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Coffee Cake Recipe

This coffee cake with a pecan-streusel topping is packed with all the warm, cozy flavors your holiday baking projects need! Ready in 40 minutes and served with hot coffee, you’ll love this moist and tender cake.

Why You’ll Love This Coffee Cake Recipe

I’ve never met someone who’s turned down homemade cake for breakfast.

  • Beginner-friendly. Stir it by hand if you don’t have a mixer and line the pan with parchment to make sure the cake comes out perfectly.
  • Dessert for breakfast. There’s brown sugar, cinnamon, and pecans for crunch and sweetness in every bite. This recipe’s a keeper!
  • Great for freezing. Throw a frozen slice into a Zip-loc bag for an on-the-go breakfast that’ll be ready in about 20 minutes (as it thaws).
  • Better than the coffee shop. Add more streusel or a salted caramel drizzle for extra sweetness, but coffee shop cake is no match for this recipe anyway.

What Is Coffee Cake?

Coffee cake is an American dessert that can come in many different flavors and is meant to be enjoyed with coffee. Unlike birthday cakes, coffee cake is not frosted. Instead it’s a light cake with a dense crumb. It’s the fillings and/or add-ins where the imagination runs wild. Some have a jammy compote filling; others have chocolate chips. Most coffee cakes have a streusel topping.

Ingredients for coffee cake recipe.

Recipe Ingredients

The best coffee cake recipe will always have nutmeg, cinnamon, and pecans. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.

  • Flour – All-purpose is best. Cake flour works too, but it’ll make it fluffier.
  • Vegetable oil – You can use corn and canola oil instead.
  • Sugar – Granulated sugar or light brown sugar are great.
  • Brown sugar – Use light or dark brown sugar, except the last one will make a darker batter.
  • Spices – Ground nutmeg and cinnamon.
  • Baking powder – Always check the expiration date before adding it in.
  • Baking soda – Don’t swap it for more baking powder, otherwise your cake will have a metallic after-taste.
  • Salt – Kosher salt is best.
  • Pecans – Walnuts and almonds are great swaps.
  • Egg – It helps bind everything together.
  • Milk – Use full-fat or 2%. Avoid plant-based milk because they’re water-based.
Sliced coffee cake in the baking pan.

How to Make Coffee Cake

Make the batter by hand if you don’t have a stand-mixer, just don’t over-mix the batter. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for more detailed instructions.

  • Prep the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 13×9″ baking pan. You can also line the baking pan with parchment paper to make sure nothing sticks.
  • Whisk the dry ingredients. Mix the flour, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, and ground nutmeg in the bowl of a stand-mixer. Add the vegetable oil and combine well. Feel free to mix it by hand.
  • Make the topping. Set aside 1 1/2 cups of the mixture in a small bowl along with the pecans and cinnamon. Stir until completely combined.
  • Finish the batter. To the stand-mixer bowl, add the milk, egg, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix on low until the batter is smooth.
  • Assemble it. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Spread the reserved pecan topping over the batter.
  • Bake it. Pop it into the oven for 30 minutes. If the edges are browning too much before it’s done baking, cover the baking pan with foil.
  • Serve. Remove it from the heat and set it aside to cool. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Slice of cake in the baking pan.

Tips & Variations for Coffee Cake Recipe

As long as you keep the cake from sticking to the pan, you can master any recipe for coffee cake.

  • Make it fruity. Mixing 1/2 cup of diced apples or blueberries into the batter can give the cake bursts of juiciness and natural sweetness.
  • Use an oven thermometer. If you’re not sure your oven is properly calibrated, use an oven thermometer to confirm the oven is at 350F regardless of where the dial is pointing to.
  • Let it cool. Slicing into the cake right away will make it crumble. Allow it to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing so that its structure can set properly.
  • Avoid foil. Never line baking pans with foil when it comes to cake-baking. It’s much more likely the batter will stick. Always go for parchment paper.
  • Use the food processor. Pulse the pecans until they’re nice and small. This will save you precious prep time and keep you from pounding a rolling pin against them on the counter.
  • Make it fall-flavored. Swap the nutmeg for pumpkin spice in this recipe for a fall-flavored coffee cake.
  • Add a drizzle. Salted caramel sauce, dulce de leche, and chocolate sauce are great ways to add extra sweetness.
Grabbing a piece of cake with a fork.

Serving Suggestions

This tender coffee cake recipe is perfect with your favorite coffee or tea. A glass of milk or hot chocolate works too. If you’re a coffee person like me, try it with my Sweet Cream Iced Coffee, Iced Chai Tea Latte, or Cafe Mocha Smoothie. For a creamy plant-based drink, go for my Coconut Milk Thai Iced Coffee.

Proper Storage

Depending on when you plan to eat this yummy cake, here are the best ways to store it:

  • Counter: Place it in an airtight container away from direct heat and sunlight for up to 4 days.
  • Fridge: Refrigerate it in an airtight container away from strong-smelling foods for up to a week. Set it on the counter for 10 minutes before serving so it comes down to room temperature.
  • Freezer: Slice the cake and wrap each piece in plastic wrap twice. Transfer it to a freezer-friendly bag or container for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the fridge or on the counter for 20-25 minutes.
  • To reheat it: Sprinkle it with 1/4 teaspoon water or milk. Microwave it for 10 seconds or until warm for a freshly-baked vibe.

More Easy Cake Recipes

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Landscape photo of coffee cake recipe.

Coffee Cake Recipe

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  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 1216 servings 1x
  • Category: Breakfast
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: American


This warmly spiced coffee cake with a pecan topping is the perfect sweet breakfast or dessert for the holiday season.


  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of milk


  1. Preheat oven to 350º.
  2. In a stand mixer {use the whisk attachment}, add flour, brown sugar, white sugar, vegetable oil, salt, and ground nutmeg. Mix until combined.
  3. Remove 1 1/2 cup of mixture and add to a small bowl, this is for your topping.
  4. Next add chopped pecans {I put mine in a small food processor} and cinnamon to small bowl.
  5. Mix all ingredients in small bowl until combined, set aside.
  6. In the stand mixer, add milk, egg, baking soda, and baking powder. Mix at slow speed until there are no more lumps.
  7. Grease and flour a 13×9 glass pan and add cake batter.
  8. Next, evenly spread pecan topping over batter.
  9. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes. {or until a toothpick come out clean}
  10. Serve with a nice warm cup of coffee! 🙂


  • Serving Size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 310
  • Sugar: 24 g
  • Sodium: 270 mg
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 40 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 3 g
  • Cholesterol: 13 mg

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