Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I grew up with this coffee cake. My mom used to make it on Saturday mornings and I have the fondest memories every time I smell the vanilla and cinnamon wafting from the oven. I have a lot of recipes that have these very same ingredients in them but I can tell you every time when it's the coffee cake in the oven. Right now it's Sunday morning on the boat. A cloudy Sunday morning after a difficult late night and it just seemed the right comfort food to have for brunch. Enjoy.

Cake Batter:

1/2 cup butter 
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup  sour cream or plain yogurt


1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream the butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl. I don't have an electric mixer on board so I use a potato masher for this and it works great. Once it's mixed together I use a whisk to whip it till it's light and fluffy.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Set aside.

Mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and walnuts together. Set aside.

Once you have the three bowls ready and your yogurt, you can begin to combine them. Mix half of the flour mixture into the egg/sugar mixture and stir well to combine.
It should look like very thick batter like the picture at the left.

Add half of the sour cream and stir till combined. Don't worry if the batter looks like it's going to start separating. This is normal.

Add the remaining flour and stir well and then add the remaining sour cream and stir again. It should look like normal cake batter, only thicker.

Spread half of the batter into the greased 9 x 13 pan. It will just barely cover the pan about 1/2" thick. Take half of the topping mixture and sprinkle evenly on top of the batter. Take the remaining batter and drop by spoonfuls onto the topping mixture in the pan. Carefully spread the batter to cover the topping mixture without mixing in the topping mixture. Take remaining half of the topping mixture and sprinkle it evenly over the second batter layer. Bake at 350° for 25-35 minutes depending on your boat's oven. The top should be golden brown.

Tool Tip:

The lowly potato masher is a liveaboard / cruiser's best friend. Use it to mix heavy cookie doughs, cold butter, any vegetable including, of course, the potato.  Best $2.79 you'll ever spend.


  1. GREAT tip on the potato masher! It had not occured to me that it could help with heavy doughs or basically as a pastry blender substitute for cold butter/flour blending. I had a flimsy one we picked up in Mexico but a stouter version now... will need to try this soon. OH and that coffee cake is a fave. Usually making it with yogurt, we seem to have that on board more dependably than sour cream.

  2. Glad you're enjoying the recipe. There is also another tool I use to cut in cold butter - it's a nut chopper. I'll have to do a post on it as it's not a common type but it's the best all around chopper I've ever used. I'll list it in my galley store in the right side bar for you.

    Thanks again,


  3. Update: Since this post I've been using a regular cheese grater for butter. I grate stick butter on the grater and then it makes it really easy to cream with the sugar and egg!