Gram’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Found another of my grandmother’s recipes, this one for coffee cake.  Now, I love me a good coffee cake so I had to try it.  Plus, I tend to really like the ones with sour cream in them, so I had high hopes for this.  And Gram definitely didn’t disappoint!

That said, she had a BUNCH of her measurements wrong.  I think she probably knew how to make this pretty much by heart, so the recipe was a guideline rather than strict instructions.  So, after a pretty messy first couple tries, I fixed the measurements and put a little of my own spin on it.

It’s super moist and has a really nice, traditional coffee cake flavor.  Nothing too fancy in this one, just a really good coffee cake that tastes just like good coffee cake is supposed to.


Crumb Topping

·        1 ¼ cups flour

·        1/4 cup white sugar

·        1/4 cup brown sugar

·        1 t cinnamon

·        ½ cup walnuts, lightly chopped

·        10 T butter (1 ¼ sticks)


·        1 cup butter, softened to room temperature

·        1 ½ cups white sugar

·        4 eggs

·        1 16 oz. container, sour cream

·        ½ cup dark brown sugar

·        4 cups flour

·        2 t baking powder

·        2 t baking soda

·        2 t vanilla


Butter and flour a  9” x 13″ pan and set it aside.

First, we’ll start with the topping.

Whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and walnuts until combined.  Next, cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly.

What does it mean to “cut in butter”?

Recipes will generally call for cutting in butter when you’re making something that needs to be flaky – often things like scones or pastries.  What it means is including the butter into the mixture so that there are still bits of raw butter visible.  Unlike other recipes where you might be instructed to “combine well” in this case you actually want small chunks of pure butter, about the size of peas, in your mix.  For this reason, we use cold butter, not butter that’s been brought to room temperature.IMG_2354

Ok, once you’ve added in the butter, if you press the dough between your fingers it should hold its shape.  Add a little more flour if the mixture is too soft, and more butter if it’s too dry.  Set this in the fridge until you’re ready to use it (won’t be in there too long).

Onto the cake part.  This is super straightforward but before we start, note above how much goes into this…you’re going to need a pretty big bowl – my stuff barely fit.

Mix the butter and white sugar until fluffy.  IMG_2360Next, add in the eggs and beat until well combined (there’s that “well combined” – it’s coming up a couple times).  Then, add the sour cream and again beat until well combined.   Finally, add in the rest of the ingredients – brown sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and vanilla and beat until…well combined and smooth.

In retrospect…I probably should have used a bigger bowl…

Pour the cake mix into the pan.  IMG_2364IMG_2366Take the crumb topping mix out of the fridge and sprinkle it across the top, as evenly as you can.


Bake at 350 for 50 minutes, or until the cake is a nice golden brown.

Take out of the oven and cool on a wire rack.


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