A delicious use for your leftover sourdough starter, this sourdough coffee cake is swirled and topped with cinnamon sugar streusel for the perfect sweet morning treat
Table of contents
❤️ Why you’ll love this recipe
- Delicious. This coffee cake is one of our absolute favorites: a sweet and tender cake swirled with cinnamon sugar streusel that makes everything more delicious. If you love a nice cinnamon sugar topping, check out my sourdough blueberry muffin original recipe too!
- Great way to use starter. And even though this is a great way to use your discard sourdough starter, there is no sourdough taste.
- Perfect for guests. Start brewing a pot of coffee and pop this in the oven. It’s one of our favorite things to make for company.
This is an overview of the ingredients. You’ll find the full measurements and instructions in the printable recipe at the bottom of the page.
You’ll need the following for this delicious coffee cake:
- butter, softened
- granulated sugar
- all-purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- sourdough starter
- sour cream or greek yogurt
- cold butter, diced
- brown sugar
- teaspoons cinnamon
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- pastry blender for blending butter and flour together easily
- offset spatula for spreading out the batter
- mixing bowl
- square baking pan
- non stick cooking spray
Step One: make the batter
This is a thick batter, so I prefer to make it with a stand mixer, but you could use a hand mixer if you have strong arms! Make sure your butter is softened before you begin.
Beat the sugar and butter together until well combined. then add the eggs.
Combine all the dry ingredients for the cake in a separate large mixing bowl. Add one-third of them to the butter mixture and mix. Then add the sour cream and mix. Add one more third of the dry ingredients, mix. Add the sourdough starter, and mix. Finally, add the last portion of the flour and mix.
The batter will be thick.
Step Two: make the topping
Now we make the cinnamon sugar topping. To get a delicious crumbly streusel, you need to blend the butter and flour together first. Start with cold butter and cut it into the flour using two forks, a pastry blender, or by rubbing it together with your hands. Then add in the sugar and the cinnamon.
Step Three: assemble
Spread out half of the cake batter into the pan, then sprinkle half of the streusel topping on top. Place the remaining cake batter in dollops and then smooth it out, using an offset spatula if you have one. Sprinkle the rest of the topping on top.
Step four: bake
Bake for 40-45 minutes. You will want a toothpick to come out clean, or with just a few crumbs. Let the coffee cake cool a bit in the pan, and then you can serve it directly out there.
🥫 Storage instructions
Any leftovers can be stored at room temperature for up to three days.
If you want to store it longer, I’d recommend slicing, wrapping each piece in plastic wrap, and popping them all in a freezer bag to freeze for later.
No, store-bought yeast will not work in place of a sourdough starter. The sourdough starter is just for flavor and it rises using the baking soda/ powder.
Many people believe that all sourdough baked goods have a more complex flavor profile than non-sourdough. I’m sure about that, but we love this recipe. 😊
👩🏻🍳 Expert tips
- This recipe can be a bit tricky at first: the batter seems very stiff. But you’ll love the result.
📘 Related Recipes
Need more recipes to use up your discarded sourdough starter?
- Sourdough banana bread is another quick bread breakfast favorite that we love.
- Sourdough carrot cupcakes are more of a dessert, but would make a respectable breakfast without the frosting!
- And if you’d like to try a yeasted coffee cake, I have a fool proof recipe here!
📖 Here’s the recipe
Sourdough Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping
for the cake:
- ½ cup butter softened
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup sourdough starter
- ½ cup sour cream or greek yogurt
for the topping
- ½ cup cold butter diced
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center. Prepare a 9 x 9 or 8 x 8 square pan with non stick cooking spray.
- Make the batter. Beat the butter and sugar in an electric stand mixer until combined. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until fluffy. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Add to the butter mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with the sourdough starter and sour cream. Mix gently until just combined.
- Make the topping. To make the topping, cut the butter into the flour until it is the size of peas. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon.
- Assemble. Layer half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the topping on the cake batter. Gently spread the remaining cake batter on top, and top with the rest of the topping.
- Bake. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes. Serve in squares directly out of the pan.
42 thoughts on “Sourdough Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping”
I made this a vegan coffee cake by using 2tbs flax seed soaked in 6tbs water. Dairy free butter, and sour cream. I had to make dairy free sour cream for this recipe seeing I didn’t have any on hand. I did double the topping which made it really sweet yet everyone loved it. My dairy eaters loved it!
I was a little confused about the coffee cake with no coffee, but it appears to be an American thing (in the U.K. coffee cake has coffee in it). I made a slight error with the topping by combining all the ingredients so I put blobs on instead of it being spread out, but it tasted amazing! Def going to make this again with my sour dough leftovers!
yay! yes i get that a lot from UK readers: it sounds delicious (cake made with coffee) and would love a good recipe recommendation if you have one 🙂
Hi, it’s a coffee cake but there’s no coffee listed in the list of ingredients?
hi in the US coffee cake is a cinnamon sugar cake served alongside coffee 🙂
Wow! Great recipe! Since I have recently switched to einkorn flour, I used the cheat sheet found on “A Modern Homestead” and made the recommended adjustments. I also added frozen wild Maine blueberries to the middle layer. I’ve no doubt it would have been just as good without my changes, as the cake itself was just super moist and fluffy. Thank you!
so glad you liked the coffee cake Linda! I will certainly need to try blueberries; great idea! 🙂
I made this for my family and we loved it. I’m having the church ladies over for coffee and will be serving this hot from the oven! I’m so glad I found this website.
Hi LeAnne! I am so happy you enjoyed the coffee cake! Thank you so much for letting me know. 🙂
Made this cake this morning and it is fantastic! I live at high altitude and baked goods tend to rise too quickly and then sink in the middle here. The sourdough really seems to help, but I also made the following adjustments: Made sure the eggs were at room temperature, used a scant cup of sugar, a generous 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and used just a bit less of both the baking powder and baking soda. Will definitely make this again soon!
Just want to say this is the best coffee cake I have made. Will definitely make it again and again. I doubled the topping ingredients.
thank you Leah! so happy to hear that 🙂
This recipe was so easy and delicious. There’s only 2 of us, so I made 3 mini-loaves. I baked it at 350 for 30 minutes. They turned out perfect.
oh thank you for letting me know about the mini loaves! I will be sure to try that. glad you enjoyed your coffee cake 🙂
What could I sub for the sour cream or yogurt? Thanks
hi Judith, one reader made it with all sourdough starter instead of the sour cream!
Definitely need to double the topping recipe if using a 9 x 9 pan.
Just read the recipe. Looks great, but I was curious about the amount of topping. Thanks for the suggestion.
This was delicious. I have made it a couple of timesavers it turned out great both times. Could this work as cupcakes do you think? It would be a bit more work but make it easier to freeze and then take out just one or two at the time.
Yes I think it would be delicious! I think it might be easier to put all the topping right on top instead of layering. Maybe!
This cake is moist and delicious. The whole family loved it. I added sliced plums and a pinch of nutmeg to the middle layer and cooked it a little longer until the tester came out clean. Winner!
oh I will have to try plum, great idea. glad you liked the recipe!
This was delicious!! Thank you so much for the recipe! I baked it in an 8×8 for 40 minutes and it was perfect. I am curious about the ratio of starter to sour cream, because you mentioned you could sub more sour cream for the starter. Do you think I could go the other way, and do more starter and less sour cream, or even 1 cup of starter and no sour cream? Thanks again for a fantastic recipe!
hi liz! I’m so glad the coffee cake was a hit! you could certainly try increasing the sourdough starter to 3/4 cup, but I think 1 cup would make it too dense and doughy. the sour cream really helps keep the cake tender. 🙂
This is my second time making this coffee cake and it is just dreamy! Perfect moisture in the crumb, dense enough to feel really indulgent without being heavy, and with just the right amount of cinnamon and sugar!
The second time around I actually had more excess starter than I needed, so throwing caution to the wind, I put in a full 1 cup rather than ½ cup of active starter, while still using the full ½ cup sour cream as well.
It still performed beautifully, needing just 5 extra minutes of bake time. Probably the fact that it was active helped a bit, since that meant the starter was loose and well-aerated when it went into the batter.
I also am baking this in my round springform pan with some parchment pinned in at the bottom – simply because I don’t have any square baking pans – and it makes serving and cutting the full cake a breeze!
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
hooray! thank you so much for letting me know, and I love the idea about the spring form pan!
Thank you both so much for your replies!
What is the size/dimension of the baking dish for this recipe?
I use 9 x 9, others have tried 13 x 9 and done it as a single layer with a reduced baking time.
Can you freeze it after its cooked?
Delicious! Thank you!
wonderful! glad you liked it 🙂
There is no coffee added ??
no, American coffee cake is typically just a cake a served with coffee 🙂 at least where I live!
Can you make this the night before, refrigerate and cook in the morning?
you can make the batter but I wouldn’t do the layering
I agree. Looks and smells awesome, but took me about 50ish minutes to cook. I may try a 9×13 next time as well. Thanks for the recipe!
This was absolutely delicious and fairly easy to make.
Because it gets so tall in my 8×8, I think I’ll do it in one layer in a 13×9 and cut back on the baking time. Right now, when I take a piece I eat the bottom half first and then the top half because it’s so thick!
Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing. Moist, wonderful flavor, nice topping without being too much.
that’s a good idea! I do like it tall but I definitely see your point. glad you liked it!
Can I double the ingredients and make it layered in a 9×13” pan?