Better than Starbucks Coffee Cake

Everyone loves coffee cake and this is the best one you’ll ever have!  It’s better than Starbucks, better than your grandma’s and everything the perfect coffee cake should be.

I have to be honest with you, I can’t seem to write this post. How do you put into words one of those recipes that is so loved, so devoured by you that until you pick up your fork and feel it sinking into such a dense, moist cake, the actual satisfaction of such a perfect bake and texture how could my words do anything? And that’s just the beginning.

a photo of a single piece of coffee cake on a small saucer topped with a drizzle of icing.

The buttery flavor that almost melts in your mouth only to be instantaneously transformed into a burst of cinnamon and brown sugar streusel that surely must come from the most decadent European bakery ever to have existed. And you’re gone. You’re absolutely gone, taken in a moment to a place that can only be heaven on Earth. 

This is the best coffee cake I’ve ever had. Not just made, but had. Hands down the actual definition of all that a coffee cake should be. And just to top it off, a drizzle of a simple, clean icing. 

a photo of a fork being stuck into the corner of a piece of coffee cake.

Kindergarten Tea and Cakes

When I was in Kindergarten (and yes, I happen to be writing on the first day of Kindergarten for our little guy, and yeeees I am all choked up in tears because it’s the end of a season for me, no more littles. 🙁 But it will be ok, right? Right?!) we had a tea party day and I felt instantly nervous, our family doesn’t drink tea or coffee for religious reasons so what was I going to say!!!

The teacher thought I was more worried about taste and reassured me there would be coffee cake as well.

WHAT? Double the issue! Cake filled with coffee and a side of tea!!!

What was I going to do and say?!

The time came, the round tables were jittering with paper cups as we waited for our teacher’s aide to begin passing out the refreshments. Oh I was nervous!!

And then the juice, and a little cinnamon cake. 

All was well in the world. No one was serving kindergartners coffee and tea, but juice and cakes galore! Oh it was the most fun ever and I have been a fan ever since.

a photo of a piece of coffee cake sitting on a small saucer and the piece has been drizzled with icing.

Ingredients Needed for Coffee Cake

You will need ingredients for the three different parts of this cake: the streusel topping, the cake, and the icing on top. Here is what you will need for each part:

For the Streusel

  • Flour
  • Cinnamon
  • Kosher Salt
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Sugar
  • Butter, unsalted

For the Cake

  • Butter, unsalted
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Buttermilk

For the Icing

  • Powdered Sugar
  • Vanilla
  • Heavy Cream
The measurements that you will need of each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
a closeup photo of a piece of moist tender coffee cake with a bite taken out of the corner.

How to Make Coffee Cake

Three different steps to making this cake and it’s still so simple! Here are the steps for each part:

For the Streusel

  1. Combine all the ingredients except the butter in a large bowl. 
  2. Melt the butter and allow it to cool slightly.
  3. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and stir. You don’t need to break up the clumps unless they are really big.

For the Cake

  1. Preheat the oven and spray a 9×13 pan.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a standing mixer until fluffy. Add the oil and then mix again.
  3. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix it one more time before adding the dry ingredients.
  4. Mix the dry ingredients in just until they are almost incorporated and then add the buttermilk.
  5. Stir together until just barely combined.
    • Note: The batter will be thick.
  6. Spread 1/3 of the batter in the baking dish, then add a layer of streusel. Repeat two more times ending with streusel on top.
  7. Bake for 50-60 minutes and tent with foil if needed.
    • PRO TIP: Altitude will affect your baking time. We are at over 4000 ft and it takes the full 50-60 minutes. Lower altitudes will decrease the baking time so keep you’re eye on it.

For the Icing

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and whisk together to combine.
  2. After the cake bakes, let it cool slightly and then drizzle the icing on the cake.
  3. Serve it warm!

These instructions can also be found in full detail in the recipe card at the end of the post. You can also share and/or print the recipe from there.

a photo of a piece of coffee cake topped with icing drizzles on a small saucer with another piece in the foreground.

Does Coffee Cake Contain Coffee?

Coffee cake is a moist, tender cake that is usually topped with some kind of streusel topping and served with coffee.

Some coffee cakes may contain coffee, but the name comes from the fact that it is served with coffee, not because it has coffee in it.

What Can You Substitute For Buttermilk?

For each cup of buttermilk, you can use 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice plus enough milk to measure 1 cup.

Let it sit for about 5 minutes before adding to the batter.

a photo of a piece of coffee cake topped with a cinnamon streusel and drizzles of icing.

Can Coffee Cake Be Made Ahead of Time?

This cake is awesome to make ahead! You can make it up to two days prior to eating it. Cover it well and store at room temperature.

How Long Will Coffee Cake Keep?

At room temperature it will keep for 2 days. If you want it to last a little longer, store it in the fridge for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Wrap thoroughly in plastic wrap and then foil.

a photo of a fork removing a bite from the corner of a piece of moist perfect coffee cake.

Your friends won’t be able to stop talking about this totally divine coffee cake after you serve it at your next brunch with the ladies! The simple drizzle of icing over the crunchy cinnamon streusel topping crowns the glorious layers of moist tender cake. It is seriously fit for a queen! In fact, it is fit for THE queen…I would 100% serve it to the queen herself!

More Divine Cinnamon Dessert Recipes:

 

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a photo of a single piece of coffee cake on a small saucer topped with a drizzle of icing.

Print

Better than Starbucks Coffee Cake

Course Over 200 Favorite Easy Breakfast Recipes
Keyword breakfast, breakfast cake, coffee cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 16
Calories 645kcal
Author Sweet Basil

Ingredients

For the Streusel

  • 3 Cups Flour
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Cinnamon
  • 1 Cup Unsalted Butter (2 sticks= 1 cup)

For the Cake

  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Cups Sugar minus 2 tablespoons
  • 1/2 Cup Vegetable Oil
  • 2 Eggs large, whisked
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Cups Flour
  • 4 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Cup Buttermilk

For the Icing

  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3-4 Tablespoons Heavy Cream (milk is ok)

Instructions

For the Streusel

  • In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugars, salt and cinnamon.
  • Melt the butter and allow to cool just slightly so it’s still melted but not hot.
  • Stir the butter into the dry ingredients and do not break up clumps unless they are huge. Set aside.

For the Cake

  • Heat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13″ pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
  • In a standing mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy, about 1-2 minutes. Add the oil and mix again.
  • Crack in your eggs and add the vanilla and then give the mixer a final turn before dumping in all dry ingredients. Mix until almost incorporated and then add in the buttermilk and stir until barely combined.
  • Spread 1/3 the batter evenly in the pan and sprinkle generously with 1/3 of the streusel.
  • Spread another layer of batter and then another 1/3 of the streusel. Repeat one final time, ending with the streusel on top.
  • Bake 50-60 minutes, tenting with foil after 40-45 minutes if it’s browning too quickly, or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool slightly then drizzle with the icing and serve warm. (see note)

For the Icing

  • In a bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, vanilla and heavy cream until a steady ribbon of drizzle comes off the whisk. Set aside.

Notes

Baking Time

Altitude really matters here so your cake could be done at 40-50 minutes while ours is usually closer to 50-60.

Make Ahead

This cake is awesome to make ahead! Even two days prior to your event is fine if you cover it well. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice | Calories: 645kcal | Carbohydrates: 96g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 27g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 72mg | Sodium: 324mg | Potassium: 219mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 3mg

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