Sour Cream Coffee Cake


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It’s snowing. It’s snowing. My school was kind enough to announce our closing a day early. This, of course, translates into one thing to me….TIME TO BAKE! I stopped at the grocery store on the way home to prepare for the storm. I changed my menu based on the possibility of losing power. This gal’s always thinking. So last night I used the oven, today it will be all stove-top cooking.

My mother’s sour cream coffee cake is the best. I have made it hundreds of times. It’s light and delicious. The house smells like cinnamon and love while it’s baking. Yes, of course love has a smell…in my world! I get happy just thinking about making this coffee cake. I copied the recipe after I got married. It’s faded and stained which is a compliment for any recipe. I have used a variety of pans to bake this cake. My favorite pan is one I found in a shop at the Lemon Tree Village Shops in Brewster, MA. It’s a Nordic Ware square pan, with a lid. It’s perfect. You can bake and take without foil! YAY!

You don’t have to wait for a snow day or even the cold to bake this coffee cake. Make some time to bake this for someone you love, because you won’t want to share it with anyone else.

½ cup of softened butter

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 cups flour

¼ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup sour cream


¼ cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ cup of chopped walnuts (optional)

Grease an 8 or 9 inch baking pan and preheat oven at 350 degrees.

Most “real” bakers frown on this method to soften butter, but I pop my butter into the microwave just until it softens. I cut it into pieces and put it on a microwave safe plate  and heat it for about 15 seconds. If you end up softening it too much (melting) don’t worry. Let it cool for about 15 minutes. Don’t fret, it’s coffee cake people! Let your oven warm-up and gather your other ingredients while it cools.

With a hand mixer or stand one, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well. Add the vanilla extract until blended. I unceremoniously dump the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in all together. I don’t sift. I mix this just a little bit until it starts to blend and then I add the sour cream. This is going to be a thick batter. But you don’t want it so thick you cannot spread it. I have found that some sour cream brands are very thick, other’s are watery. If the brand you are using is very thick, you may add another tablespoon to the bowl. If it’s watery, still the container of sour cream before you put it in the bowl. It’ll all be fine, I promise!  Mix the batter just until it’s all blended.

The next part of this may seem tricky. It’s not. Just remember it’s a coffee cake, not a painting. No matter how it looks, it will taste delicious. In your greased pan, pour ½ of the batter. Eyeball it. Then sprinkle about ¾ of the cinnamon sugar on top and walnuts if you are using them. I don’t like nuts in my baked goods, usually. I have some cinnamon sugar premade in a container in case I have a cinnamon toast emergency. So I don’t think I use the exact amount in the recipe. If you want to use more cinnamon sugar, do it in the middle. It’s okay, no one said cake was nutritious. It’s coffee cake people! Pour the other half of the batter in the pan on top. Here’s my trick, I use a spatula. I scoop it from the bowl, and then lay it on top of the rest of the mixture. Try to cover most of the pan. Once all the batter is on top, spread it evenly. It’s okay if it pulls up a little and the cinnamon sugar shows. It will still taste wonderful. Sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon on top.

In your 350 degree preheated oven, bake for about 45 minutes. Oh.the.smell.

Let this cake cool for about a ½ hour, at least. It is wonderful while it’s still warm!

You can use this recipe for cupcakes too. Follow the same method, but in a cupcake pan. It makes about 16 cupcakes. The cooking time will be reduced to about 25 minutes. Use a toothpick to check. It should come out clean.

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