Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

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This delicious Sour Cream Coffee Cake was one of my favorite recipes of 2010. It was #74 of my 365 recipe challenge that year.

I made it a few more times while we still lived in Illinois, but I began to focus on trying other coffee cake recipes, and eventually started making more pancakes and scones for breakfast. But still, this is a recipe that I’ve thought of fondly for the last 8 years.

It’s fluffy and moist and delicious. I like the inclusion of some whole wheat flour, and the use of oats not only in the streusel, but ground up and mixed into the batter. It’s sweet enough to feel a little indulgent, but not tooth-achingly so. I’ve enjoyed this cake so much that I’ve never felt a need to find a different recipe for a sour cream coffee cake.

a whole sour cream coffee cake, on a glass cake plate

This recipe originally came from Cooking Light, as a lightened-up version of a sour cream coffee cake. I used to subscribe to the magazine (I just don’t have time for magazines nowadays) and so I remember their comparison of this recipe to the original. I don’t recall the exact numbers, but this was certainly lighter!

Let’s talk ingredients. Like I said, it takes a small amount of whole wheat flour. It might work with all whole wheat flour, but I haven’t tried it; but you’d need to scoop lightly as whole wheat flour can be a little dense. If you’d like to try all whole wheat, I recommend milder white whole wheat flour (King Arthur Flour has some) over the usual red whole wheat you find in the stores. The recipe calls for toasted oats. I find it pretty easy to toast them while the oven preheats; if your oven isn’t at temperature, then you will probably need to toast them 1-2 more minutes. It’s fine with untoasted oats too, though. Walnuts: omit them if you’d like, and substitute two more tablespoons oats. Sour cream: I buy sour cream specifically for this recipe. You can use regular or light sour cream. I’ve also used yogurt in place of sour cream in it in the past, although not recently. Not quite the same but close, but it keeps the cake moist, and it’s still delicious! I use butter now but I know I used margarine in it the first time I made it.

a slice of sour cream coffee cake

This cake does take a little time to assemble in the morning, but we’ve established a nice routine this year in the Konkel household. One morning a weekend, I get up with Amelia, and she helps me make a breakfast from scratch. Some weekends this means helping cut butter into flour for scones, scooping baking powder, and patting out dough. (She’s become my hand model, and wants her hand in all my pictures now.) When I made this cake, it involved her turning the stand mixer up and down to adjust the speed, holding an egg gently and saying it’s cuddly, and eating walnuts and keeping me company while I made the cake.

But all of this is to say, making something like this for breakfast has become a weekend family project in our house, and so the time is well spent. Hopefully you will find it so in your house, too. And even if you have to make it all by yourself, eating this cake is worth it.

Want other coffee cake recipes? Try Quick Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake, Strawberry Coffee Cake, or Fresh Pear Coffee Cake.

Tried this recipe? Like this recipe? Please rate it or comment below. Thank you!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake
Prep Time
45 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

This delicious, half-whole-grain coffee cake is moist and fluffy, with a light covering of streusel topping it.

Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Servings: 10
Author: Leona Konkel
  • 3/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (about 2.5 ounces, divided)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (about 4 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour (about 1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup butter (softened)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 8-ounce carton sour cream (light or full-fat is fine)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts (toasted, but untoasted is ok too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter (cold, and cut into small pieces)
  1. Place oats on a baking sheet and bake at 350F for 6 minutes, until light brown. (Add a couple of minutes, keeping an eye on the oats, if you toast them while the oven preheats, as I do.)

  2. Reserve 1/4 cup oats; set aside to use in the streusel. Grind remaining oats in a food processor or bullet blender, for about 4-5 seconds or until finely ground. Combine ground oats with flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl.

  3. Using an electric mixer or stand mixer, beat butter with sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes at medium speed. Add eggs, one at a time, then add vanilla. On low speed, alternate adding the flour mixture and the sour cream, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides, and mix until just combined. Spoon batter into a greased 9-inch springform pan; spread it out to edges.

  4. Combine 1/4 cup reserved oats, 1/4 brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon. Use a pastry cutter or two knives to cut in butter until the mixture looks sandy and no clumps of butter remain. Spread on top of batter. 

  5. Bake at 350F for 35 minutes (but start checking at 30), until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool cake for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan. Serve warm. If kept well covered, cake is almost as good the next day. 

Recipe Notes

Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

(Post updated with new text, photos, and recipe. Originally posted in April 2010.)

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