Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Ingredients (13)

For the nut mixture:

  • 6 ounces raw pecans (about 1 1/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
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Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Though there’s no true “classic” style of coffee cake, this one seemed to remind us most of the coffee cake our moms used to—or still do—make (in fact, this recipe came from a CHOW staffer’s mom). A mixture of cinnamon, sugar, and nuts is ground fine and layered into a rich, buttery batter that includes a hearty hit of sour cream for a little tang. Once baked, this tall, lightly textured cake can be enjoyed with coffee or tea for Sunday brunch or made ahead for a grab-and-go weekday breakfast.

This recipe was featured as part of our Crunchy, Swirly, and Yeasty Coffee Cakes for Mother’s Day.

Tips for Christmas and Eggs


For the nut mixture:
  1. 1Place the pecans in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until coarsely chopped, about 4 to 5 (1-second) pulses. Add the remaining ingredients and process until very fine and the texture of wet sand, about 30 seconds; set aside.

For the cake:

  1. 1Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 9-by-9-inch metal baking pan with butter and dust with flour, tapping out the excess; set aside.
  2. 2Sift the measured flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.
  3. 3Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until lightened in color and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, letting the first completely incorporate before adding the second. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle with a rubber spatula.
  4. 4Add the sour cream and vanilla, turn the mixer to medium speed, and continue beating until just incorporated, about 1 minute. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and paddle.
  5. 5Turn the mixer to low speed and slowly add in the flour mixture. Mix until just incorporated.
  6. 6Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the nut mixture. Dollop the remaining batter over the nut mixture and spread into an even layer. Sprinkle with the remaining nut mixture and gently press it into the batter.
  7. 7Bake until a cake tester or toothpick comes out dry with a few crumbs attached, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.
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