This easy Cinnamon Coffee Cake is the best ever coffee cake recipe. The old fashioned streusel topping and cinnamon swirl interior make this layered coffee cake a family favorite that you’ll make again and again.
Cinnamon Coffee Cake
This Cinnamon Coffee Cake is absolutely incredible! It’s moist, light, topped with delicious crumbles, packed with loads of cinnamon flavor, and it’s balanced with the perfect amount of sweetness.
The brown sugar adds a lovely light flavor of molasses and pairs with the buttermilk to make this breakfast cake perfectly moist. Creaming the sugar and butter together until they’re light and fluffy makes this cinnamon roll coffee cake light and not dense, so it just melts in your mouth when you enjoy it with a cup of coffee. The whole thing is filled with a cinnamon swirl and topped with a perfect streusel that really brings it to the next level.
You really won’t be able to keep your hands off of this delicious old fashioned coffee cake. I woke up in the middle of the night with this cake on my mind, and happily served myself a slice. It’s just too good to resist!
If you love breakfast cakes, try one of these recipes for your cake and coffee. Lemon Olive Oil Cake and Whipping Cream Pound Cake (truly the most perfect pound cake) are both super popular and taste amazing as a breakfast treat.
Cinnamon Sugar: Cinnamon sugar is one of the classic flavor combinations that makes you think of homemade baked breakfast goods or classic fall desserts. Cinnamon cuts through the sweetness of sugar and adds a delicious warming spice, which is what makes the flavor combination so well loved.
Streusel Topping: You only need 3 ingredients to make a delicious crumbly streusel topping. Real butter, sugar, and all-purpose flour. For this coffee cake, I opted to add in ground cinnamon and swap the sugar for brown sugar. It really helps the cake lean into the warming cinnamon flavor, and it’s honestly so delicious.
You could also add in chopped walnuts or pecans to make a cinnamon crunch streusel topping, but I prefer it without nuts.
Butter: Unsalted real butter is the way to go for this recipe. It makes the coffee cake richer, more tender, and it adds structure to the cake (since butter is solid at room temperature).
Sugar: A combination of granulated white sugar and light brown sugar make the best coffee cake. Brown sugar adds a caramel or toffee flavor (thanks to the molasses), and it also adds extra moisture. White granulated sugar is sweeter, so you can use less to get the desired sweetness. Brown sugar is also more dense, so combining the two sugars gives the best combination of flavor and texture.
Vanilla: I recommend using pure vanilla extract in this recipe because I always think it tastes noticeably better. If you only have artificial vanilla it will work though. Since the vanilla will be baked here, the taste difference is less noticeable than it would be in a no-bake dessert.
Eggs: Eggs are used here to add flavor, act as a binder, provide some leavening power, and add some moisture.
Flour: I recommend using all-purpose flour instead of cake flour for this recipe. Cake flour contains very weak gluten proteins, so a coffee cake made with cake flour would be too soft and tender. It would be a cake you needed to eat with a fork, rather than a slice of cake you could easily pick up with your hands to eat while you sip your coffee.
Leaveners: We’re using both baking soda and baking powder in this recipe. The baking soda will react with the buttermilk to create a rise, but if we only used baking soda, it would completely neutralize the acid in the buttermilk which would impact the flavor of the cake. That’s why we’re also using baking powder to complement the baking soda, and give the cake the correct amount of rise without taking away from the flavor.
Salt: We’re adding just enough salt to enhance the other flavors in this cake. It balances out the sweetness and adds complexity to the flavors, but it won’t taste noticeably salty.
Buttermilk: Buttermilk helps break down the protein in gluten, which makes this cake more tender. It also reacts with the baking soda to create the rise this cake needs. If you don’t have buttermilk, you could also use sour cream.
How To Make Cinnamon Coffee Cake
Start by preheating the oven and preparing the baking dish. Mix together the cinnamon sugar and set it aside. (See the recipe card below for the full printable instructions.)
Mix together the flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon to make the streusel topping. Add in the cubes of butter and cut it into the flour mixture to make a crumbly streusel texture. Set aside.
Use a hand mixer or a stand mixer to cream together the butter and sugar, adding the vanilla extract about halfway through creaming the butter.
Add in the eggs, one at a time, and mix until they’re just incorporated.
In a separate mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt so that there are no clumps. Gently whisk together to mix.
Add one third of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, then mix until just combined. Add half of the buttermilk to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. Repeat this step.
Add in the remaining flour, and mix. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula, and gently mix together.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared baking dish, and use the silicone spatula to spread it out. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the coffee cake batter.
Add the remaining coffee cake batter on top of the cinnamon sugar layer in dollops. Gently spread it out, doing your best not to mix the cinnamon sugar layer into the batter.
Sprinkle the streusel topping evenly over the entire coffee cake.
Bake the cake uncovered in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the cinnamon cake from the oven and let it cool completely before transferring it to a cutting board to slice and serve. See the recipe card below for the full written instructions, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and helpful tips, etc.
What’s The Difference Between Coffee Cake And Regular Cake?
The main difference between coffee cake and regular cake is the topping. Coffee cake is topped with a delicious crumble or streusel topping, whereas regular cakes are frosted or glazed. That makes coffee cakes much easier to make, because the topping on this sheet cake is already baked in.
How To Make Buttermilk
To make a buttermilk substitute, simply add 1 Tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar to a liquid measuring cup, then use milk to fill until the 1 cup line marker. Mix that together and let it rest for a few minutes before using it in the recipe.
Why Is My Coffee Cake So Dry?
The secret to a moist coffee cake is using the right ingredients, not overmixing the batter, and not baking the cake for too long.
Thanks to the buttermilk and brown sugar in this recipe, this cake already leans towards being moist, so you shouldn’t have a problem with it being dry due to the ingredients (assuming you don’t overpack your measuring cup with too much flour).
That means that all you have to do to make sure you have perfectly moist coffee cake is be gentle when you’re mixing the flour in (stop mixing as soon as it’s incorporated so you don’t activate the gluten too much), and test the cake for doneness at 35 minutes with a toothpick.
A few minutes too long in the oven makes a huge difference in how dry the cake is, so you’ll want to keep a close eye on it at the end of baking to make sure it doesn’t bake for too long.
Keep In Touch
I’d love to hear what you thought of this recipe in the comments or on Instagram! @KeyToMyLime #KeyToMyLime
If you like this recipe, be sure to check out all of our simple breakfast recipes! Some reader favorites are:
- Bisquick Coffee Cake
- Crockpot French Toast Casserole
- Bisquick Blueberry Muffins
- Bisquick Cinnamon Rolls
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (90 grams)
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup COLD unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup buttermilk
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (176C). Lightly grease and flour the sides of a 13x9 baking dish, line the bottom with parchment paper, and set aside.
- To a small bowl, add the sugar and cinnamon and stir to fully combine. Set aside.
- To a medium mixing bowl, add the all-purpose flour, the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Mix together. Add in the cold butter pieces and use a pastry cutter (or a fork) to cut the butter into the flour mixture to make a crumble. Set aside.
- To a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), add the room temperature butter, the brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Use a hand mixer (or stand mixer) to mix on medium speed until the butter is fully incorporated with the sugar and is light and fluffy (about 5-6 minutes), adding the vanilla about halfway through creaming the butter. Don't skimp on the creaming the butter.
- Once the butter is light and fluffy, add the eggs in one at a time, and beat until just incorporated. Use a silicone spatula to scrape down the sides before adding in the dry ingredients.
- In a separate medium mixing bowl, sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently whisk together. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter mixture, and mix until just incorporated. Add in 1/2 cup of buttermilk and mix until just incorporated. Repeat this step, ending with the flour mixture, making sure you're only mixing until just incorporated (overmixing will cause a dry dense cake).
- Once the flour mixture is just incorporated, scrape down the sides with the silicone spatula, and gently stir to incorporate. Pour HALF the batter into the prepared pan, and spread out evenly. Evenly sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the top of the batter. Dollop the remaining batter on top of the cinnamon sugar, then carefully spread the batter over top (trying your best not to mix the cinnamon sugar into the batter too much - it's OK if a little bit gets mixed in).
- Once the batter is smoothed out, sprinkle the streusel topping over the batter to cover the entire cake.
- Place the coffee cake in the preheated oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Check for doneness after 35 minutes. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (or with just a few moist crumbs) the cake is ready. If it is still a bit wet, put it back in the oven for 3-4 minute increments until the toothpick test comes out clean.
- Allow the cake to cool before slicing and serving.
Once the cake has completely cooled, you can easily flip it onto a cutting board, then flip it back over again onto another cutting board or serving tray.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 353Total Fat: 15.4gCarbohydrates: 50.4gFiber: 1.2gSugar: 30.1gProtein: 4.1g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
You’ll love this layered cinnamon coffee cake with a cinnamon streusel topping! Cinnamon crumb cake is the best ever breakfast cake to have with your cake and cup of coffee.