Today is National Coffee Cake Day!  I don’t know about you, but I will celebrate a good coffee cake any day. I have a delicious recipe to share from Smells Like Home for a New York-style crumb cake.  No cake mix here – it’s all from scratch. I have appropriately re-named it “Carry On Coffee Cake!”

And you know I always like to throw in a little history lesson on a recipe!

Coffee cake—also referred to as Gugelhupf or Kaffekuchen—evolved from other sweet dishes from Vienna. In the 17th century, Northern/Central Europeans were thought to have come up with the idea of eating sweet cakes while drinking coffee. Doug’s Uncle Trevor always has what he calls “Elevenses” – a short break for light refreshments, usually with tea or coffee, taken about eleven o’clock in the morning.  As the region’s countries were already known for their sweet yeast breads, the introduction of coffee in Europe led to the understanding that cakes were a great complement to the beverage. Immigrants from countries such as Germany and Scandinavia adjusted their recipes to their liking and brought them to America. Though the cakes varied, they all contained ingredients such as yeast, flour, dried fruit, and sweet spices. However, over time, the coffee cake recipes have changed as cheese, sugared fruit, yogurt, sour cream, have been used, leading to a denser, more cake-like structure. In the 19th century, American cooks also used coffee as an ingredient to thriftily use up leftovers, reducing waste, and flavor the cake. The invention of pasteurization in America following World War I also led to the creation of a new kind of coffee cake, called sour cream coffee cake. 

I baked the cake in a 9-inch square parchment paper-lined pan, and it popped right out. It was beautiful on top of my vintage glass cake pedestal.

Recipe – as follows or visit Smells Like Home.


  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar (2 ⅔ oz)
  • ⅓ cup dark brown sugar (2 ⅔ oz)
  • ¾ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp table salt
  • 8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick or 4 oz), melted and still warm
  • 1 ¾ cups cake flour (7 oz)


  • 1 ¼ cups cake flour (5 oz)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar (3 ½ oz)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter (¾ stick or 3 oz), cut into 6 pieces, softened but still cool
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • ⅓ cup liquid buttermilk (not dried buttermilk powder)
  • Confectioners’ sugar for dusting


  1. To make the topping: Whisk sugars, cinnamon, salt, and butter in medium bowl to combine. Add flour and stir with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until mixture resembles thick, cohesive dough; set aside to cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. To make the cake: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 325° F. Cut 16-inch length parchment paper or aluminum foil and fold lengthwise to 7-inch width. Spray an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and fit parchment into dish, pushing it into corners and up sides; allow excess to overhang edges of the dish.
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt on low speed to combine. With the mixer running at low speed, add butter one piece at a time; continue beating until mixture resembles moist crumbs, with no visible butter chunks remaining, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, yolk, vanilla, and buttermilk; beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute, scraping once if necessary.
  4. Transfer batter to baking pan; using a rubber spatula, spread batter into even layer. Break apart crumb topping into large pea-sized pieces between your thumb, pointer, and middle fingers and spread in even layer over batter, beginning with edges and then working toward the center.
  5. Bake until crumbs are golden and wooden skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool on wire rack at least 30 minutes. Remove cake from pan by lifting parchment overhang. Dust with confectioners’ sugar just before serving.

It was very moist, but I will say it is best served the day you bake it. The next day it was not as moist. I think this would be a beautiful gift wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow.  How about giving the recipe a try for Easter morning.

Keep Calm and Carry-On Baking!