Filed Under: cake | Cakes & Cupcakes | Videos

Brown Butter Coffee Cake

By Tessa Arias
  |  
August 16th, 2018
4.94 from 47 votes
4.94 from 47 votes

Brown Butter Coffee Cake features an ultra moist and flavorful brown butter sour cream cake with a sweet cinnamon brown sugar streusel throughout. My all time favorite coffee cake recipe!

Yield: 9 servings

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook: 40 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Oh so flavorful! You seriously won't believe it. Perfect for that transition into cooler temperatures. Texture: The cake itself is tender and moist, and that cinnamon streusel is layered inside and on top of the cake for the perfect amount of richness and a slight crunch. Ease: Pretty simple and easy! Browning the butter is an extra step but it's so worth it. Pros: Absolutely delicious recipe that'll likely become a staple part of your baking repertoire! Cons: None. Would I make this again? Oh YES.

This is one of those recipes that EVERYONE loves. When I thought up the recipe I expected it would be pretty good (otherwise I wouldn’t have created it!) – but it blew even my expectations out of the water.

Every single person who has sampled it has loved it.

Brown Butter Coffee Cake features an ultra moist and flavorful brown butter sour cream cake with a sweet cinnamon brown sugar streusel throughout. My all time favorite coffee cake recipe!

You won’t even believe how incredible this Brown Butter Coffee Cake smells while it’s baking.

Your neighbors will probably come knocking just to see just what that divine aroma is! I hope you’ll be ready to share 🙂

Browned butter sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon streusel - the best coffee cake ever!

If you’ve never browned butter before, what are you waiting for?! Here’s a helpful post on how to make brown butter.

The brown butter adds a slightly caramelized nutty flavor to this cake that when combined with the other flavor boosting ingredients (sour cream, cinnamon, and brown sugar) the result is simply heavenly.

Browned butter sour cream coffee cake with cinnamon streusel - the best coffee cake ever!

Pair it with a cup of coffee and you’re ready for a moment of pure bliss! I truly hope you give this recipe a try soon and let me know what you think!

Be sure to use a light colored metal baking pan for best results! Dark colored pans will brown the edges and make them dry. Glass or ceramic pans will work as well, but you’ll likely need to increase the baking time.

More Coffee Cake Recipes:

More Brown Butter Recipes:

4.94 from 47 votes

How to make
Brown Butter Coffee Cake

Yield: 9 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Brown Butter Coffee Cake features an ultra moist and flavorful brown butter sour cream cake with a sweet cinnamon brown sugar streusel throughout. My all time favorite coffee cake recipe!

Ingredients

For the streusel

  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (48 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the coffee cake

  • 1 1/2 sticks (170 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 cups (254 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces (227 grams) sour cream or plain full fat yogurt, at room temperature

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup (63 grams) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 tablespoon milk

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square metal pan with parchment paper or foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Make the streusel:

  1. In a small bowl, combine all of the streusel ingredients with a fork until the texture resembles wet sand.

Brown the butter:

  1. In a medium slightly deep stainless skillet set over medium heat melt the butter. Swirling the pan occasionally, continue to cook the butter. It should become foamy with audible cracking and popping noises. Once the crackling stops continue to swirl the pan until the butter develops a nutty aroma and brown bits start to form at the bottom. Once the bits are amber in color, about 2 to 3 minutes after the popping stops, remove from heat and pour into a medium mixing bowl and let cool slightly. 

Make the cake:

  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugars.
  2. To the browned butter, add the milk, eggs, and sour cream. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients then pour in the wet ingredients. Gently stir until just combined. Don’t overmix.
  3. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half of the streusel. Spread the remaining batter over the streusel. Sprinkle with the remaining streusel.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

Make the topping:

  1. In a small bowl combine the sugar and milk until a thick yet pourable icing forms. Drizzle over the warm cake. Cut into squares and serve. Store leftovers, covered, at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Recipe Video

Course : Dessert
Cuisine : American

Photos by Ashley McLaughlin.

This recipe was the selection for our monthly baking challenge in March 2019. See all the entries submitted below! Learn more about our baking challenges here.

Tessa Arias
Author: Tessa Arias

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

Find Tessa on  

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Recipe Rating




  1. #
    Linda — May 14, 2022 at 9:50 am

    Made this for breakfast this morning. Delish! I did add pecans to the streusel. Otherwise didn’t make any changes. Turned out great. Will definitely be making it again.

  2. #
    Mar — April 17, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    This was a huge hit with my family! The butter really adds a great, rich flavour. Recipe was easy to follow and came out great!

  3. #
    Cheryl — April 10, 2022 at 6:28 pm

    The most delicious coffee cake ever!

  4. #
    Irene — April 10, 2022 at 11:31 am

    Omg Tessa!! You’ve outdone yourself with this recipe. On my list of favs now.

    • #
      Emily — April 12, 2022 at 8:55 am

      Wonderful! So happy you enjoyed this recipe 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  5. #
    Marilyn — April 8, 2022 at 6:09 pm

    I know this is a tough question for baking – but I really want to make this ! My daughter has an allergy. Any idea which egg substitute would be best for this recipe ?
    Flax seed egg or applesauce ?

    • #
      Emily — April 12, 2022 at 8:00 am

      We haven’t tried either, so I can’t say for sure! Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try!

  6. #
    Tracy — April 8, 2022 at 7:33 am

    Would it be okay to add 1/2 c pecans to the streusel?

    Tracy

    • #
      Emily — April 8, 2022 at 8:42 am

      We haven’t tried that, but you’re more than welcome to experiment, it sounds delicious! Let us know how it goes!

  7. #
    Corran — April 8, 2022 at 7:28 am

    Hai…

    Pardon my question, the recipe called brown butter coffee cake. However, I don’t find any coffee in the Ingredients, did I miss it ?

    Thanking you in advance for your reply.

    • #
      Emily — April 8, 2022 at 8:45 am

      Hi Corran! Coffee cake in the United States is meant to be served with coffee, it doesn’t always contain coffee as an ingredient!

  8. #
    Natalia — April 8, 2022 at 7:17 am

    Why is it called coffee cake if it doesn’t contain coffee?

    • #
      Emily — April 8, 2022 at 8:47 am

      Hi Natalia! This type of cake is typically served with coffee, which is where its name comes from. It doesn’t actually have coffee as an ingredient 🙂

  9. #
    Gigi — December 18, 2021 at 9:41 am

    What is the bake time when baking two of these at the same time? I’d like to bake these as gifts for my neighbors for the holidays and would like to speed up the process. Thank you!

    • #
      Emily — December 20, 2021 at 1:16 pm

      Hi Gigi! We haven’t tried that, so I can’t say for sure! Please let us know how it goes if you give it a try.

  10. #
    Jordan — November 22, 2021 at 7:09 am

    Would you consider a copper colored pan to be light or dark metal? If that’s my only option, would glass produce better results? Thanks!

    • #
      Emily — November 23, 2021 at 12:49 pm

      Hi Jordan! Tessa has used the Williams Sonoma and OXO gold coated nonstick pans (browned too much for her liking), but none of the copper colored ones. They would be similar to baking on a dark nonstick. You’ll likely need to reduce the baking time, and maybe even drop the temp by 10-15 degrees. If you use a glass or ceramic pan, you will likely need to increase the baking time. I hope that helps!

  11. #
    Siobhan — November 21, 2021 at 3:44 am

    I made this cake for a treat this week. Oh. My. Gosh!! It was amazing. Thanks for a fantastic recipe that I will be making again!

  12. #
    Hana — November 11, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Hi! What can I substitute the sour cream with? Would butter milk work or is Yogurt better?
    Looks amazing, can’t wait to try it!

    • #
      Emily — November 12, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Hi Hana! We recommend using plain full fat yogurt as another option. We actually list that in the recipe’s ingredients 🙂 If you try buttermilk, let us know how it goes as we haven’t tested that!

  13. #
    Mae — November 9, 2021 at 11:45 pm

    Super love this cake! I love the brown butter flavor!

  14. #
    Osleidys — August 13, 2021 at 7:55 am

    This recipe is amazing, full of flavor and easy. Thank you Tessa!

    • #
      Emily — August 13, 2021 at 10:22 am

      So happy you enjoyed it, Osleidys! Thank you for the comment!

  15. #
    Sarah — August 9, 2021 at 11:32 am

    This cake is INSANE. Never thought I’d say that about coffee cake but I couldn’t be happier with the results. I ran out of brown sugar for the crumble and had to use white sugar, and used plain yogurt for the sour cream part. Absolutely will be making this again. Excellent recipe. Thanks!

    • #
      Emily — August 10, 2021 at 8:46 am

      So happy your substitutions worked perfectly, Sarah! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

  16. #
    Chelsea — August 3, 2021 at 5:12 pm

    If doubling the recipe, can I bake it in a 9×13 pan or will cooking two rounds in an 8×8 going to have the best results?

    • #
      Emily — August 4, 2021 at 8:50 am

      Hi Chelsea! A 9×13 pan should work perfectly fine 🙂 Enjoy your coffee cake!

  17. #
    Baker — June 15, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    Hi. Would it work if I used cake flour instead for a more tender cake? Thanks.

    • #
      Tessa — June 16, 2021 at 6:27 am

      I haven’t tried cake flour with this recipe, so I can’t say for sure how it would hold up; however, I will say this coffee cake is already super moist with the addition of sour cream. I’d recommend trying it first to see what you think, and then experiment if you’d like 🙂

  18. #
    Madilyn M — May 23, 2021 at 12:34 pm

    Made this for Sunday brunch today and my sisters and I have concluded it’s the best coffee cake we have ever made. We’re real sticklers for texture and flavor, doing everything from scratch. It really is so delicious and wonderful.
    I used:
    8 oz plain greek yogurt in place of sour cream
    An extra 1/4 tsp of cinnamon to the streusel
    1/2 tsp of vanilla to the glaze.
    Everything else to the T!
    Mine took 50 mins rather than 40 but that’s just my oven.

    Perfectly moist. Incredible flavor. I can’t wait to make it again!!

    • #
      Tessa — May 24, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      Hooray!! I’m so pleased everyone loved this coffee cake! 🙂

  19. #
    Katie — May 21, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Hi, I’m about to make this I think, but do you know if it’s alright to prepare the batter ahead of time, keep it in the fridge overnight and bake the next day?

    • #
      Tessa — May 24, 2021 at 4:16 pm

      No, this recipe includes baking soda, so the batter needs to be baked soon after mixing. You could make the entire coffee cake ahead of time though as this recipe keeps particularly well and actually improves over time as the flavors intensify! 🙂

  20. #
    Linda Kendall — May 17, 2021 at 3:06 pm

    The BEST coffee cake recipe ever. I had never baked anything with brown butter. I was a bit hesitant.
    (yes I like to play it safe? The brown butter was easy and the aroma fantastic. I was also concerned that the coffee cake would be dry. NOPE. The whole process was easy and problem free. The best part was the Fabulous moist delicious coffee cake. Thank you.
    Linda

    • #
      Tessa — May 18, 2021 at 9:07 am

      YAY!! I’m so thrilled you loved your coffee cake! 🙂

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