Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

mom's sour cream coffee cake

I’m starting to realize that life is short. I mean..I already know this but every now and then this thought enters my consciousness and I feel the need to SEIZE THE DAY. Then I get back to my routine and forget about it all, until I’m rudely awakened into remembering how precious life is.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Like this cake…I have this cake once a year. It’s really a shame that it’s only once a year. My mom makes it for Christmas day and she’s been making it for as long as I can remember. Us kids LOVE this cake. It’s apart of our holiday tradition and it tastes spectacular because it’s made with so much love. But why wait til Christmas day to eat this cake? Why not make it on a rainy afternoon in March when I’ve got the house to myself? I can certainly do that now that my mom gave me the recipe.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Do you know why it’s my most favorite coffee cake EVER? The outside is crispy while the inside is soft, moist and studded with a ridiculous amount of cinnamony walnuts. Did I mention that there’s a few caramelized patches on the outside? It kinda reminds me of a cross between an apple fritter & coffee cake. Yeah. You’re welcome. Wait. Thank my mom for this.

Life is short. SEIZE THE CAKE.

And we’re off!

Get your ingredients together. Everything is so simple. That’s why it’s good.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Butter & sugar get creamed with beaters. A mixer would be good for this too.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Eggs go in, one at at a time. Vanilla gets added in. Mixing happens and then sour cream enters the picture.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Don’t forget to make your cinnamon walnut topping.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Dry ingredients get mixed in.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Lube up and flour (I forgot the flour. OOPS) a bundt pan.

Layer 1/3 batter with 1/3 cinnamon walnut mixture. Repeat three times. It’s all fractiony!

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

This is the best part. Vanilla & water. This is the key.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Drizzle it on top of the cake. Magic happens. Then the cake gets baked for what seems like half a lifetime.

That is an exaggeration. I’m not patient when things bake in my oven.

Can you blame me?

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

While you’re waiting, you might as well clean the dishes and make your maple glaze.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Vanilla, maple syrup & confectioners sugar.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Oh HELLO.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

Thanks for un-bundting. There might be a few patches. Whatever.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

That’s why there’s glaze. It’s the photoshop of bundt mistakes.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

I guess it doesn’t hide EVERY mistake. But I put flowers in the shot. Look at those flowers.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

It’s all about the taste.

mom'e sour cream coffee cake

And really that’s all that matters.

Mom’s Sour Cream Coffee Cake

makes 12-16 servings

For the Cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups sour cream
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons each vanilla & water

Maple Frosting/Glaze

  • 1 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F

Beat butter and granulated sugar together until light & fluffy. Add the 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla, then beat in the eggs, one at a time beating well after each addition. Stir in the sour cream. Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt together and blend into mixture.

Combine nuts, cinnamon, and brown sugar in a small bowl. Spoon 1/3 of the batter into a grease, flour-dusted 10 inch tube pan or bundt pan. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the nut mixture. Continue layering to make three layers of each, ending with the nut mixture. Blend vanilla and water in a bowl and drizzle it over top.

Bake cake for about 80 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool 20 mintues on a wire rack, then remove from the pan.

In a small bowl, mix the confectioners sugar, maple syrup & vanilla together to make the glaze.

With a spoon drizzle glaze on top of the cooled cake and serve.

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115 Comments

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  • Aeshna
    March 28, 2012

    This post makes me want to go hug my mom while stuffing my face with coffee cake.

  • March 28, 2012

    Yum. I’m so making this- with mini chocolate chips added in… Because I can’t help myself…

  • March 28, 2012

    Looks heavenly, this is one of my fiance’s (many!) favorite foods!

  • Panya
    March 28, 2012

    CEASE cake?! Never! Now if you said to SEIZE it, that I’d be down with. :-)

    • Colleen
      March 28, 2012

      I was thinking the same thing!

  • Cristina
    March 28, 2012

    Hahaha what a great freudian slip, Tracy! I have a hideous cold, so I would very much like to cease the day!

  • March 28, 2012

    This cake needs to appear in my life. Yum!

  • March 28, 2012

    Cease the day sounds dire… ;)

  • Jillian
    March 28, 2012

    Can I cease today? I teach middle school…… lol
    This cake looks AMAZING!

    • March 28, 2012

      Seize my brain cells! What a dumb slip! HAHAHAHHAHA

  • March 28, 2012

    I could eat coffee cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Love the vanilla and water trick!! Will have to try it!

  • March 28, 2012

    I would like a slice of that cake and that blue and white polka dot plate, please and thank you :)

  • March 28, 2012

    I have to make this cake! Love everything about it!

  • March 28, 2012

    I’ve been looking for a recipe to use my awesome new bundt pan!

  • Amy
    March 28, 2012

    80 minutes?? that is a long to wait for this deliciousness.

  • Emily
    March 28, 2012

    Thank you, Tracy! I asked my husband a couple weeks ago if he liked coffee cake, and he said he did but he especially likes coffee cake with sour cream in it. I’ve been looking around for the perfect recipe since then, and I think this is it! This cake will be happening this weekend for sure!

  • March 28, 2012

    Sounds AND looks delicious. Especially like that there is NO actual coffee in the cake. Thank you!
    Also like – that you are on Instagram now, enjoying your photos ;)

  • March 28, 2012

    I’m hosting the women in my family for brunch this weekend, and I’m pretty sure I just figured out what to make :) Also, seriously, I need to learn how you style your shoots. My food shots always look ridic when I add “props.” This looks amazing.

  • March 28, 2012

    “Seize the cake” is my new motto!

  • March 28, 2012

    Coffee cake is one of my absolute favorite desserts. I could be fasting and dying to fit in my wedding dress and I will still eat this cake.

    On another note, this might be one of the reasons I’d totally choose to eat as much as I can and not lose weight. You and Joy had me cracking up, once again, on last week’s podcast!

    • March 28, 2012

      Oh man…have you gone wedding cake tasting yet? Dangerous!

  • March 28, 2012

    Oh wow. I seriously need a bundt pan. That’s the only thing standing between me and this cake.

  • I LOVE coffee cake, especially when made with sour cream. Your Mom’s version looks fabulous and I can’t wait to make it! Seize the cake!

  • Kate
    March 28, 2012

    Wait… there’s no coffee in the cake? I always thought coffee cake had to have coffee in it – does this mean it’s just a cake that’s meant to be eaten alongside coffee? I don’t like coffee (I know, gasp) so I’ve always skipped over coffee cake recipes. What have I been missing out on?!?!

  • March 28, 2012

    your scarf looks like it’s been run over by a firetruck. weird.

    • March 28, 2012

      I’m still waiting on that Lambrusco…

  • March 28, 2012

    I like your mom for making this awesome cake. Mine buys coffee cakes and will occasionally make a box mix. As for me, after some tragic bundt accidents, I always spray the heck out of the pans with those baking sprays that have flour in them.

    p.s. there is almost no black in these photos!

    • March 28, 2012

      someone noticed! I was trying to challenge myself…. Glad it worked! xoxo

      • March 28, 2012

        Yep, well done! I’ve been noticing a lot more color around here. :) You have a way of being colorful with b&w though, so I think both are good!

  • March 28, 2012

    Tracy this pictures are SO PRETTY. You are so talented. I’m off to seize the day by getting my hair cut, and maybe I’ll get a piece of cake on the way!

  • Emily
    March 28, 2012

    That looks AMAZING!!! Wish my mom was a baker…I guess I will just have to start traditions like this in my house when I have kids! : )

    • March 28, 2012

      I wish my mom loved kale when I was a kid! WE HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE FUTURE GENERATIONS.

  • Kjersti
    March 28, 2012

    My mom makes this same coffee cake for Christmas day also!!! Actually for christmas breakfast. It has become one of my absolute favorite christmas traditions, especially as I’ve gotten older and its not really about presents anymore :) Also I have been craving this cake for quite some time and have had a little conversation going on inside my head about whether or not I should make it or wait till next christmas!!!! I think i’ve made up my mind:) hehehe

  • I want it. In my tummy. RIGHT NOW.

    It’s those cinnamony walnuts that got me. Dang.

  • Seize the cake indeed! Mouthwatering!

  • March 28, 2012

    Wow, this is definitely something you shouldn’t wait for once a year. It looks amazing!

    - Sarah
    A Girl In Transit

  • March 28, 2012

    oh my gosh!
    that looks SO GOOD!

  • Jill S.
    March 28, 2012

    YUM, thanks for sharing! One thing: your pics look like it’s one and a half sticks of butter, not cups. Is that right? Or are there really three sticks of butter in there? [not that there's anything wrong with that! ; ) ]

  • March 28, 2012

    Mom knows best and this is just more evidence of that :) I love all of the layers of deliciousness!!

  • Katya
    March 28, 2012

    I am loving this coffee cake and will be making it for my dad’s birthday tomorrow. Perfect timing!

  • March 28, 2012

    WHOA. That looks amazing.

  • Rita
    March 28, 2012

    I have to try this…it looks yummy! Thanks for sharing.

  • March 28, 2012

    whoever decided cake for breakfast was acceptable, was BRILLIANT! I hope you’re seizing every last piece!

  • cate
    March 28, 2012

    Is there any way this can be made in a different pan? I’m not good with getting bundt cakes unbundted. What might you suggest? And how would I adjust the baking time?

  • cate
    March 28, 2012

    Oh, nevermind. I see it can go into a tube pan.

  • Mary
    March 28, 2012

    this looks so good! Note to self: get bundt pan (it just looks so great in that shape!).

  • March 28, 2012

    Thank you Mama Shutterbean!! This cake looks way too incredible for once a year. Seizing the cake refers to cookies too right? Okay good ’cause yeah, I did that.

  • March 28, 2012

    MOIST.

    Thanks Tracy’s Mom, I totes will be making this.

  • March 28, 2012

    This looked incredible just from the picture, but when I saw the maple glaze I just couldn’t believe it. This sounds fantastic!

  • March 28, 2012

    Oh my GOSH, I seriously think any baked good with sour cream is just the best thing ever. This looks AMAZING!

  • Linda
    March 28, 2012

    Oh sure, NOW you post your Mom’s recipe when I’m on my green smoothie kick, (which by the way are simply delish, and thanks for the Vitamix blender advice). Dianne is coming for Easter so I am taking a smoothie break while she is here. This cake will be on our menu!

  • March 28, 2012

    In my house it was always my dad who made the coffee cakes. This post brings back delightful memories of eating slice after slice with him around the kitchen table with cups of tea in hand.

  • March 28, 2012

    I loves it when you use the bundt pan. This looks amazing.

    What do you have planned for Easter up in here? I need a good springy drink recipe, we’re having an Easter Eve cocktail party and I’d love a good idea! :)

    • March 29, 2012

      On the sidebar of the main page here, I have a sprtizer that would be lovely! It’s light pink!

  • Tracy, this cake looks sooooo ridiculously moist and yum. The last photo with the fork about to dive in seriously makes my mouth water.

  • March 29, 2012

    This looks amazing. Your mom is quite the powerhouse of a cook – as her artichoke squares were seriously To Die For! I think this cake needs to go into serious rotation at my house – starting TONIGHT! (If only I wasn’t already at work I could make it now. *SIGH*)

    • March 29, 2012

      My mom is pretty awesome!

  • heather
    March 29, 2012

    i love draw something too. would love to start up a game. oh, i’m going to try this cake too, loved your earl gray chocolate one.

  • March 29, 2012

    I read this post twice yesterday, and am now looking at it again thinking about how badly i NEED to make it this weekend. Its calling out to me! I don’t have a bundt pan, but I might just need to go purchase one. I won’t be shocked if I have a dream about this cake tonight!

  • March 29, 2012

    This is my kind of cake. YUM.

  • BigYellowEyes
    March 30, 2012

    Looks good!! I’m going to try this cake :)

  • March 30, 2012

    It’s so strange. I was just thinking of sour cream cake yesterday. My Mom always made it and I don’t think I’ve had it for at least 25 years. This looks dead-on delicious!

  • March 31, 2012

    I made your mom’s cake last night and saved cutting it for breakfast this morning. What a good way to start the weekend! So good.

    • March 31, 2012

      Good job on the patience front!

  • Emily
    March 31, 2012

    I made this for breakfast today and it was fantastic! I wish I would have done what Nikkilooch above did though, and baked the cake last night. Two hours for baking and cooling was a long time to wait for breakfast! But it was worth it in the end. I couldn’t believe how soft and fluffy the cake was in the middle.

    • March 31, 2012

      It will last you all week. I should have put a warning on that!

  • Teri
    March 31, 2012

    I have this baking in the oven right now and the house smells divine. I used Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream since that’s all I had on hand. I hope it will still be as good as your mom’s!

    • March 31, 2012

      oh let me know!!! i was wondering how it would turn out. I’m pretty sure it would still be amazing.

  • neha gattani
    April 5, 2012

    Hi Tracy..can you tell me the size of the bundt pan that you used. Thanks

  • wendy
    April 9, 2012

    Tracy, I love your website and podcast, but I physically cringe every time you use the word, “lube.”

    • April 9, 2012

      Would it be even worse if I used that word on the podcast?

      • wendy
        April 9, 2012

        You say it out loud??

  • April 11, 2012

    I just wanted to say that I did that cake for Easter and it was so freaking good. People were nuts about it. Thanks a lot for sharing one of your mom’s recipe. If you would like to see a picture of my cake, I’m posting it today on my blog:)

  • Tara
    April 12, 2012

    I want to buy a bundt pan just to make this!

  • denize berrisford
    April 26, 2012

    just found this site, wow , made the sour cream coffee cake, delish…. hope to try more:)

  • HK
    August 13, 2012

    I made this cake this weekend and it was out of this world good!!! Thank you and your mom for the recipe.

  • neha gattani
    August 16, 2012

    Made this cake for the second time and was loved by all my friends. Thanks a lot for the recipe.

  • Michelle
    September 18, 2012

    Now that I’ve stopped drooling, do you reckon I could make this in a square cake tin? 8 or 9 inches???

  • debbie
    October 16, 2012

    I just viewed this recipe. I love the web page and look forward to making this delicious cake! Thank you!

  • Marcia
    December 30, 2012

    This cake reminds me of my Mom! She made a cake like this one and it was delicious! I can’t wait to try this one too. Thanks for the recipe and the nice memories that eating it will bring.

  • Tru
    January 7, 2013

    Thanks a bunch, another variation… I don’t know what it is about this recipe the smallest ingredients altered change the whole cake..
    Like your mom I’ve been making this for Xmas for years..
    However this year I’ve messed with the butter amounts, unsalted vs. salted and the amount of filling and the technique in layering batter.
    It can be tricky.
    I did however use only Organic everything this year … and I have to say a cleaner taste and not as much bewilderment on the additives and toxic add ins..
    Thanks again for the variation on the vanilla topping..
    That’ll be my next variation thanks to your mommy… t

  • Carrie
    January 27, 2013

    I made this for my Grandma last month at Christmas and she loved it! Kept saying how good it was while she ate it :).

  • Marche
    February 5, 2013

    I made this for a co-worker last week and her exact words were “This is THE MOST AMAZING coffee cake I have ever had”. Everyone in the office agreed. Too bad the announcement also went out that was the last baked goods I was bringing in. So thank you for providing this recipe so that I went out with a bang. My boyfriend heard so much ruckus about it, I am baking another this weekend!

  • Jackie
    February 28, 2013

    Hi Tracy

    Do I glaze the cake after the 20 minute rest or wait until it cools completely.

  • CAH
    March 1, 2013

    Just made this cake, and WOW. It is delicious. I’m eating some right this moment. Very moist, and awesome flavor with all that vanilla.

    For anyone who cares about using a different sized pan… I was going to halve the recipe but the ingredients are obviously easier to third, so I took a gamble… I baked in an 8″x8″ pan. It seemed there was barely enough batter to spread in the pan before baking but I’ve ended up with about a 1.5″-2″ high cake and it’s extraordinarily tasty.

    You could probably halve the recipe and bake in an 8″x8″ (or 9″) and have a taller cake.

    Thank you for this recipe, it’s going to be a keeper!

  • CAH
    March 1, 2013

    Oh and btw… I baked at 300 (was using a dark metal pan) for 25 minutes.

  • Sarah
    May 9, 2013

    Tracy I make this all the time and every single person who has eaten it says it’s the best cake they have ever had. I thought they were just being kind but I bake a lot of cakes and this is the one they all request when it’s their birthday/house move/kids birthday/they’re sick…any excuse! it’s so good!

    • Tracy
      May 9, 2013

      Amazing!!!! You are good friend to have, that’s for sure! My mom would be so happy to hear that her cake is a hit!

  • Cecilia
    September 5, 2013

    Love this cake, made it 3 times and planning to make it again this weekend. Only now I noticed it was published at my birthday! Best cake ever!

    • Tracy
      September 5, 2013

      Awww!!! So glad you like it. That would make my mom SUPER HAPPY!

  • Marche
    September 30, 2013

    I made this in muffin form this weekend…halved the recipe and set 2 layers in a cupcake pan to make 12 cupcakes/muffins. OMGosh…my boyfriend ate one before I could glaze them and 5 more once I finished glazing. ANOTHER hit!

  • December 23, 2013

    Yep. Doing it! x

  • neha gattani
    July 8, 2014

    I want to make this cake for an office party tomorrow. If I bake it the night before, do I store it in the fridge or at room temperature? Thank you.

    • Tracy
      July 8, 2014

      Covered at room temperature. :)

      • neha gattani
        July 10, 2014

        Thank you so much for the reply and the recipe. It was a big hit in the office.

  • Pat
    July 17, 2014

    Well, after my husband hit Gordon’s for some sour cream yesterday to top the baked potatoes (he came home with a huge, and I mean huge container), I started looking for a new Sour Cream Coffee Cake recipe. I knew yours had that little extra touch I was looking for.

    WOW! It’s decadently delish. I’m going out for dinner soon, it’s all I can do to not eat another slice. Thank you for this wonderful recipe Tracy’s mom, and a big thanks to Tracy for putting it out there. This will go into my favorites.

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