Best Sour Cream Coffee Cake Ever

IMG_1404 (575x504)Hyperbole? Anyone who’s ever had a piece of this scrumptious coffee cake will agree with the title of this recipe.

For those who are familiar with my approach to finding the best recipe in major categories, you won’t be surprised when I tell you that it took almost ten years to find and perfect this frantastic sour cream coffee cake. It was hands down my mom’s favorite coffee cake, and I made it for her often. One year, she happened to be on a trip to Australia for her birthday—and, yes, I made this cake for her; packed it up using popcorn for packing material and shipped it off. It took a week to get there, and she said it was still tender and moist.

It’s always so interesting to me that you can try very similar recipes and get such different outcomes. I lost count of the sour cream coffee cakes I tried that had identical ingredients but in varying amounts. As I lamented over one that I had tried, my mom dug into her very small stash of recipes and came up with a version of this one. A friend of hers had served it to her when I was a young girl, and my mom liked it so much she asked for the recipe. If you knew my mom, this had to be a spectacularly good cake because she never baked and she never made anything from a recipe—including this one! So, I wasn’t familiar with it since she had never made it but decided to give it a whirl. I absolutely loved it and tweaked it just a little by increasing the cake portion by 50% and adjusting the streusel to my liking. The rest, as they say, is history–over 40 years’ worth.

This coffee cake is so delicious with its vanilla overtones which are so well complemented with the cinnamon streusel swirled through it. As previously mentioned, it is tender and moist and is “toothsome” in that it is so satisfying to pick up a piece and take a bite out of it. You don’t need a fork—just pick it up and eat it, bite by delicious bite.

Last week, one of my daughters asked for the recipe as she wanted to bring something in for her medical colleagues on her last day of a pediatric rotation. Sara said the cake was gone in short order and that I had to post the recipe as soon as possible. Mission accomplished!

Best Sour Cream Coffee Cake Ever

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Ingredients for Cake

  • 3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted and cooled to lukewarm
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups + 2 tbl. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream

Ingredients for Streusel

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • Chopped walnuts for top (I just eyeball and sprinkle to my liking)


Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350o F. Grease and flour 10″ tube pan with removable bottom.

Melt butter and let cool to lukewarm or room temp.

Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in medium-sized bowl and set dry ingredients aside.

In mixing bowl, beat eggs until light and frothy. Beat in sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in melted butter. Add vanilla and sour cream and blend to incorporate. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Batter will be thick.

Spread half of batter in prepared pan.

IMG_5756 (575x445)Sprinkle with 75 to 80% of streusel mixture.

IMG_1380 (575x383)Drop remaining half of batter by spoonful on top of streusel being careful not to get streusel mixed into batter. Spread batter smooth with spatula. Sprinkle walnuts on top of batter. Sprinkle with remaining streusel.

Bake at 350 for approx. 45 to 50 mins.

IMG_1387 (575x375)Fran’s Notes

Feel free to change the ratio of the amount of streusel divided between inside of cake and top. I prefer a lighter amount on top so that the top gets its crunch from the nuts rather than the sugar.

IMG_1405 (575x396)Source: An adaptation of a very old family recipe shared by a friend of my mom’s.

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