Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sunday 31 March 2019

The recipe I am sharing with you today is a very old recipe that I have had for many, many years.  It is not a coffee cake in the sense that there is any coffee at all in the cake, but in the sense that it is meant to be enjoyed with a hot drink . . .  usually coffee, or tea . . .  hence the term coffee cake.

It is a beautiful cake  . . .  with a lovely well flavoured moist batter . . .  with a ribbon of cinnamon nut streusel running through the middle  . . .  as well as baked into and gracing the surface. 

It is a recipe that I have been making since the early 1980's.  I can't tell you where I got the original recipe as it comes from my Big Blue Binder and is handwritten in my own hand all those years ago.  Home Internet wasn't even heard of back then, so the idea that I would ever be sharing these recipes with anyone other than my closest friends never occurred to me, so I never ever noted the source, unless it was from a friend. 

I strongly suspect it came from a magazine clipping or the newspaper.  I did not own many cookbooks back then.  I had a Purity cookbook, a Fanny Farmer Cookbook, my BHG cooking encyclopedia and a cookbook I got free for subscribing to Chatelaine magazine. I still have all of those and this recipe isn't in them . . . . just in my Big Blue Binder.

When I went to make it today, I realised that this is the first time I have baked it since moving over here to the UK!  I don't know why I haven't! 

Its unbelievable as it is a really great cake. It has to have been at the very least 20 years since I have baked it, but it is a cake that I baked frequently when my children were growing up for the family and also for friends if I was entertaining a coffee party, or a family brunch for the extended family.

It makes a nine inch square cake, which cuts beautifully into exactly 16 squares. 

The batter is a simple one made with sour cream, butter, eggs, etc. You could also use plain yogurt instead of sour cream if you wanted to.  Today I did not have quite enough sour cream so I used part yogurt.

And both were full fat.  I couldn't tell the difference.

The streusel is a very simple one  . . .  brown sugar, cinnamon, chopped nuts.  The original recipe did not call for chocolate chips but for one reason or another I added them once, and it was so tasty that I have always added them ever since.

Half the batter gets spread into the pan and then topped with half the streusel . . .  then the other half batter gets spread on top and the remaining streusel over all.  The second half of the batter can be a bit difficult to spread over top so what I do is to dollop it all over the middle layer of streusel in smaller bits . . .  and then carefully tease the bits with the back of a spoon until they meet each other and cover it.  This is the best and easiest way to keep the layers distinct.

Oh but it smells like a little bit of heaven when it is cooking.   Cinnamony and warm and toasty  . . .  just like every happy memory I have of home sweet home.

Yield: 16

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

prep time: 10 minscook time: 50 minstotal time: 60 mins
An incredibly moist and flavourful cake, with a streusel filling and topping, meant to be enjoyed with a nice hot cuppa! From my Big Blue Binder.


  • 120g butter (1/2 cup)
  • 190g caster sugar (1 cup)
  • 2 large free range eggs, beaten lightly
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 120g sour cream (1 cup)
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 245 g plain flour (1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
For the Topping:
  • 200g soft light brown sugar (1 cup)
  • 60g finely chopped toasted nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 90g semi sweet chocolate chips (1/2 cup) optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.  Line a 9 inch square baking tin with some baking paper. Set aside.
  2. To make the streusel combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl, mixing together well.  Set aside. (The chocolate chips are an optional ingredient.)
  3. Cream the butter and sugar together until light.  Beat in the eggs one at a time.  Beat in the vanilla.  Combine the sour cream and the soda.  Sift the flour and baking powder together.  Add the sour cream mixture to the creamed mixture alternately with the dry ingredients, making three dry and two wet additions, beginning and ending with dry.   Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan.  Sprinkle half of the streusel over top.  Cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the remaining streusel over all.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly touched.
  5. Serve warm or cold, cut into squares.
Created using The Recipes Generator

 Todd polished off two pieces of it before I could say Jack Robin!  Yes, it is that good of a cake.  I hope you will give it a go!  I guarantee you will fall in love.  I don't think it will be another 20 years before I bake it again.  At least I hope that it won't!  


  1. Another great recipe! I've actually all the grandkids coming today for Sunday lunch and no dessert, till now. They all love cinnamon.....after chocolate. Thanks once again

    1. It would be excellent served warm with a nice scoop of vanilla! You're welcome! xoxo

  2. This looks tasty, Marie. I love cinnamon streusel. I never would have thought of the chocolate chips though! This would be good with caramel or heath bar chips too.

    1. I wish we could get those over here Jeanie, but I am thinking you are right, they would be great additions! Thank you! xoxo

  3. The addition of the chocolate chips really does add something special to this. It sounds really lovely and I can't wait to try it.

    1. It is a really nice addition Marie! I think you will love it! xoxo

  4. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us Marie! I wanted to make a cake for my brothers birthday. I went on the internet and came across this website. The cake is not difficult to make and it's very tasty. I did not have the soft light brown sugar so I used normal sugar instead and that worked out as well. I will definitely use this recipe more often. Everyone enjoyed it and it was a success.
    Greetings Lukas

    1. I am happy it was enjoyed Lukas, thanks for sharing your experience! Nice to know that normal sugar also works! Happy Birthday to your brother! xoxo


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