Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Thursday 8 April 2021

This sour cream coffee cake is my favourite coffee cake of all time.  This tender and moist cake is filled with a scrumptious brown sugar and cinnamon streusel. This same streusel tops the cake.

Cakes made with the addition of sour cream are always lovely, tender and moist. This cake is no exception.  You may use full fat sour cream or low fat sour cream without any problems. 

You may also substitute plain yogurt for the sour cream if you wish, or even use a vanilla flavoured yogurt if that is what you have!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake


The original recipe is one that was written in my Big Blue Binder.  For those of you who have not been reading me for long, the Big Blue Binder is an old blue vinyl covered binder which has travelled the world with me.

I have been collecting recipes since I was a very young girl.  Always the foodie. At first it was only recipes clipped from out of the pages of my mother's True Story magazines. Then I started copying recipes out of my mother's cookbooks.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

Mom only ever had three cookbooks. One was an old cloth covered cookbook that had been put out by the Co-op in the town my mother grew up in.  

The other was a little paperback book entitled, the Martha Logan Meat Cookbook.  I have copied just about every recipe out of that one through the years.

Finally she had a book which was a part of a housekeeping encyclopedia she owned, which is a part of my own collection and I hope with every breathe of me that I remembered to put it in with the few boxes that my church shipped over for me when I moved back to Canada last November.  

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I really hope and pray that my Big Blue Binder is in there also.  I have been lugging that thing with me all over the world.  Across and back and across Canada again and again,


And then across the ocean.  It is filled with all of my tried and trues.  Recipes shared with me from friends and family.  Recipes collected from books and magazines that caught my eye, etc. 

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

It is like a history book of my culinary journey from childhood and is precious to me.  When you have only 9 boxes to pack your life into and only 3 days to do it in, there is no telling what made it into those boxes.

I really hope and pray that these things did.  My mind was all over the place and I am now second guessing what exactly I DID put into those boxes.  I have not been able to open them to check yet. That pleasure awaits me still. 

 Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

I will be devastated all over again if I neglected to pack them. But it won't be the end of the world I guess.  There were other things it was much harder to leave behind. 

Anyways, I found these photos in a folder on my old computer this morning and I had not shared this with you yet so thought there was no time like the present. I hope you don't mind!  I strongly suspect I hadn't shared them because the photos are a little on the yellow side and not perfect. 

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

This really is a lovely cake and was a favourite with my family the whole time they were growing up.  I have no idea really where the recipe came from.  I suspect it was from a book I got out from the library in the early 1980's, but I don't remember for sure.

I can't give it's true attribution. It may even have come from a friend, although normally I did include my friend's names when copying out one of their recipes. If it was from any friend at all it would have been Leona.  

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

Leona was a woman I met at a Bingo on the armed forces base that I moved to with my husband and family in 1981, so 40 years ago this year.  She was quite a bit older than myself, but we got on like a house on fire.

She liked to cook and so did I.  I was missing my mom and she was old enough to be my mom. We liked to craft, etc.  We are still friends to this day.  I learned a lot from her about cooking and life.  I really don't think this is her recipe however.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

Regardless of the source, this is a fabulous recipe for a fabulous cake.  My children always loved it and no small wonder.  That streusel is fantastic.  Nice and cinnamony.

And there are nuts in it as well.  I usually use walnuts, but pecans also work very well.  Whichever nuts you use, toast them first and then chop.  Toasted nuts just taste nuttier!  

Just spread them onto a baking sheet and toast in a hot oven (375*F/190*C) for about 8 minutes or so or until you can smell them.  It makes the world of difference.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Make sure you let them cool before you use them however.  I usually toast my nuts a whole bag at a time and then I keep them in a tightly closed container in the freezer, ready for me to use at any give time.

The batter for the cake gets spread into your baking tin in layers with the streusel in the middle and then on top.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

This creates a lovely ribbon of streusel running right through the middle, as well as a nice and crunchy sweet and nutty topping.

The batter is somewhat thick however, so the second layer which needs to go on top of a streusel covered bottom layer can be a bit difficult to apply.  

Sour Cream Coffee Cake 

This works best if you dollop it over the middle streusel layer in bits and then smooth it out with the back of a metal spoon you have sprayed with a bit of non-stick cook spray.

Works a charm.  

Sometimes I add some chocolate chips to the streusel which adds a tiny bit of indulgence.  I mean  . . . chocolate and cinnamon. Why not!  My children always loved it when I did this small thing.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Also, if you are feeling especially indulgent, you can add a drizzle icing to the top as well.  I only ever did this if I was going to be having company over to serve it to.

Its fairly easy to do, simply whisk 1 cup (130g) icing/powdered sugar together with a few drops of vanilla and just enough milk to make a smooth drizzle icing.

Just flick this over the top and you have gilded the lily perfectly.  

This cake is wonderful with a nice hot drink. In the old days it would have been a cup of hot coffee for me, but I have not imbibed in regular teas or coffee for over 20 years now. Hot chocolate is also very good as are herbal teas.

And my children always enjoyed it with glasses of cold milk.  One thing is certain, no matter who you choose to bake this for, it WILL be enjoyed.  You can trust me on that!

This has always been a real favorite of everyone I have ever baked it for. Its one of those recipes which I have been asked to share and share again.  I really, truly hope that you will bake it and that it will become a firm favorite in your house as well! Happy Baking!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Yield: one 9-inch square cake
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 15 MinCook time: 40 MinTotal time: 55 Min
I have been making this delicious moist coffee cake for years and years. I like to add chopped walnuts and chocolate chips to the streusel from time to time. This cake is a cake that is always very well received.


  • 8 TBS (115g) butter, softened
  • 1 cup (195g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large free range eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 cups (180g) all purpose/plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (225g) dairy sour cream (or yogurt) at room temperature
For the streusel filling and topping:
  • 1/2 cup, packed(100g) soft light brown sugar 
  • 1 TBS ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (60g) finely chopped toasted walnuts (occasionally I will also add a handful of semi sweet chocolate chips)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/gas mark 4.  Butter a 9 inch square baking tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  2. Whisk the flour, soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl beat together the eggs, butter,  and sugar.
  4. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternately with the sour cream/yogurt, mixing well after each addition. You should have a smooth thick batter.
  5. Mix together all of the streusel ingredients until they form and even, crumbly mixture.
  6. Spread half of the cake batter in the prepared tin.  Sprinkle half the streusel topping over the batter.  Repeat with the remaining batter and streusel.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs stuck to it.  
  8. Leave to cool in the pan.
  9. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares.  
  10. Wrap any leftovers airtight with some aluminum foil or pop into a cake tin. This cake keeps well for several days.
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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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  1. I loved glimpsing your hand-written recipe, Marie. I once framed, between two pieces of glass, the hand-written recipe my grandmother used to bake my mom's wedding cake in August 1938. I gave it to my niece along with baking utensils as a wedding shower gift. I also included the heavy red plastic flour scoop used by her paternal grandmother. Lovely little keepsakes that my niece hung on the wall. I'm going to make your jam squares today. I have a jar of cherry or wild blueberry jam from Bonne Maman to choise from. Have a good day, my friend. I'm sure you will find your Big Blue Binder when you open your boxes. Love and hugs, Elaine

    1. What a wonderful gift to give to your niece! I am sure she really appreciated it to no end! What a wonderful heirloom! I hope you enjoy the squares! Oh, I do so love Bonne Maman jam! Its my favourite! Love and hugs, xoxo

  2. This looks similar to a coffee cake I make from an old Robin Hood flour brochure. Mine has the addition of 5 small bananas and uses an entire package of chocolate chips. It has the cinnamon/brown sugar/choc chip streusel in the middle and on top. Decadent. You betcha! But worth it every time.

    1. That sounds really lush for sure! I may have gotten this from an old Robin Hood flour brochure or a magazine even. I wish now that I used to mark my sources better. This was back in the day before the www!!! xoxo

  3. Never made a coffee cake that looks like this one but it is indeed most inviting!! I am sure any person of any age would appreciate eating it!! Thanks for sharing!!
    Elizabeth xoxo

    1. It is excellent Elizabeth. In the UK, Coffee Cake meant the cake tasted like Coffee, also very good. You are welcome! xoxo

  4. It just KILLS me that you weren't able to take more (or at least store it and have it sent at a later time). Especially things that really mattered. I swear, I would have left all my clothes to bring back some other things. I love sour cream coffee cake and am eager to give this one a try. I'll skip the chips, though. I can do without the chocolate!

    1. The cost of shipping far outweighed it value Jeanie. I wasn't even able to bring most of my clothes. A few night clothes, a couple shirts, some trousers, a winterish coat and a spring coat, the shoes I was wearing. Once I get my own place I hope to get a sewing machine and make myself a few clothes. The chocolate chips are not essential in this Jeanie, but we did always like them. I can appreciate those who don't however! You will love this cake regardless! xoxo

  5. Dear Grateful Reader, I did get your comment. Thanks so much for your advice, etc. Much appreciated! xoxo

  6. I think I have everything at home to make this one over the weekend. No chocolate chips, but then I am not a fan of chocolate, so I won't miss them :)

    I like the sound of a strusel layer - I can't wait.

    Fingers crossed that the Big Blue Book has followed you across the pond. I can imagine your pain at what you had to leave behind. I hope that soon you can start to rebuild your life in your own home.


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