Classic Coffee Cake


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Coffee Cake is a classic and scrumptious breakfast or snack cake made with a tender vanilla cake and a brown sugar and cinnamon topping.

It’s an easy recipe that’s ready in less than an hour with just 10 minutes of prep! Serve it with Homemade Whipped Cream, vanilla ice cream, or Irish Coffee.

Slice of cinnamon coffee cake on a small dessert plate on a blue and white napkin.

People usually wonder why coffee cake doesn’t actually have any coffee in it. In some regions, like the UK, it’s a sponge cake flavored with coffee. But here in the US, it is generally a sweet cake that is served with coffee or tea.

What Is Coffee Cake?

Coffee Cake comes in many different forms. Make a classically flavored cake like this one or indulge in a Blueberry Coffee Cake or Cherry Cheesecake Coffee Cake. However, the base will almost always be the same: flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and milk. There may be different add-ins or it may have a simple sugar topping like this recipe does or a high crumble topping.

Overhead photo of coffee cake slices in a pan with one slice removed.

What I love about this recipe, the best coffee cake recipe, is that it’s very hands off. It takes about 10 minutes to prep the batter and there’s no need to let the butter soften or milk come to room temperature either!

How To Make Coffee Cake

It looks fancy, but coffee cake is really easy to make. As with any recipe, begin by preheating the oven and greasing the pan. Then gather the ingredients and start mixing!

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients and cut in butter until crumbly.
  2. Add in the wet ingredients and transfer into the prepared pan.
  3. Make topping and sprinkle over top the batter. Use a butter knife to swirl the topping into the batter.
  4. Bake until a toothpick comes clean from the center of the cake.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before slicing and serving. How simple is that?

Coffee cake on a dessert plate with a fork with a bite on it sitting next to it.

This coffee cake recipe is best within 2 to 3 days stored at room temperature in an air-tight container. But you can also store it in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze it.

Does It Freeze Well?

Yes, it does! Once baked, allow the cake to cool to room temperature before wrapping in plastic wrap and placing inside an air-tight container. I love these 2-gallon freezer bags for storing larger baked goods in the freezer. When you’re ready to enjoy your cake, simply remove from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for several hours.

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Slice of cinnamon coffee cake on a small dessert plate on a blue and white napkin.
5 from 2 votes
Review Recipe

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 9 people
Author Rebecca
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Coffee Cake is a classic and scrumptious breakfast or snack cake made with a tender vanilla cake and a brown sugar and cinnamon topping.

Equipment

  • 8x8-inch square baking pan
  • Pastry Cutter
  • Rubber Spatula
  • Mixing Bowls

Ingredients

Cake
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter cubed
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Topping
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts optional
Glaze
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 6 tablespoons powdered sugar

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Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and grease an 8x8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder.

  3. Use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the flour mixture until a coarse crumb forms.

  4. Add in the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix with a rubber spatula just until combined. The batter will be lumpy. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

  5. In a small bowl, mix together the cinnamon and brown sugar, then sprinkle it over the top of the batter in the pan. Use a butter knife to cut lines through the batter. Sprinkle the top with the chopped walnuts, if desired.

  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, then allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes on a cooling rack.

  7. Whisk together the water and powdered sugar to make the glaze and drizzle over the top of the cake before slicing and serving.

Recipe Notes

  • Walnut may be omitted or swapped for chopped pecans instead. 
  • Granulated sugar may be used in the topping instead of light brown sugar if you don't have any on hand.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 286, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 34mg, Sodium: 84mg, Potassium: 157mg, Carbohydrates: 54g, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 35g, Protein: 4g, Vitamin A: 215%, Calcium: 79%, Iron: 1.4%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Keyword cinnamon coffee cake, coffee cake

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A slice of coffee cake on a white plate with a blue rim

This classic coffee cake is a tender vanilla cake made with a cinnamon and pecan topping. It is perfect served as a breakfast dish or even as a snack! #spendwithpennies #coffeecake #dessert #breakfast #classiccoffeecakerecipe
This classic coffee cake is a tender vanilla cake made with a cinnamon and pecan topping. It is perfect served as a breakfast dish or even as a snack! #spendwithpennies #coffeecake #dessert #breakfast #classiccoffeecakerecipe

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About the author

Rebecca

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I’m Rebecca, and Sugar & Soul is where I blend my traditional roots and millennial imagination. I’m a self taught baker, photographer and traveler with a business degree and a dream. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, Matt, and currently reside in Central Maine. I’m so glad you stopped in and I hope I can inspire you to bake a batch of cookies or head off on a new adventure!

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