• Harry

Coffee Cake: Where's the Coffee?



I love coffee cake. It's one of those things that I will always get when available and I totally judge places based on how well they can make it. (serve it warm and you automatically get points) Through the years I have made boxed versions and from scratch versions. This recipes is what I have stuck by after all of that. It can be done in a square pan or a loaf pan based on how you want to cut it and eat it. I honestly love the square pan, bakes faster and I love the bumpy texture that has valleys filled with buttery cinnamon sugar. It's a very easy recipe, completely doable by hand if you don't have a mixer. It also stores so well. Package any extra in an airtight container and in the freezer it goes. I quick 30 seconds in the microwave and it's ready for your morning on the go.


Check out the recipe below and jazz it up by personalizing the amount of cinnamon or even adding other spices with the cinnamon! (any cardamon fans?)

225g All Purpose Flour

150g Granulated Sugar

2 tsp Baking Powder

Pinch Salt

1 ea Egg

125g Milk

60g Vegetable Oil (use olive for a slightly denser cake that is more moist)

1 tsp Vanilla


200g Brown Sugar

40g All Purpose Flour

110g Unsalted Butter, melted

1-2 tsp Cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line an 8-inch by 8-inch pan with parchment paper and grease. You can also use a loaf pan still grease and line with parchment for easy removal.

2. In a medium heat proof bowl, mix the brown sugar and 40g flour with the cinnamon.

3. Add the melted butter and mix into a paste. Refrigerate or freeze until firm and crumbly.

4. In a new bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

5. In a measuring cup, whisk the milk, oil, egg, and vanilla.

6. Add wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a rubber spatula until smooth. Be careful not to over mix!

7. Spread about 1/2-2/3's into the prepared pan.

8. Crumble the brown sugar topping over the mixture. Dollop the remaining batter on top.

9. Bake for 30-40 minutes (45-60 for a loaf). Center of cake should spring back when pressed.

Coffee cake has an interesting history. Modern American coffee cake is a distant version on the original. The cake is from Europe, traditionally it was leavened with yeast and not baking powder or soda and contained fruit not cinnamon. As people moved around the lands in Europe multiple types were made and the name first comes from the introduction of coffee in the area. People realized the sweet cake was a perfect compliment to the more bitter drink. As people came to the Americas they brought the many versions, mostly ones with cinnamon as a filling and often times with walnuts.


With the invention of commercial yeast, other leavenings, and ways to enrich the dough (like butter or sour cream) the cake had many changes in the U.S. and eventually became the common coffee cake you can find in most coffee shops. So although this is my go to coffee cake any sweeter cake that you enjoy with coffee is by definition a coffee cake! So fuck social norms and start you day with a big slice of any cake you want. If any one asks it's still coffee cake.

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