Filed Under: Cakes & Cupcakes | Videos

Brown Butter Coffee Cake

Recipe By Tessa Arias
August 16th, 2018
4.92 from 36 votes
4.92 from 36 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:

4.92 from 36 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!


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


  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

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!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Alicia — August 17, 2018 at 4:14 am

    Hi Tessa, I would LOVE to make this cake for the weekend. But I don’t see any coffee in the recipe? I thought perhaps it’s a typo and has been missed off? x

    • #
      Tessa — August 17, 2018 at 7:27 am

      Coffee cake is meant to be served with coffee, it doesn’t always contain coffee as an ingredient! 🙂

  2. #
    Wendy — August 17, 2018 at 5:02 am

    Alicia – its a cake to have WITH coffee, it doesn’t have coffee in it.

  3. #
    Ana — August 17, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Hello, which ingredient can substitute the sour cream? It looks delicious, but I don’t know if I can find in the DR sour cream and I would like to bake it. Thank you!

  4. #
    NIlsa — August 17, 2018 at 4:09 pm

    This comment is for Ana. I am from DR, sour cream ( crema agria) is easy to find in big grocery stores like El Nacional, El Bravo o La sirena. They have local version of sour cream like Sosua brand , but I prefer for baking the American brand , the red and white color plastic container.

  5. #
    Tricia — August 18, 2018 at 10:21 am

    Will it work to to double the recipe in a 9×12 cake pan? I need to make this for a larger group than 9.

  6. #
    Christina Luna — August 18, 2018 at 7:44 pm

    I made this recipe last night for a crew of 140 people, it turned out BEYOND amazing and everyones response was, this is simply the best.
    Thank you for sharing your recipe, it will now become one of the favorites amongst everyone.

    This is for tricia, I quadrupled the recipe and used 2 9×12 pans and it turned out perfectly.

  7. #
    Lisa — August 20, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Will this be oversweet? Is it possible to reduce them? Sugar?

  8. #
    Paula McCallister — August 20, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    I’d like to make this in a 9×13″ pan. I know how to double the recipe but how long do I bake it for?

  9. #
    Jessica — August 21, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    You were right….everyone loved this! I served it with quiche for a dinner. I was so happy to enjoy leftovers the next day!

  10. #
    Rachel — August 24, 2018 at 10:37 am

    It is amazing.My husband told me he never had to go to Panera’s again for their Pecan Rolls

  11. #
    Stephanie — September 29, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    Simply amazing! I wasn’t super confident on the browning butter portion, but the instructions were so detailed, it really helped me pull it off! I used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream because I didn’t have any. The taste and texture are amazing, exactly what I was looking for!

  12. #
    Bobby — November 22, 2018 at 4:59 am

    AMAZINGLY flavorful coffee cake! Stays astonishngly MOIST even days after making. This is my new “go to” recipe for coffee cake! Thank you!

  13. #
    Tina Harper — December 17, 2018 at 6:04 am

    I have made this recipe 3 times in the past month. Everyone loves it. It’s easy and delicious!!

  14. #
    Rebecca — March 1, 2019 at 10:02 pm

    As for replacing sour cream in a recipe. (I live in the Philippines where it is rarely stocked.) 1 cup All purpose cream mixed with 1 Tbs vinegar or lemon juice and let rest for about 15 minutes.

  15. #
    Jessica — March 3, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    It’s always helpful when you put links to some of the tools that you use. Would it be possible to post a link to the type of skillet you used? I’m not sure if I have one, or something like it that would work. Thanks!

  16. #
    Stephanie — March 4, 2019 at 6:02 pm


    I would love to try this recipe tomorrow. Due to circumstances, I’m unable to get to a store. I have almost all the ingredients. I don’t have regular sour cream, just light sour cream or vanilla full fat Greek yogurt. Would either one of those work in place of regular sour cream?

    • #
      Tessa — March 6, 2019 at 2:38 pm

      Yes! Does the vanilla yogurt have sugar added? If so, I would use the light sour cream. Might be slightly less rich but it’ll work in a pinch.

  17. #
    Melissa — March 5, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    The browned butter flavor really stands out in this Coffee Cake and the crumb is just perfect! This recipe is a keeper.

    • #
      Tessa — March 6, 2019 at 2:34 pm

      Yay! So glad you liked it 🙂

  18. #
    Azra — March 6, 2019 at 7:38 am

    Is there any substitute for sour cream ? As it’s not available near my place so …?

    • #
      Tessa — March 6, 2019 at 2:33 pm

      You can also use yogurt, as I specify in the recipe!

  19. #
    Stephanie — March 8, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    I wrote earlier saying I was going to substitute vanilla yogurt or light sour cream for the regular sour cream. I ended up waiting until I could get to the store and buy regular sour cream. I made this cake today following the recipe exactly. This cake is super DELICIOUS! Yummy! Thanks so much for this stellar recipe.

  20. #
    Cynthia Harper — March 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Wow! These were so good – I had to snap a picture quick because it was disappearing so fast….being my first attempt, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but it was delicious and I now know how to put it together better the next time. Thanks!

  21. #
    Robin — March 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm

    Can I use a burnt pan? If so how long would I bake it for?! Looks delicious

  22. #
    Jessica — March 18, 2019 at 11:33 am

    Can I use 2% milk? That’s what I always buy, and I don’t want to buy whole milk just to make one recipe. Thanks!

  23. #
    Ann — March 19, 2019 at 2:03 pm

    Turned out great! So yummy and moist

  24. #
    Mapi — March 23, 2019 at 5:48 am

    I’ve just baked the recipe, it’s great! However, all the streusel went to the bottom of the cake (it was too solid, and i couldn’t make a thin layer in the middle of the cake,I spread it into “spots” as well as I could). Any advice?

  25. #
    Michael — March 23, 2019 at 3:18 pm

    I admit, I was not super excited about this cake because it seems every time I make a coffee cake, it’s dry and flavorless. But this is the most AMAZING, moist cake! People just raved about it and I nearly didn’t even get to try it! So easy to make, and the prescribed baking time of 40 minutes was spot on.

  26. #
    Meg — March 23, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    Tessa, can I use buttermilk instead of sour cream for this recipe?

  27. #
    ae minx — March 30, 2019 at 9:39 pm

    I cut the bake time on mine, but it still over baked just a bit. Was still really moist. My mom said she thinks it would be really good with some nuts added, so I might try that next time

  28. #
    Rachel — March 31, 2019 at 7:25 pm

    This looks delicious!! Would it work in mini loaf pans? What adjustments would I need to make?

  29. #
    Michelle — April 1, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    I made this for my family and it was a huge hit! Everyone wanted the recipe. This will be my go-to coffee cake now.

  30. #
    Krystin — April 6, 2019 at 6:13 am

    My first time ever making coffee cake and was so excited when I found this recipe. It just seemed like it would be good even tho I was a little upset at having to use yogurt bc I hate yogurt. Didn’t have it so I googled alternatives and found a blog describing how to sub yogurt! I made “butter milk” using 1Tbsp white vinegar and added enough white milk to make 1cup. I let that rest while I started the cake and only used 3/4 c of the”buttermilk” .I made extra crumb as well bc it’s my fav part. It turned out AMAZING. I’m saving this recipe and sharing it as well.

  31. #
    Leslie Stein — April 11, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Made this over the weekend and they were great. I turned the recipe into bakery style muffins and they were perfect. I wanted to make them jumbo sized so I added a little more baking powder and they were moist and very tasty. I baked them at 425 for 5 minutes and then put them down to 350 for another 15 minutes watching them carefully because the tops started to get brown. I tented them for the last 5 minutes as they were still moist in the middle. The icing was little too thin and I had to add more confectioners sugar. The top of the muffin had a nice crunch and added a lot of texture to the muffin. Tessa your recipes are the best. Also love your chocolate chip cookies!!!

  32. #
    Prudence — April 22, 2019 at 11:19 am

    This was so good. I made some modifications based on need as well as preference or what I could find available. First I used gluten free 1 for 1 flour (the need), second I couldn’t find whole milk yogurt so I used a 2% vanilla (6oz), and filled the rest of the 8 oz with regular sour cream, third I used buttermilk instead of whole milk. I also left off the icing drizzle. I made this for our Easter breakfast at home, and my husband is still talking about it. He said to make sure I saved a copy of the recipe!

  33. #
    Michael — May 31, 2019 at 4:51 am

    I love this cake so much and make it often. What do you think about mixing in a little fruit, like blueberries?

  34. #
    Evita — June 22, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    This coffee cake brings back childhood memories. It is amazing!!! I like the round shape though.

  35. #
    Shirley — June 28, 2019 at 10:37 am

    I baked this cake a few times and hope to bake it some more. So good! I eliminated the glaze and only did 1/2 tsp of cinnamon for the streusel. It’s sorta light and rises nice. Thank you much Tessa!

  36. #
    Swarna — July 29, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Can I use buttermilk instead of sour cream? Thank you.

  37. #
    Sophie — October 26, 2019 at 3:34 pm

    So good and easy, the texture is amazing!

  38. #
    megan — November 18, 2019 at 10:51 pm

    I made this coffee cake tonight and it turned out really well great balance of flavours and was super moist. I’ve only had the Starbucks coffee cake and this was much better. it was my first time making coffee cake and i’m so happy with how it turned out!

  39. #
    corrina — December 24, 2019 at 2:03 am

    the reciepe for the make the cake has butter but when do i add the butter in. 170gm

  40. #
    Meghan — April 9, 2020 at 1:39 pm

    Hello- Just making sure- do you brown the butter for just the cake? Or do you brown the butter for the streusel as well?

  41. #
    Lindsay — April 25, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    This turned out so well!! I had never made coffee cake before, so I was a little hesitant, but the directions were very easy to follow.
    Thank you for the great recipe!

  42. #
    Amy — May 12, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    Incredibly light, moist, and so easy! I had some sour cream to use up and I love anything to do with brown butter… this did not disappoint. The delicate spicy crunch of the streusel paired absolutely perfectly with the masterful, not-too-sweet crumb of the cake. One suggestion: I feel like the batter itself could have used a teaspoon of vanilla to amplify the brown butter flavor.

  43. #
    Patricia Diquez — May 23, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Great recipe!

  44. #
    Patricia — May 23, 2020 at 1:51 pm

    Great recipe!

  45. #
    Elizabeth CHENEY — May 27, 2020 at 12:08 pm

    Delicious coffee cake. Very well written recipe, easy to follow and the cake came out great – moist, flavorful, beautiful and delicious. The only thing that was off was the baking time. I started checking it at 35 minutes and ended up baking it for 45 minutes. My oven is gas and usually spot on with temperature. Had I pulled it at 40 minutes it would’ve been undercooked in the middle. Definitely start checking the cake with a toothpick — and add minutes accordingly. Will absolutely make again!

  46. #
    Liza Espin — June 14, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Loved this recipe!! many great compliments from my family, everyone loved it!! I will definitely make it again.

  47. #
    Isabel — June 27, 2020 at 7:56 am

    This is the best coffee cake I have ever made!!! I made it for my coworkers and they all LOVED it. The cake is perfectly moist and the streusel adds the perfect amount of sweetness. The addition of browning the butter is GENIUS, not to mention it makes your house smell incredible! 100% recommend this amazing recipe!

  48. #
    Jennifer — July 24, 2020 at 10:08 am

    I made this 3 times in 6 months. It’s delicious and I feel like a professional baker when I make it. It tastes wonderful!

  49. #
    Becky — July 24, 2020 at 2:20 pm

    Any thoughts on making the batter a day ahead, pouring it in the baking pan, covering and refrigerating until the next morning? Then, let it sit out for 1/2 hour or until close to room temp before baking?

  50. #
    Leslie — September 11, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    I made this today. It went together quickly. It is so moist and the browned butter makes a beautiful flavor. Your recipes are always terrific, easy to follow, and dependable. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  51. #
    CHRIS — October 2, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    This is a fabulous cake. Don’t be intimidated by the brown butter. It is not difficult and adds so much wonderful flavor.

  52. #
    Dee — November 15, 2020 at 9:33 pm

    This cake tastes lush!! I love cinnamon and whilst baking it smells divine. I bake a lot for work and this was one of the favourites. I wasn’t overly sure when to call time on the browning of the butter but it didn’t taste burnt!! Thanks Tessa for another awesome recipe.

  53. #
    Dee — November 15, 2020 at 9:35 pm

    This cake tastes lush and whilst baking it smells divine!! I bake a lot for work and this was one of the favourites. I wasn’t overly sure when to call time on the browning of the butter but it didn’t taste burnt!! Thanks Tessa for another awesome recipe.

    • #
      Handle the Heat — November 16, 2020 at 12:47 pm

      So glad you loved this recipe!

  54. #
    Diana M — February 3, 2021 at 2:09 pm

    Wow, this is fabulous! I think it’s the best coffee cake I’ve ever made or had.

    I found it needed 5 more minutes in the oven than called for and I would likely skip the drizzle next time as it doesn’t really add anything to the taste. Definitely a 5 star recipe though!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — February 3, 2021 at 2:50 pm

      So glad you enjoyed this coffee cake!

  55. #
    Carrie — February 6, 2021 at 5:44 pm

    I have honestly never really liked coffee cake but was craving something breakfasty and was too lazy for cinnamon rolls. This cake definitely changed my mind about that! It was so fluffy and delicious. I didn’t have sour cream so I used the cream part of canned coconut milk and it worked beautifully!

    • #
      Handle the Heat — February 8, 2021 at 1:48 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this coffee cake!

  56. #
    Cheryl — February 26, 2021 at 9:10 pm

    I really, really want to make this recipe, but all I need is milk. All I have is powdered milk and we’re snowed in. lol p.s. I love ❤️ your recipes!

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