Table of Contents
  1. The ingredients that make up this coffee cake
  2. Watch how to make this coffee cake recipe
  3. Grandma's Coffee Cake Recipe

A cake is always a crowd-pleaser, but what excites people even more is a cake for breakfast. Enter coffee cake! Traditionally, a coffee cake was created to eat during a midday break with coffee. Today, we use coffee cake as a treat for those special occasions when breakfast is more than just the usual.

My Grandma Conrad would always make this church cookbook classic, a Bundt coffee cake. It’s a moist yellow cake swirled with cinnamon sugar, and depending on who was eating the cake, chopped nuts. As a kid, I thought this was the best thing ever, and as an adult I still do!

Hand holding white plate with slice of cinnamon sugar coffee cake topped with white icing and chopped pecans with rest of coffee cake sitting on counter below

The ingredients that make up this coffee cake

  • Flour in this cake uses all-purpose, just like most other recipes. All flours are rated by their protein rate and all-purpose is the middle ground of flours. Cake flour is what pastry chefs use for cake, so it might make sense that this recipe would use cake flour. But instead of needing to buy another flour, this recipe is designed for all-purpose.
  • Cornstarch is the secret ingredient that turns the all-purpose flour into a cake flour. The cornstarch lowers the protein ratio and lightens the flour, which in turn lightens the finished texture of the cake.
  • Butter lends a rich flavor to the cake but is incorporated in a unique way. Instead of creaming the butter and sugar, the butter is added to the dry ingredients in a method called reverse creaming. The dry ingredients coat pieces of the butter as the pieces are worked in, which helps create a uniform (and perfect) texture for the cake.
  • Vegetable or neutral oil is added in addition to the butter. While it may seem like an odd ingredient, oil gives cake a level of moisture that is incomparable. If you love box mix cakes for their moist texture, this is the secret ingredient you need.
  • Eggs are necessary to give the correct rise to the cake. Extra yolks are added to give the classic yellow cake color and additional richness.
  • Milk helps tenderize the cake and add flavor. If possible, always use whole milk for additional flavor and richness. Water could be used, but would do little for the cake.
  • Sour cream provides a denser and richer texture to the cake. The slight tanginess of the sour cream helps offset the overall inherent sweetness and balances out the flavors.
Top down view of circular Bundt coffee cake sitting on wire cooling rack with white icing and chopped pecans all over the top

The recipe was originally designed to be used with a box of yellow cake. While this works, I find many packaged boxes of cake mix have numerous added ingredients and can have an “off” flavor. This recipe is simple and offers superior flavor, texture, and is almost as quick as throwing in a box.

Top down view of slice of yellow colored coffee cake with cinnamon and sugar in middle sitting on white plate with fork cutting away a piece

More cake recipes

Watch how to make this coffee cake recipe

Circular coffee cake with white glaze and chopped pecans on top sitting on circular wire cooling rack on white countertop

Grandma’s Coffee Cake

3.62 from 34 votes
Based on a traditional yellow cake mix recipe, this cinnamon and pecan coffee cake is the perfect breakfast recipe! Baked in a Bundt pan with a simple glaze on top, anyone who eats this will want the recipe for themself!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 55 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Servings 20 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 cup toasted pecans chopped
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon

For the glaze

  • 1 cup sifted powdered sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a bundt pan with baking spray and set it aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed for 30 seconds to combine. Add the room temperature butter 1 tbsp at a time and allow each piece to incorporate before adding the next, 2-3 minutes, until the mixture looks like wet sand. Add the oil and mix on low.
    2 cups flour, ¼ cup cornstarch, 1 ½ cups sugar, 2 ½ tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 8 tbsp unsalted butter, ½ cup vegetable oil
  • In a large measuring glass, combine the eggs, yolks, milk, and vanilla extract. Whisk to combine. With the mixer on low speed, add half of the wet mixture to the mixer. Mix for 1 minute and add the sour cream. Continue to mix for 1 minute, then add the remaining milk mixture. Mix until just combined, 1 minute, and turn the mixer off.
    3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, 1 cup milk, 2 tsp vanilla extract, ½ cup sour cream
  • In a small bowl, combine ¾ cup of toasted pecans, ½ cup of sugar, and the cinnamon. Stir to combine. Pour roughly ¾ of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Sprinkle about ¾ of the sugar mixture on top. Repeat with the remaining batter and sugar mixture. Use a knife inserted all the way to the bottom of the pan and make figure-eight patterns to combine the sugar and batter slightly.
    1 cup toasted pecans, ½ cup sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • Bake in the preheated oven until the cake is golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean, 45-55 minutes. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then invert on a cooling rack for 40 minutes to finish cooling.
  • While cooling, combine the powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and milk. Whisk until smooth and drizzle over the cooled cake. Top with the remaining nuts and serve.
    1 cup sifted powdered sugar, ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1-2 tbsp milk

Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 313kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 3.9gFat: 16.5gSaturated Fat: 8.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1.8gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 61.8mgSodium: 82.1mgPotassium: 209.6mgFiber: 1.1gSugar: 25.9gVitamin A: 70IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 96.3mgIron: 1.1mg
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Baking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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7 Comments

  1. Hi kaleb I love watching your videos and have learned so much from you . I just moved built my dream house and retired I got your videos everyday on Facebook and since I’ve moved I haven’t seen any videos are you on vacation and just not posting right now , I checked my feed and I’m still joined to the group just haven’t seen any posts lately

  2. 5 stars
    Printed and ready to give this one a try this weekend. My husband is going to be a happy happy man!

  3. Cake was DELICIOUS! However, top stuck to top of Bundt pan so wasn’t as pretty as could’ve been. But first time ever using my Bundt pan so will grease/flour better next time. There’s an error in the written recipe Step 3 describing the nut filling. It called for powdered sugar mixed with nuts and cinnamon, but should’ve been (granulated) sugar. Had to re-watch the video to confirm. Overall great cake, so moist!

  4. Kaleb,
    Love your videos and you’re just great!
    What flour scoop are you using, there are hundreds out there!
    Wood nesting bowl no longer available, help! And what size is good for bread? Do I need a salt spoon?

    I did just buy a KitchenAid sifter and scale on sale at William Sonoma. Looks cool and flour goes right into the bowl.

    Stay warm and thanks for sharing your love of cooking!

    Linda