Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl

Tested & Perfected Recipes

From Zingerman’s Bakehouse, a rich and buttery sour cream coffee cake with a sublime cinnamon-nut swirl.

sour cream coffee cake

A classic breakfast cake is one of the handiest things to have in your baking repertoire, and this sour cream coffee cake from the famous Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, MI is one of the very best. Featured on the cover of the Zingerman’s Bakehouse Cookbook by Amy Emberling and‎ Frank Carollo (Chronicle Books, 2017), the recipe is a treasure that’s worth the cost of the book alone.

The authors write, “This is our most popular coffee cake and possibly our most popular sweet item…As you can see, it is full of tasty fat – half a pound of butter, half a pound of sour cream, and three whole eggs – which yields a mellow and moist cake crumb.” But what makes it truly special is the contrasting flavor and crunch of the cinnamon-nut swirl that runs throughout. And the cake lasts: you can store it in a covered container on the countertop for up to two weeks (but good luck keeping it that long!).

What you’ll need To Make Sour Cream Coffee Cake

how to make sour cream coffee cake

How To Make Sour Cream Coffee Cake

To begin, make the cinnamon-walnut swirl. Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Toast the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until they’re fragrant and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool, and reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

In a small bowl, combine the walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Mix until combined, then set aside.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the sugar and butter.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is homogenous.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

On low speed, mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

The batter will look a little curdled at this point; that’s okay. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Gradually add the flour mixture.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

And mix on low speed until the batter is smooth and homogeneous.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Scoop 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. (It won’t seem like enough, especially if you’re using a 12-cup Bundt — that’s okay. Just do your best to smooth it into an even layer with a spatula or back of a spoon.)

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-walnut mixture evenly over the batter.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Cover with another 1/3 of the remaining batter, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter evenly over the pan and to the edges.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture evenly over the batter.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Cover with the remaining batter, spreading it evenly over the nut mixture.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Do not let the cake cool in the pan for much longer than this or the brown sugar in the streusel might stick to the sides of the pan and make it difficult to release the cake. Place a wire rack on top of the Bundt pan and then invert the pan to release the cake.

how to make sour cream coffee cake

Let the cake cool completely before serving. The cake will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week. Enjoy!

sour cream coffee cake

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl

From Zingerman’s Bakehouse, a rich and buttery sour cream coffee cake with a sublime cinnamon-nut swirl.

Servings: 16
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 70 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 40 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl

  • 1 heaping cup walnut halves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

For the Cake Batter

  • 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 (8 oz) container full fat sour cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Make the Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl: Preheat the oven to 325°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Toast the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until they’re fragrant and golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the walnuts to a plate to cool. In a small bowl, mix together the walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F. Spray a 9- or 10-in Bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray and dust with flour. Tap out any excess flour. Alternatively, spray the pan with a nonstick spray with flour in it, such as Baker's Joy or Pam with Flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or beaters, combine the sugar and butter. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is homogenous. On low speed, mix in the sour cream and vanilla. The batter will look a little curdled at this point; that's okay. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  5. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until the batter is smooth and homogeneous.
  6. Scoop 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan. (It won't seem like enough, especially if you're using a 10-in Bundt -- that's okay. Just do your best to smooth it into an even layer with a spatula or back of a spoon.) Sprinkle half of the cinnamon-walnut mixture evenly over the batter. Cover with another 1/3 of the remaining batter, using a spoon or spatula to spread the batter evenly over the pan and to the edges. Sprinkle the remaining nut mixture evenly over the batter and cover with the remaining batter, spreading it evenly over the nut mixture.
  7. Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, until the cake is golden and a cake tester comes out clean. Cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes. Do not let the cake cool in the pan for much longer than this or the brown sugar in the streusel might stick to the sides of the pan and make it difficult to release the cake. Place a wire rack on top of the Bundt pan and then invert the pan to release the cake. Let the cake cool completely before serving. The cake will keep well in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  8. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (16 servings)
  • Calories: 328
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 42 g
  • Sugar: 28 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 200 mg
  • Cholesterol: 73 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Love your recipes and books!
    Wondering if this sour cream coffee cake can be used to make cupcakes? If so, what would the temperature be and how long should stay in the oven.

    Thanks much,
    Bonnie

    • — Bonnie on October 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes/books!! I do think you could make these into cupcakes. I’d keep the oven temp the same and I’m guessing they’ll take 30 to 35 minutes, but keep a close eye on them. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on October 14, 2021
      • Reply
  • I love all your recipes. This was the first one that didn’t turn out. It took forever to cook and it fell apart when I took it out of the pan. The pan was new so that wasn’t the problem. Is it really supposed to bake at 300?

    • — DIANNE WEISS on October 2, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Dianne, I’m sorry you had a problem with this! Did you use a 9/10-in Bundt pan? Did you make any adjustments to the recipe?

      • — Jenn on October 4, 2021
      • Reply
      • Yes, I used a 9/10-in bundt pan. I didn’t make any adjustments. Is it supposed to cook at 300?

        • — DIANNE WEISS on October 7, 2021
        • Reply
        • Yes, 300 degrees is the correct temperature. It’s a bit of a head scratcher. Is there any chance you mismeasured something? Could your oven temperature be off? Here are some ways to check it. Please LMK if I can help in any other way.

          • — Jenn on October 7, 2021
          • Reply
  • This is definitely our family’s favorite cake. It rarely last more than a day and a half on the kitchen counter! My 7 year old was asking to have it made for his wedding cake when he grows up thats how much they all love it!

    • — B on September 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • I can’t wait to try this! Quick question, do you think I could double the nut cinnamon mixture and do three layers, instead of two? Or use 1.5. I will love that nutty crunch in between!

    • — Selene Cole on September 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, Selene, that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on September 7, 2021
      • Reply
  • I only have a 12 cup bundt pan. Would this recipe work in that? I’d yes, should I make any adjustments? Thank you

    • — Grandma on August 12, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi, A 12-cup bundt pan is the same as a 10-inch one so you’re good to go. Hope you enjoy the cake!

      • — Jenn on August 12, 2021
      • Reply
  • do you need to use walnuts? or any nut?

    • — Barbara on July 3, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Barbara, you can swap it out for a different nut (pecans would be nice here too). If you’d prefer to omit nuts, you can replace them with chocolate chips or just leave out the nuts and double the brown sugar in the streusel. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2021
      • Reply
  • I just made this cake exactly as written except using a AP gluten free flour. And it was DELICIOUS! (Recipes are always hit or miss when I sub in gf flour). I will definitely be making this again! Thank you 🙂

    • — Laura S. on June 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Girl this was delicious!! Made this for my bf and his family and wow this is the go to recipe for sure. I replaced the walnut filling with a simple brown sugar crumble (allergies) and still gorgeous and amazing! It made the whole house smell so good too. It’s just perfect.

    • — Serena on June 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • Made this for Mother’s Day and it was a huge hit! Can’t wait to make it again!

    • — Sharon Benedict on May 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • My husband LOVED this coffee cake. He must have said four times how good it was while he was eating the first slice. Prepared as written with no changes. Thank you for the recipe.

    • — Tamara on April 30, 2021
    • Reply
  • A refined coffee cake , so moist, delicate and delicious . I will most certainly make it again , add it to my baking repertoire !!

    • — DJM on April 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • I made this coffee cake and it was absolutely delicious! My husband thought it was the best! I will be making it again very soon.

    • — Marcia Leffler on April 29, 2021
    • Reply
  • Do you mind sharing the brand name of your Bundt pan? Thank you.

    • — Sheron on April 29, 2021
    • Reply
    • Yes, it’s Nordic Ware.

      • — Jenn on April 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • RE: Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl
    We take sweets to church Sunday mornings. Now we have to cut into servings and individually wrap as not to touch / spread germs, etc. If I wanted to make this as a pan cake to cut into squares, what size pan would I use? How long would I cook it?
    Can’t wait to try this recipe.

    • — Kelli on April 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Kelli, Your best bet would be a 9 x 13-inch baking dish, although the cake may be a little thin. I’d start checking it for doneness at 50 minutes (but that’s a guesstimate, so keep a close eye on it). Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 21, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    This recipe is delicious. Although my walnut mixture sank to the bottom of the cake. What do you think I may have done which has caused this? Do you think next time I should blend my walnut with flour? Or do you think my butter was too soft?

    • — ERINC BAHCECI on April 4, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Erinc, Sorry you had a problem with the walnut mixture sinking! What brand of flour did you use?

      • — Jenn on April 5, 2021
      • Reply
      • I used wheat flour. It is a dutch brand. Do you think cake flour makes a difference?
        The cake came out still delicious though.

        • — ERINC BAHCECI on April 7, 2021
        • Reply
        • I do think the flour makes a difference and that it’s important to use all-purpose flour for this recipe. Glad it tasted good despite the swirl sinking! 🙂

          • — Jenn on April 7, 2021
          • Reply
  • Can the sugar be cut in this recipe without affecting the texture? 2 C is a lot of sugar!

    • — CAB on April 1, 2021
    • Reply
    • Sure, You could cut the sugar by 1/2 cup and still get a good result. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 1, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi, was wondering if I would need to make any adjustments if baked in a spring-form pan? I would like to add some streusel on the top (am afraid if I add it to bottom of a bundt pan it might stick)?? Thanks!

    • — Sheryl on March 28, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Sheryl, A 9-inch bundt pan should work. The bake time may be slightly different so I’d keep a close eye on it. Please LMK how it turns out if you make it!

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2021
      • Reply
  • The best coffee cake! I had gotten hooked on Zingerman’s coffee cakes and it was becoming an expensive habit, so I bought the official cookbook and started making it myself! But having it on your website is so much more convenient, plus you have reformatted the ingredients to make more sense (I think the original calls for 2/3 cup plus 3TB sour cream, which when I measured it out is simply 1 cup 🤔😆). It’s so fun to experiment with flavors with this recipe! Today I’m making it yet again, didn’t have enough sour cream so I subbed whole greek yogurt. Made it in 2 loaf pans so I could gift 1 to a friend. Hers I made with lemon juice and frozen wild blueberries. The loaf for us I made with chopped stem ginger leftover from a GBBO recipe, half the loaf also has frozen blueberries and the other half has sliced granny smith apples. Don’t be afraid to experiment with flavors to suit the seasons and in-season fruit! It’s a very versatile recipe.

    • — Jennifer on March 20, 2021
    • Reply
  • Delicious!!

    • — Janine on March 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • Very nice coffee cake and will definitely make again! I did double the filling and I will triple it next time.
    I admit that I have a problem with never having enough brown sugar cinnamon though.☺

    • — Christine on March 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is absolutely delicious! It certainly was a great hit. I did double the cinnamon/brown sugar because some people are allergic to nuts, and it still turned out just fine. I will definitely make it again!
    Thank You!

    • — Julie Duncan on March 7, 2021
    • Reply
  • Can I use vanilla 0% yogurt instead of the sour cream?

    • — Linda on March 6, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, If you want to use yogurt, I’d suggest Greek yogurt. And 0% should work but if possible, I’d go with low-fat. Hope that helps and please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on March 8, 2021
      • Reply
  • Loved it!

    • — Amrita Rekhi on February 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn!

    Any way to make this without a bundt pan? Thank you!

    • — Montana on February 23, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Montana, You can halve the recipe and bake it in a loaf pan. Baking time will be different; I’d start checking it at about 45 minutes. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on February 23, 2021
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, Thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. The cake is delicious! I am bringing it to work tomorrow for morning tea. My question is, would it be okay to reduce the sugar from 2 cups to 1.5 or less?

    • — Mary on February 21, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, Glad you like it! I do think you could reduce the sugar to 1.5 cups but I wouldn’t cut it anymore than that.

      • — Jenn on February 22, 2021
      • Reply
  • This recipe sounds wonderful. Any suggestions if I want to make this for people with nut allergies?

    • — Grandma on February 14, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi, You can replace the nuts with chocolate chips or just leave out the nuts and double the brown sugar in the streusel. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on February 15, 2021
      • Reply
    • Hi,

      I love your recipes! I am hoping to make this today, but I have no bundt pan. Should I forego the recipe, or do you recommend an alternative? Thank you!

      • — Montana on February 20, 2021
      • Reply
      • So glad you like the recipes! You could halve the recipe and bake it in a loaf pan. Bake time will be different — I’d start checking it at about 45 minutes. Please LMK how it turns out!

        • — Jenn on February 22, 2021
        • Reply
  • Even better than it looks, if that’s possible. So buttery. I froze half and it’s it seems to have gotten more irresistible after thawing.

    • — Kelly G on February 6, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is a moist and delicious coffee cake. I used my 6 cup Bundt pan, as opposed to my larger Bundt pan, because it is fluted and thought the cake would be prettier. It was too small and the cake batter did overflow the pan but the final product was not affected. Great recipe!

    • — Maria F. on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • OMG I love this cake!! My new “go to” favorite. I’ve never had much luck with online recipes but this took the cake!!

    • — Susan B on February 3, 2021
    • Reply
  • Awful cake, weird taste, fell apart when taking it out of the pan.

    • — Mary Ann on February 2, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is an amazing coffee cake that lead me to buy the Zingerman’s Bakehouse book myself. My wife loves coffe cakes and we have been experimenting with several recipes. This is the one. Easy, comforting, and elegant at the same time. Thanks for the great photos and step by step instructions, they help a lot. I drizzled mine with a milk/sugar glaze and it was great. You can even add some chocolate chips into the inner mixture and they go great.

    • — Miguel Fuentes on February 1, 2021
    • Reply
  • This is our favorite coffee cake recipe! Everyone who tries it want the recipe! Everything I’ve tried at this site has been 5 stars!
    Thanks for making your recipes so easy to follow!

    • — Nomey Latina on January 28, 2021
    • Reply
  • I have made this recipe two times already. I really like it. Sweet and fluffy every time. I like to enjoy it with my morning coffee.

    • — Erika on January 28, 2021
    • Reply

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