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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Cinnamon-Walnut Swirl

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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

  • 2⅓ cups all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled-off
  • ½ 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
  • 1½ 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 ⅓ 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 ⅓ 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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Comments

  • This is “make-over” coffee cake for me…..I will make it over and over and over again! As a note, I froze it right in the bundt cake pan and it thawed and tasted beautifully. Yummy, yummy, yummy in my tummy with our morning coffee.

    • — Kari P. on September 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • I usually make your sour cream chocolate chip Bundt cake which my family loves but this one is amazing too!!! Everyone loved it and the streusel filling was delicious. I guess I’ll be alternating between the two now!! Another perfect recipe!!! Thanks Jenn!

    • — Linda on September 19, 2022
    • Reply
  • Am I misreading this recipe it says sour cream coffee cake, but I can’t see how much coffee to use?

    • — Linda on September 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Linda, Sorry for any confusion. Coffee cake doesn’t actually contain any coffee; it’s just called that as it would be nice served with a cup of coffee. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on September 6, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thanks for letting me know

        • — Linda on September 8, 2022
        • Reply
  • I made this cake because I was looking to use up extra sour cream. It was SO delicious! I brought in most of the cake for my co-workers and they raved about it as well (needless to say it was gone by the end of the day 🙂 I am curious, do you think it would be ok to add some blueberries to the batter, and do you have any tips for doing so? My thought was to sprinkle them in the batter prior to the layers of streusel. Thanks, Jenn, for another stellar recipe!

    • — Kait on August 25, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Kait, Glad it was a hit. I wouldn’t recommend adding blueberries to it, but if you want a coffee cake with blueberries, I’d recommend this one (and you can add chopped walnuts to it if you’d like). Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on August 25, 2022
      • Reply
  • Amazing coffee cake! I used fat free plain greek yogurt instead of the sour cream and cut the sugar down a bit. It turned out beautifully – super moist and rich and cinammony!

    • — Lesley on August 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just made this cake, and unfortunately it did not turn out. I’m not sure what I did wrong. I did add blueberries and baked it at 300, but after 60 minutes the center was still not done. INcreased the oven temp to 325 or 350 and then the top started becoming darker brown while the center still was not done. I did add blueberries. Not sure if that was the problem or not. It ended up taking about 90 minutes to get done and when I pulled the fork out, it came out clean. However, the center also was sunken in, and when I turned it upside down and put it onto a plate, the center was still not done.

    • — Marcia on August 16, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Marsha, I’m sorry you had a problem with the cake! I feel confident it was the blueberries that caused the problem. They would’ve added a lot of moisture to the cake and as a result, it took a lot longer to bake. Also, you mentioned the center sunk. That’s also a sign that the inside was underbaked.

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2022
      • Reply
  • I’m in Europe (Poland) and made the sour cream coffee cake which I made several times in the states with no problem but here, the cake never cooked through. I used a copper Bundt pan and 38 percent sour cream and temp at 149 Celsius What did I do wrong? Thanks!

    • — John Kegel on July 5, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi John, The oven temp was too low — it should be baked at 165°C. I’m not sure if you know but the great majority of my recipes (including this one) include conversions to metric/weight measurements and oven temps. To view them, scroll down to the recipe, and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 5, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Jenn, I had same issue John described above and I am now confused to read that it should be baked at 165°C as instructions mention to reduce oven to 150°C after toasting the walnuts. Maybe I did not read carefully enough. Appreciate if you can clarify. Thanks

        • — Toby on July 11, 2022
        • Reply
        • Hi Toby, that’s my bad and I’m so sorry for the confusion! When I responded to John, I hadn’t looked at the full recipe and I thought the oven temp for the entire time was 165°C. (I haven’t made the cake in a while.) That said, I am sorry to hear that you found the cake to be underbaked ; did you make any adjustments to the recipe or the ingredients?

          • — Jenn on July 11, 2022
          • Reply
  • Fabulous Recipe ..

    • — Geraldine Brown on June 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • Delicious! Funny story…I got distracted while mixing the ingredients and forgot to add the flour before layering in the bundt pan. Oops! So I poured the batter(less the flour) and the cinnamon mixture back in the bowl, added the flour, then poured the entire batter back in to the bundt pan. It came out perfectly. LOL.

    • — Susan on June 16, 2022
    • Reply
  • This cake is outrageously good! As a Michigan native, I’m familiar with Zingerman’s Deli. Who knew they had a bakery? This cake was a grand slam at dinner last night. The only tweak I made is a Jen Segal tip. I swapped the flour dusting with a sprinkle of sugar on the greased bundt pan. It adds a hint of sparkle and a slight crunch. Thanks for such a wonderful recipe, Jen.

    • — Gina Stevens on June 14, 2022
    • Reply
  • I cut down the sugar by 100 grams, and replace sour cream with greek yogurt, it turns out great.. Thanks Jenn for the recipe. Will make it again for sure

    • — Ratih on June 1, 2022
    • Reply
  • Hi, I am planning to bake this cake. However, I realized the recipe doesn’t call for baking powder. Just was wondering why is that? Thanks!

    • — Fredrick on May 19, 2022
    • Reply
    • Also, is there an icing that you would recommend?

      • — Fredrick on May 19, 2022
      • Reply
      • Hi Frederick, this would be nice with a glaze like the one in this recipe (but I’d replace the lemon juice with water). Hope that helps and that you enjoy! 🙂

        • — Jenn on May 20, 2022
        • Reply
        • Thanks for taking the time to reply. I baked it yesterday and it turned out great! I did not end up using icing because the cake was moist and sweet on its own!

          • — Fredrick on May 23, 2022
          • Reply
    • Hi Frederick, with the baking soda and the acidity of the sour cream, you get enough rise that you don’t need baking powder too. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • Hi – Can the recipe be halved and baked in a loaf pan instead or can the entire recipe be split between two loaf pans? I do not have a bundt pan. Thank you.

    • — Danielle on May 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Sure, Danielle, you can use two 8-1/2 x4-1/2-inch loaf pans. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 11, 2022
      • Reply
      • Thank you! The recipe turned out wonderfully in the two loaf pans. The coffee cake is delicious and I look forward to making it again soon.

        • — Danielle on July 3, 2022
        • Reply
        • So glad it came out nicely — thanks for taking the time to report back! 🙂

          • — Jenn on July 3, 2022
          • Reply
  • I used this recipe for a Mothers Day brunch, and it was awesome! I am replacing my go-to coffee cake recipe with this one! Thank you for sharing it.

    • — Kathy Hardigree on May 9, 2022
    • Reply

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