www.marissa.co Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe

The Sour Cream Coffee cake is a cake designed to be enjoyed with a hot beverage like coffee and does not contain any coffee. This was my Yiayia’s favourite cake and now is my mom’s go-to cake recipe. It has featured and been enjoyed at births, hospital visits, afternoon teas and Sunday lunches. The cake cuts into anywhere between 25-30 squares so you can make it for fundraising events, where nuts are allowed.

We have been making this recipe since the early 1980’s when my Yiayia visited her sister’s in the US, so when we bake the cake we call it Thia Persa’s  cake. As a child I would never be drawn to the huge dessert tables at weekly Sunday get-togethers with 20-30 people and cake has never been my go-to treat, bread is my thing.  But if I want to feel connected to my family, this is the cake I will bake. It is baked in a rectangular dish and cut into squares. My Yiayia loved portioning everything and would cut squares and pop them into paper cups, even baklava. When you are serving a crowd it makes for a lovely presentation and an easy way to transport your cake.

The cake is light due to whisking the yolks and whites separately and incorporating the egg whites into the cake batter, as you would for a soufflé.

The inside and topping of the cake is a combination of nuts, cinnamon and sugar which are sprinkled between and on top of the cake batter. I found that this layer stayed separate when I ate it as a child and you could almost lift the top, off the bottom, which I never enjoyed. My workaround is to swirl the mixture together, with a toothpick to give the nuts, cinnamon and sugar the ability to stick to the batter of the cake. A gentle swirl did the trick on each layer.

This cake doubles in volume when cooked, it does look like a small amount of mixture but rises very well. I have made the cake in well-greased individual bundt moulds and iced them simply with icing sugar and water they were delicious and were enjoyed by my book club.

The sour cream element to the cake works with creme fraiche diluted with milk, yoghurt and milk diluted together and of course, you can use off the shelf sour cream. The sour cream adds a lightness to the crumb and keeps the cake moist for a few more days than an ordinary cake does.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake   Before being baked in the oven.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Recipe
Preparation time
Cooking time
Total time
Sour Cream Coffee Cake a wonderful vanilla sponge with a layer of cinnamon sugar and nuts in the centre and on top of the cake.
Recipe type: Cakes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 20
  • 250g butter
  • 1¾ cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs, separated, egg whites are beaten till stiff
  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 1 ½ teaspoons bicarbinate of soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup sour cream* See notes
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Nut Topping
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped into ½ cm pieces
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Grease a 30cm x 25cm cake tin or roasting dish.
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the egg yolks and beat well.
  5. Measure out and keep in separate bowls the remaining wet and dry ingredients.
  6. Alternately add a little of the wet and beat and then a little of the dry ingredients into the egg mixture.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and beat.
  8. With a large metal spoon fold in a little of the beaten egg whites to slacken the batter and then gently fold the egg white in stages into the cake mixture.
  9. Mix the nut topping ingredients together.
  10. Spoon half the batter into a greased pan and spread into an even layer (the mixture is quite thick), sprinkle half of the nuts and sugar topping evenly over the cake mixture.
  11. Using a toothpick mix the nuts into the mixture in a swirling motion to give them a base to stick to.
  12. Scape out all the cake batter and top the remainder of the mixture over the nut topping. Sprinkle the balance of the nut topping in an even layer over the top of the cake.
  13. Again gently swirl the mixture into the cake layer with a toothpick.
  14. Bake 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted come out clean.
  15. Serve the cake plain for tea, with cream or ice cream as a dessert
  16. The cake can be cut into small squares and put into paper cups.
If you can't find sour cream use ½ cup of Greek yogurt and thin to 250ml with milk.
or use 200g of creme fraise and top up to 250ml with milk.
Substitute the walnuts for pecan nuts.
I hope this Sour Cream Coffee Cake becomes a family favourite.

Marissa.co logo