This is a moist and tender coffee cake with coffee in it, topped off with a cinnamon coffee streusel and a simple coffee icing. The recipe is incredibly simple, and takes only 20 minutes of active work. And if you're wondering why I have to say "with coffee in it", it's because the traditional "coffee cake" in the US doesn't have any.
THE STORY BEHIND THIS COFFEE CAKE
I wonder if all expats can relate to this experience of having coffee cake for the first time in America: we get excited when we hear there's coffee cake, we eat said coffee cake, we realize that the coffee cake doesn't actually have coffee in it, and is just a cinnamon streusel cake. Cue the disappointment. Not to say that the cinnamon version of a coffee cake isn't delicious, it's just that a cake called "coffee cake" should have coffee in it.
So when I kept getting requests to make a coffee cake, I felt like I couldn't just make a cinnamon cake and potentially disappoint people. But I also wanted to retain the yummy texture of an American coffee cake. So I decided to create a recipe that had the best of both worlds, and this was the result!
I recently taught this recipe in a live baking class, and everyone loved it. Someone even said this tastes like the Bombay Bakery coffee cake, which I have never eaten myself, but have received countless recipes to recreate, so I take that as a compliment.
Here are the ingredients you will need to make this cake (be sure to scroll down to the recipe card for the quantities):
- All purpose flour
- Light brown sugar
- Instant espresso powder - I like to use Nescafe
- Cinnamon powder
- Unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
- Granulated sugar
- Unsalted butter, melted
- Oil - the use of both oil and butter makes this cake ultra moist
- Eggs - if you want to skip the eggs, you can use flax seed eggs instead
- Cake flour - you can make your own using a mixture of all purpose flour and cornstarch. Using cake flour leads to a much more tender cake
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Sour cream - if you don't have sour cream, you can use a mixture of heavy cream and full fat yogurt, or make your own sour cream
- Hot, brewed coffee. I use a French Press coffee for this, but you can also make this using hot water and instant coffee / espresso powder
- Powdered sugar
- Brewed coffee - or replace with water and instant coffee powder
HOW TO MAKE COFFEE CAKE WITH COFFEE
Before we get into the details, check out this quick video which walks through the process:
Now let's walk through the steps one by one.
1. Make the coffee streusel / crumb
Before getting started, preheat your oven to 350F (conventional) and line a 9x9" baking pan with parchment paper.
Mix the all purpose flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and espresso powder in a bowl. Add cold cubed butter, and rub it in with your hands until the mixture starts to resemble crumbs. You don't need to keep doing this for too long as the crumble will become more like dough, which we want to avoid! You can also do this step in a food processor, if you don't mind the extra dish washing.
Place the streusel mixture into the fridge while you work on the remaining recipe.
2. Make the coffee cake batter
First, whisk the butter, oil and sugar in a bowl for 1-2 minutes until they become almost white in color and take on a fluffy texture. I do this by hand but you can also use an electric hand mixer.
Then, add the eggs, egg white, and vanilla, and whisk for another minute or so until fully combined.
Now, sift in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold until combined. The batter will be quite thick at this point, but don't worry, we still have more ingredients to go!
Lastly, add the sour cream and hot coffee. Whisk or fold gently until combined. You might need to press down with your spatula to get rid of lumps of sour cream, but be careful not to overmix the batter so it doesn't become rubbery.
And that's it - the cake batter is done!
3. Assemble the coffee cake
First, pour half of the cake batter into the pan, and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle over half of the coffee streusel mixture (if it becomes solid in the fridge, gently break it apart into crumbs first).
Spoon over the remaining half of the cake batter, and spread it gently. This step is a bit tricky as it is difficult to spread batter on top of a dry streusel, but spooning it in a layer helps. Lastly, sprinkle over the remaining streusel mixture.
4. Bake the coffee cake
Bake the cake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Baking time may vary depending on the pan you use.
Let the cake cool down in the pan for 15-20 minutes before gently removing it from the pan. Place on your serving stand.
5. Drizzle with coffee icing
This is optional, but I love to serve this cake with a simple coffee icing. Simply mix the powdered sugar and coffee until a thick icing forms, and drizzle it over the cake using a spoon.
Slice up the cake and serve!!! I like to eat this cake while it is still warm.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
You can store this cake in an airtight container at room temperature for 2-3 days, or up to a week in the fridge.
You can substitute the sour cream with a 50/50 mixture of heavy cream and full fat yogurt. You can also use homemade sour cream by mixing 1 cup of heavy cream, ¼ cup milk, and 2 tablespoon lemon juice, and keeping at room temperature in an airtight jar for 1 day.
This can happen if you over mix the crumble / streusel mixture, causing the butter to melt. The idea is to keep the butter cold and break it into very small chunks by massaging it into the dry ingredients. If your streusel becomes like dough, don't worry. Refrigerate it, and then break it into smaller chunks once its cooled down again.
You can make black coffee using hot water and instant espresso powder, following the instructions for the type of coffee you are using to determine how many teaspoons need to be added.
Note: This post contains affiliate links.