. I also mixed a tablespoon of melted butter into the topping before adding that to the cake. It came out wonderful – tall and super moist!

  22. I’m ready to make this, but my son doesn’t like nuts in baked goods. Any suggestions on something to replace it with? Maybe diced apples? Or replace pecans for butter & make a crunch?

  23. I originally followed the recipe as indicated but once the batter was ready to place in the 8X8 pan I knew it was going to be very thin. I made another batch , mixed the two batters together and cooked it in the 8X8 . It was amazing. Just don’t forget to double the topping.

    1. There’s no coffee in it. It’s called “coffee cake” because people like to enjoy it with a cup of coffee.

  24. 5 stars
    I needed a quick cake to take to church coffee hour. This was so good. I will be bringing it again and again. I used walnuts since I was out of pecans. The only negative is that the batter is so thick I thought I forgot something. Now I know and won’t panic.

  25. 5 stars
    Wow, what a delicious coffee cake! I baked this for Mother’s Day brunch and everyone loved it. Especially Mom, she went back for a second piece! Soft, fluffy, and rich-tasting, with plenty of cinnamon nut topping. Plus it worked wonderfully with dairy-free “butter” and “sour cream”. (My sister gets migraines from dairy products so I bake dairy-free when I know she’s coming over.)

    My only complaint is that I personally prefer my coffee cake to be nice and tall. Easily fixed, next time I’ll just make half again as much batter and cook it a little longer.

    1. Hi Karen,
      Buttermilk should be a decent substitute, although I wouldn’t do a full 1/2 cup – try slightly less than 1/2 cup! I’d love to know how they turned out!

  26. hiya
    making this now – but in your picture it looks like you put the topping then the batter then the topper…is that correct?

    1. Hi Kasey, No, you will want to start with a layer of batter, then topping, then the rest of the batter, and then the rest of the topping. (see step #7) Hope that helps.

    1. Hi Mariana, I wouldn’t recommend it, just because these type of baked goods usually taste best fresh, and dry out after 1-2 days. You’re welcome to try it though, but be sure to cover it tightly.

  27. 4 stars
    Just made this tonight. It was so good!

    But I noticed that when I took it out of the oven the topping looked a little dry, so I spooned about 2 tbsp of melted salted butter over the top of the cake while still hot to melt the sugar, then let cool to almost room temp before cutting into it. It added another fantastic element to this cake!

  28. Very good-used to cook something like it at a hotel I worked at. could use just a touch more liquid in the batter but worked fine as is- used half the nuts and it was plenty for my crowd. Forty minutes was perfect in a 9 inch round in my oven

  29. Im finding it didn’t fill the entire bottom of the 8 x 8 pan. I’d like a little more batter, but baking it now.

  30. I had trouble spreading the top layer of batter over the pecan mixture. My batter turned out pretty stiff. Baking it now–smells sooo good.

    1. Hi Jane, the batter is pretty thick. I just dallop it around the top and then try to gently spread it. It doesn’t need to be perfect. Hope you enjoyed it!

  31. Step 7 is confusing. Should it not be topping first in the bottom of the pan, then batter then remaining topping? It reads batter, topping, topping.

  32. My mom made this all the time when I was growing up and I make it a lot. It is simply delicious! It stays moist for days and can be heated in the oven or microwave making it even more wonderful! Thanks for sharing this recipe – I think I’ll make one this weekend!