Sour Cream Coffee Cake

I procrastinated again.

It’s a constant problem actually, I just never get around to addressing it. This time, the neglected task in question was a simple one: using up a container of sour cream. The Canadian sour cream that I picked up two months ago at Felipe’s market to be exact. When I bought the sour cream I thought it was going to be some nuanced version of its American sibling, like the Plugra of sour cream. Well, if it was I couldn’t tell the difference and, disappointed, I promptly shoved it to the Corner of Dishonor in the fridge and forgot about it. (There are some rumors floating around the interwebs that its “Canadian” label is only to differentiate it from Russian style sour cream, which is logical enough since I purchased it from a European market. Since Russia isn’t too buddy-buddy with America, they chose benign Canada instead to plaster on the label. They really mean “non-Russian.” Propaganda or an attempt at being PC gone wrong? You decide.) At some point, I planned to just bake something with it, but as soon as I closed the fridge each time the thought slipped my mind.


I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I know how to use Google, and I am aware that there are probably more recipes using sour cream on the Kraft website than there are calories in a container, but that’s just it–there are too many options. Tacos? Swedish meatballs? Stroganoff? I spent a whole read period at school pondering what to do before the obvious came in like a wrecking ball. A tried and true coffee cake.


It’s been years since I last made this cake and I have no excuse for it. The cake is fluffy, moist (all-hail sour cream), studded with nuts, tender, and to top it all off, a cinch to make. I honestly don’t know how it could have been buried in my bookmarks folder for so long. This isn’t a fancy pants cake, it’s a ripped jeans kind of cake.

And a bonus: whoever invented coffee cake sure knew what he was doing when he imbedded an excuse to eat cake for breakfast into it’s very name. That sly dog.


(Note the unsuitably tiny fork in the picture. It was only there for decoration. My thumb and forefinger were the real utensils, so between each bite I smeared cinnamon sugar all over my Dad’s camera. Sorry Dad.)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Adapted from Gimme Some Oven

makes one 8″ square cake

The batter rises a miraculous amount in the oven, going from just barely covering the bottom of the pan to a cake over an inch thick, so don’t worry if it seems like too little batter. It’ll all work out, I promise.


1/2 stick butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 cup (5 oz) flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 oz sour cream


1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Make the topping. Combine everything in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes with an electric mixer on medium. Add the egg and beat for another 20 seconds.
  4. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  5. Add the flour to the butter-egg-sugar mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream. Fold gently after each addition. Start and end with the dry ingredients. (Flour, sour cream, flour, sour cream, flour)
  6. Pour half the batter into a greased 8″ square pan. Do your best to evenly spread the batter, but don’t get too frantic if it doesn’t. Sprinkle with half the topping. Repeat with the rest of the batter and topping.
  7. Bake at for 25-30 minutes until it passes the toothpick test.

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