Sourdough Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping


A delicious use for your leftover sourdough starter, this sourdough coffee cake has a cinnamon sugar streusel topping and middle layer for the perfect sweet morning treat

slice of sourdough coffee ccakke with streusel topping.

Sourdough Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

This moist and tender sour cream coffee cake will be a family favorite.  Uses all pantry ingredients and is a great way to use your sourdough starter!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serving Size 12 pieces


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.
    batter being mixed in bowl.
  • 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.
    mixing bowl with crumbled butter and sugar.
  • 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.  
    baking dish with layers of batter and cinnamon sugar 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.
    sourdough coffee cake before and after baking.


You can use fed or unfed sourdough starter in this recipe.  
If you only have a small amount of starter to discard,  use 1/4 cup of starter and 3/4 cup of sour cream
close up view of square piece of coffee cake.

❤️ 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 recipe!
  • It’s a great way to use starter. And even though this is a great way to use your discarded 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.

ingredients on marble counter.

You’ll need the following for this delicious coffee cake:

  • butter, softened
  • granulated sugar
  • eggs
  • vanilla
  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • salt
  • sourdough starter
  • sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • cold butter, diced
  • brown sugar
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • pastry blender for blending butter and flour together easily
  • offset spatula for spreading out the batter
  • mixing bowl
  • square baking pan
  • Nonstick cooking spray


Step One: make the batter

batter being mixed in bowl.

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

mixing bowl with crumbled butter and sugar.

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

baking dish with layers of batter and cinnamon sugar topping.

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

sourdough coffee cake before and after baking.

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.

🔍 FAQs

Can I use store-bought yeast in place of a sourdough starter?

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.

Is there a difference in taste between sourdough and non-sourdough coffee cake?

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?

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slice of sourdough coffee cake on plate.
Sourdough Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel ToppingSourdough Coffee Cake with Cinnamon Streusel Topping

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I did not have any pecans or blueberries but will try each another time.
    I used just the cinnamon streusel, layering it in between and again on top.
    I know my family (this is the only change I made to the recipe), and I made extra so I would have lots between the layers, just the way they like it. I am here to tell you, make this version. It is moist and delicious. Served warm with a cup of tea or coffee, and you have the start of a perfect morning.

  2. 5 stars
    This is my favorite recipe to use up my sourdough discard. I’ve made it several times now, and it’s a huge hit every time! The only thing I do differently is I also add 1/2 cup of buttermilk to the batter. I made it exactly as this recipe says the first time, and it was amazing. The addition of the buttermilk is a personal preference for helping the batter to spread a little easier without adding too much additional liquid.