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Best Easy and Quick Classic Coffee Cake Recipe

This old fashioned, quick coffee cake is a classic coffee cake recipe. This sour cream and brown sugar coffee cake has been in our family for about 70 years and it is a keeper!

classic coffee cake recipe with sour cream on cake plate

A few weeks ago I went home. Well, not really home, because it wasn’t where I grew up.

But when I see family it conjures feelings of home.

The occasion that brought me back? The first family wedding of the third generation. Oooh, that makes me feel old.

It was a happy time with a chance to renew all that ‘hood stuff.

You know: sisterhood, brotherhood, cousinhood, familyhood. It was good and soothed my soul.

In our family events always begin and end with food-glorious food.

Our family may not agree on everything-actually probably not much-but food is the one thing that is often a uniting factor. (I guess that is mostly true…)

We started the weekend with a comforting catered Greek dinner and quickly began the next morning with a luscious brunch.

My mother planned and executed with panache. Of course; that is her style.

It is my mother that gave me a love for food and entertaining.

I’m not sure what she liked most- the food or the entertaining, or the attention that it always brought.

And my mother had a way of creating attention.

Imagine growing up in a small town in Illinois where the most gourmet dinner was Wally’s, The Little Corporal, Jaenicke’s Root beer stand (Oh, those sauce buns with onions) and Monical’s.

OK-Wally’s had great Steak and Shake style burgers, the Little Corporal had good French toast, and Monical’s, the best pizza. (Oh my, I wish they had a Colorado branch. I still dream of it.)

Well, my mother kept Julia Child’s cookbook in her cabinet.

It was stained and well used and truthfully I can’t ever remember her making anything for us from it, but I am sure her many dinner parties benefited.

Now, my mom and I have very different styles when it comes to cooking.

She likes to dirty every dish. I try to use as few as possible.

She tries recipes over and over before she serves them. I figure what the hell?

She likes anything with bones (osso bucco, chicken wings, ribs, etc). I don’t like meat.

She was one of the first to take Chinese cooking lessons when someone offered them in our small town and she’s always had a passion since then for it.

I love Chinese but prefer Vietnamese.

My mom loves kitchen gadgets and I’m a minimalist.

I remember the day she brought home the fish poacher. This giant pan had to fit over two electric burners and evenly poach a fish.

I’m not even sure fresh fish could be bought in our small town at that time.

Of course, I don’t remember eating that meal either.

But that fish poacher still hangs above her kitchen island as a testimony to her expertise.

classic sour cream coffee cake

I could go on and on but let it suffice to say my mom gave me a love for food and all that comes with it.

In general we ate pretty standard fare. Beef was a big staple in our home as my grandfather was a grocer and butcher.

It was common to have a roast one night and a steak the next and a burger on another.

But we mustn’t forget the soy sauce chicken. We had a lot of that cooked under the broiler.

These meals almost always contained a head lettuce salad and usually a fruit salad.

The big thing is that almost every night we ate dinner together as a family.

And that is probably one of the greatest gifts my mom gave me when it comes to food.

I believe in a family dinner and I continued it in mine.

Yes, I believe it to be true that food helps us remember our past and many family meals are a good thing to remember.

classic coffee cake recipe with sour cream

But now it’s the weekend And I’m tired of writing, so let’s finish with dessert or a classic coffee cake recipe.

(You can eat it whenever you want!)

It is a simple, but scrumptious coffee cake that my mom made for our brunch.

It came from Danville, Illinois from a friend of my grandmother’s-a Martha Mervis. (I never knew her, but I love that name.)

Below is how my mom sent it to me. Typed! Which means it is really old. An heirloom recipe.

The other amazing fact is that it is my Uncle Mike’s favorite which means it must have been typed by my grandmother, because I’m not sure that my mother would know what her only brother’s favorites were.

 All right! On with it! Make this cake.

The entire hood agreed-It was delicious!

How To Make This Classic Coffee Cake Recipe:

So now you know the story behind this quick and easy classic coffee cake recipe.

Let’s get going with this easy recipe.

To get started, preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a springform pan by coating it with cooking spray or butter and flour.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together brown sugar, white sugar and room temperature unsalted butter until light and fluffy, using a paddle attachment on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add all-purpose flour, along with the cake flour, and beat on low speed until flour is mixed in.

Remove 3/4 cup of the flour mixture from bowl and reserve for the crumb topping. 

Add in 3 eggs, sour cream, baking soda and baking powder along with the salt and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, mixing on medium speed until well-combined.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and then sprinkle crumb topping on top of the batter, gently pressing to adhere.

Bake your coffee cake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack before removing the sides of the springform pan and letting it cool completely.

As you can see, from these very old photos, my Mom made this in a bundt pan. 

She did not use the crumbs and this was still a great sour cream coffee cake!

classic coffee cake recipe with sour cream

This homemade coffee cake is perfect for family get-togethers, baby showers, wedding showers, or just as a sweet treat to share with the neighbors.

It can be stored in an airtight container or covered with plastic wrap for up to 3 days, or frozen for up to 3 months to avoid freezer burn.

If need be, you can also slice cut individual slices and then freeze those-taking out a slice when yout sweet tooth kicks in.

Though this classic coffee cake recipe doesn’t contain cinnamon, you certainly could add some to the crumbs.

Yes, this is a coffee cake, but some may call it a crumb cake! 

It also is similar to a pound cake, but a bit lighter.

The buttery flavor of this quick coffee cake is incredible. 

With brown sugar, sour cream and vanilla, not to mention a simple crumb topping, this great recipe produces a tender crumb making this one delicious cake.

If you are looking for a quick and easy coffee cake recipe to enjoy as an afternoon snack, on a coffee break with a hot cup of coffee, look no further! 

This easy coffee cake recipe is a great way to to impress your friends and no need for them to know how easy it is to prepare!

With only a few simple steps and just a few minutes of prep, you’ll have a fluffy and moist cake that will satisfy your sweet tooth and everyone else’s!

I’m happy to say that this was my Grandma’s best coffee cake recipe.

And it was all thanks to her friend Martha Mervis.

I never knew Martha, but one of my favorite things about special recipes, is that we never forget who gave them to us.

classic coffee cake recipe

Need Some More?

King Arthur’s Coffee Cake (No sour cream)

Brown Sugar Coffee Cake

Brown Sugar Coffee Cake

Plum Cake with Streusel

Plum Cake

This post was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.
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classic coffee cake recipe with sour cream

My Mom and Martha Mervis’s Coffeecake

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star No reviews
  • Author: Abbe Odenwalder
  • Prep Time: 20 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 12 Servings 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: American


This classic coffee cake recipe with sour cream, brown sugar and vanilla is a quick cake to make…and eat!


Units Scale

1 1/2 c sugar

1 1/2 c brown sugar

3 eggs

2 t vanilla extract

1 1/2 c sour cream

3/4 t baking soda

3/4 t salt

1/2 t baking powder

1 1/2 c butter

1 1/2 c flour

1 1/2 c cake flour


Cream sugar and butter. Add flour and mix. Reserve 3/4 c of the mixture for the topping.

Add remaining ingredients and pour into a greased and floured springform pan.

Sprinkle topping on and gently press in.

Bake at 350 for 50 to 60 minutes.


This is a wonderful, moist, old fashioned sour cream coffee cake.

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


Friday 12th of May 2023

It seems very tasty and moist. Also I love the idea of adding cinnamon into the batter!

Éva Taylor

Tuesday 9th of May 2023

What a coincidence, I recently made a coffee cake (in a bundt pan, no less), probably my first coffee cake in 40 years! This recipe looks wonderful, definitely pinning it for the next time I need to bake one! Have you tried homemade cake release? Equal parts of shortening, vegetable oil and flour whipped into a smooth paste and brushed onto the cake pan, it releases perfectly!


Tuesday 9th of May 2023

I do love coffeecake as it always brings back the memories of something special. I mean who doesn't remember eating cake for breakfast? I love that cooking spray but can't always find it. Suppose I should order some to have on hand. Thanks Eva!


Tuesday 27th of March 2012

Thanks, Katherine!

Katherine Martinelli

Tuesday 27th of March 2012

Aw, I love this family recipe! And going home to see family is always the best. This coffee cake looks perfect!


Monday 26th of March 2012

Ahh, Mr. Kitchen Riffs. I have to tell you that this is one cake worth baking. And it is oh so easy. Just put it in a bundt pan as our mothers loved to do! And thanks for all your nice words.