Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ok — I admit to being a food snob.  A decade or so ago I was taking Melanie (our Grand-One) on a day trip and we stopped for a meal.  After we had ordered and while waiting on our meal, she looked at me with her 12-ish year old eyes and said, “JaJa, you’re fussy about your food, aren’t you.”  And I guess she was right.  Food needn’t be pretentious but it has to be excellent.  It has to taste right.  If you’re going to call it by a name, then by golly you better deliver what you promise. And the less you mess about with the ingredients the better.

Well, this is a recipe I love.  There are oodles and oodles of Coffee Cake recipes, but not many use the muffin method and by adding the sour cream to the recipe the texture of the cake is altered completely.  I hope you enjoy it as much as my family has.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I should add that I have never had the cake cook in the time prescribed by the recipe (20 minutes) — so I have adjusted the time upwards. The recipe came from The Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer (Simon & Schuster).  The edition I have is from the late 1960’s and it asks for all the ingredients to be at 75º before starting.  I have never managed to accomplish that — we don’t live in warm climes and I never keep the house that warm, and I don’t usually plan what I’m going to bake for breakfast far enough in advance to wait for eggs and sour cream to warm up.  So, you may have to adjust the bake time for yourself.  The unique texture will still come through if you use the wet ingredients colder.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

When made in a 9” square pan it makes 9 nice slices.

Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole toasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar or white sugar, or a combination
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, COLD
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-by-9-inch pan.

Prepare the streusel:
Combine the flour, nuts, sugar, butter, cinnamon and salt in a food processor.  Pulse until butter is partially broken up into smaller bits, but stop before butter has been completely dispersed.  There should be chopped into , using a fork until it resembles coarse crumbs. Put in the freezer until you are ready to put the cake in the oven.

For the cake:
Whisk together all the dry ingredients.

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream and vanilla.  Add in the eggs and beat until well blended.

Mix wet and dry ingredients — the batter with be relatively dry and thick.  Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Remove the streusel from the freezer and sprinkle evenly across the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool briefly in the pan on a rack.

Serve warm, if possible.


20 thoughts on “Sour Cream Coffee Cake

    1. I’d be curious as to how this work, too. I have used gluten free flour in cooking, but not baking. Not sure how much it would change things. Maybe I should try both side to side to give it an honest comparison.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. are you on a gluten free diet?

        I admit that I tried, once, making the batter in the Cuisinart but it developed too much gluten and changed the texture so I went back to hand mixing. But I was using regular flour.

        > >


      2. Well, I just completed my little experiment on your recipe and I did a blind taste test on Rick to get his opinion as well.

        There were some differences and the results surprised me but also left me with more questions.

        I used sliced almonds instead of whole ones and I’m glad I did because I whipped this up the old fashioned way…without electricity. And I used a pastry cutter instead of a food processor to make the strudel topping. I never heard of freezing the topping while you prepare the batter but I did as instructed.

        I cooked each batch on it’s own. The one with flour came clean with a wooden skewer right on the button at 20 minutes but the top was barely, if at all, brown so I left it in another five minutes to brown.

        I used a Gluten free Blended flour for the next batch, everything else was the same. This one took and extra ten minutes to cook and also did not brown. To be fair, I added five minutes after the skewer came clean. I almost forgot to put the strudel topping on this one and only remembered after it was in the oven for a few minutes.

        The results: We both preferred the Gluten Free muffin. Though the textures were similar, which did surprise me, the flour one had a slightly rubber bottom to it.

        Now, admittedly, I may have something wrong with my oven since neither browned the way I wanted and I may have over cooked them in trying to brown them but I did give them extra time equally. There is one other factor which may have resulted in the flour one having a slightly rubber texture to the bottom. I cooked that one on a newer Teflon coated muffing tin, whereas the Gluten Free one was cooked on an older tin with no Teflon. Oh, and both muffins were cooked in extra large muffin tins, the same size you see when you buy muffins at the store.

        Rick’s only other comment is that he, personally, would like it better if I added a tsp. of cinnamon to the batter. What can I say, he likes cinnamon! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I use an aluminum pan.
        I have gotten that rubbery texture a couple times; never figures out what I did differently. Then again I CAN be a luttle cavalier w/ measurements


      4. FYI, I am not a purist on gluten free but I do try to when possible. Right now I am mainly low carb so I stay away from a lot of baked goods…at least, most of the time. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Low carbs are about the only way I manage to control my weight, though I have been admonished to try “Clean Eating” — the more natural, no more than 7 ingredients approach to food. I’m holding my own, and coming down a little but the only way I manage is if I get on the scale every single day and LOOK at the number really carefully.

        My problem: I love bread, or anything made from flour or any kind.

        > >


      6. Me too… on both scale observation and bread. I’ve finally lost 15 lbs and have 20 more to go to get out of the Diabetic range.


  1. Okay, I have to question the validity of this recipe…did they have food processors back in the 60’s? I certainly don’t recall that.;)

    The only difference from my recipe is that it uses almonds instead of walnuts.

    BTW, one of the vintage cookbooks I picked up was The Joy of Cooking 2 volume paperback. I’ll have to see if this recipe is included in it.


    1. No processors. And my recipe has walnuts too, but never make it with walnuts cuz I like almonds better. AND…. You aren’t going to find me making something like streusel by hand. The cuisinart is just too easy.

      Because the recipe is original to the old cookbook doesn’t mean the method has to be. I’m all in favor of not working as hard.



      1. Interesting, because I have usually used walnuts and had never considered almonds.

        Ha! I stuck with vintage and used manual tools all the way! :

        Liked by 1 person

You’ve heard what I’m thinking. What's on YOUR mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s