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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

I toyed with the idea of having this be the shortest description of a recipe I’ve ever written by simply writing: This is the best coffee cake ever. But, I thought maybe you’d want to know why this is the best coffee cake ever.

One of the reasons for that declaration is the texture of the cake. It is so amazingly soft and light. It’s one of the most easy-to-eat cakes I’ve ever had.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl is a delicious choice for anything from breakfast to dessert! - Bake or Break

Of course, there’s the flavor. That gets a little more complicated, as it gets flavor from three different components. The cake itself is sweet, but not too sweet. The sour cream gives it that little bit of kick that really makes it interesting.

Then, there are the layers of chocolate and cinnamon. The chocolate is not overstated at all, and it mixes perfectly well with the cinnamon. Topping all of that off is a very fine crumb that’s buttery, sweet, nutty, and salty all at the same time.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl is a delicious choice for anything from breakfast to dessert! - Bake or Break

I first made this coffee cake for a brunch with friends. The eight of us nearly devoured the entire thing. I made it again just to prove to myself that it was really as good as I thought it was the first time. As I sit here thoroughly enjoying a slice of it, I can tell you that it most definitely is.

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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

Yield 18 to 24 servings
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl is a delicious choice for anything from breakfast to dessert!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl


For the crumb topping:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold & cut into 1-inch cubes

For the swirl:

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cake:

  • 3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To make the crumb topping:

  1. Place the flour, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix. Add the pecans, and pulse until the pecans are finely chopped and thoroughly mixed.
  2. Add the butter and pulse until combined. The mixture should look like coarse sand. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the swirl:

  1. Whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9"x 13"x 2" baking pan.*
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar, and beat until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the sides again and mix for another 30 seconds.
  4. Add the sour cream and vanilla, and mix just until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 portions, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Mix each addition just until combined. Do not overmix.

To assemble the cake:

  1. Pour one-third of the cake batter into prepared pan. Spread evenly.
  2. Sprinkle half of the swirl mixture evenly over the batter.
  3. Spread half of the remaining batter evenly over the swirl mixture.
  4. Sprinkle the remaining swirl mixture evenly over batter.
  5. Spread the remaining batter evenly over the swirl mixture.
  6. Sprinkle the crumb mixture evenly over the batter.
  7. Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan 3 times during baking. A pick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.
  8. Cool the cake in pan on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.
  9. Store any leftovers at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.


*I used a glass pan. If you like crisper edges, use a metal pan.

Recipe slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

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    25 Comments on “Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl”

  1. I love a good coffee cake! Can’t wait to try this one!

  2. This looks AMAZING! I have company coming this weekend and will be putting this together!

  3. Come to momma! The texture of the cake looks amazing!

  4. It looks so light! And crumble makes everything better!

  5. I’m just going to come out and say that this certainly looks like the best coffee cake ever. Love that thick crumble on top too! Must must MUST try.

  6. Oh yum, your cake sounds so delicious!

  7. Coffee cake with cinnamon, crumbs & sour cream…..with a little chocolate bonus. I will cut the recipe in half & bake in an 8×8 pan & hope mine turns out to be the best coffee cake ever.

  8. This might have to be my break my gluten free lenten resolution recipe for Easter Sunday morning.

  9. This coffee cake truly looks beautiful. If I didn’t already have a chocolate cake sitting on my kitchen table, I might whip one up right now!

  10. This sounds like my kind of coffee cake. I love sour cream in baked goods, and the cinnamon and chocolate in the swirl sounds amazing!

  11. The chocolate-cinnamon swirl looks divine! Lovely crumb topping.

  12. I am going to have to try this beautiful cake. But I’ll have to substitute yogurt instead. Its either that or I make my own sour cream. I hope it works! 🙂

  13. Usually its the crumb topping that makes me love coffee cake but your recipe has the chocolate-cinnamon swirl going for it as well! I will be serving this with coffee soon!

  14. I love coffee cake! I have a huge list of ones I want to try but if you say this is the best coffee cake ever, it has just moved to the top of my list!

  15. Love, love, love crumb cake. I just posted a version on my blog. The cinnamon swirl in yours sounds great!

  16. This does sound like the best coffee cake ever!

  17. I made this coffee cake and brought it to the office. I am a huge fan of coffee cake and this one is amazing. Everyone in the office loved it. I am so glad I saved a piece for myself.

  18. This cake was AMAZING! It was not fun to make but it was completely worth the effort. The texture is like a light banana bread. I left mine in for 55 minutes which was too long and the edges burnt so DEFINITELY watch the time.

  19. This was extremely good! My husband loves it and even the kids! I did not do the nuts in the topping because hubby is not a fan of that and he is the one who requested this. I also used unsweetened applesauce in place of the eggs. This turned out super moist as well!

  20. I believe this is the recipe from the “Baked”   Cookbook from the bakery in NY,  It’s really great as is everything in their book.

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