Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

I toyed with the idea of having this be the shortest description of a recipe I’ve ever written by simply writing: This is the best coffee cake ever. But, I thought maybe you’d want to know why this is the best coffee cake ever.

One of the reasons for that declaration is the texture of the cake. It is so amazingly soft and light. It’s one of the most easy-to-eat cakes I’ve ever had.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl is a delicious choice for anything from breakfast to dessert!

Of course, there’s the flavor. That gets a little more complicated, as it gets flavor from three different components. The cake itself is sweet, but not too sweet. The sour cream gives it that little bit of kick that really makes it interesting.

Then, there are the layers of chocolate and cinnamon. The chocolate is not overstated at all, and it mixes perfectly well with the cinnamon. Topping all of that off is a very fine crumb that’s buttery, sweet, nutty, and salty all at the same time.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl is a delicious choice for anything from breakfast to dessert!

I first made this coffee cake for a brunch with friends. The eight of us nearly devoured the entire thing. I made it again just to prove to myself that it was really as good as I thought it was the first time. As I sit here thoroughly enjoying a slice of it, I can tell you that it most definitely is.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 70 minutes

Yield: 18-24 servings

Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl


    For the crumb topping:
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (dark or light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup pecans, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold & cut into 1-inch cubes
  • For the swirl:
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • For the cake:
  • 3 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened but cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract


To make the crumb topping:

Place flour, brown sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to mix. Add pecans, and pulse until pecans are finely chopped and thoroughly mixed.

Add butter and pulse until combined. The mixture should look like coarse sand. Cover and refrigerate.

To make the swirl:

Whisk together sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.

To make the cake:

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 9"x 13"x 2" baking pan.*

Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer or a stand mixer, beat butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add sugar, and beat until mixture is smooth and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape sides again and mix for another 30 seconds.

Add sour cream and vanilla, and mix just until combined. Add flour mixture in 3 portions, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Mix each addition just until combined. Do not overmix.

To assemble the cake:

Pour one-third of the cake batter into prepared pan. Spread evenly.

Sprinkle half of the swirl mixture evenly over the batter.

Spread half of the remaining batter evenly over the swirl mixture.

Sprinkle remaining swirl mixture evenly over batter.

Spread remaining batter evenly over the swirl mixture.

Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over the batter.

Bake for 60-70 minutes, rotating the pan 3 times during baking. A pick inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.

Cool cake in pan on wire rack for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Store any leftovers at room temperature in a tightly sealed container for up to 3 days.


*I used a glass pan. If you like crisper edges, use a metal pan.

Recipe slightly adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

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  1. I love a good coffee cake! Can’t wait to try this one!

  2. Holiday Baker Man March 18, 2013 Reply

    Traditional comfort food!

  3. This looks AMAZING! I have company coming this weekend and will be putting this together!

    The Kidless Kronicles

  4. Kate @ Only Cake Pops March 18, 2013 Reply

    Come to momma! The texture of the cake looks amazing!

  5. Elle March 18, 2013 Reply

    It looks so light! And crumble makes everything better!

  6. I’m just going to come out and say that this certainly looks like the best coffee cake ever. Love that thick crumble on top too! Must must MUST try.

  7. I love this idea!!

  8. Oh yum, your cake sounds so delicious!

  9. JEP March 18, 2013 Reply

    Coffee cake with cinnamon, crumbs & sour cream…..with a little chocolate bonus. I will cut the recipe in half & bake in an 8×8 pan & hope mine turns out to be the best coffee cake ever.

  10. Sarah March 18, 2013 Reply

    This might have to be my break my gluten free lenten resolution recipe for Easter Sunday morning.

  11. Samantha March 18, 2013 Reply

    This coffee cake truly looks beautiful. If I didn’t already have a chocolate cake sitting on my kitchen table, I might whip one up right now!

  12. Marcie March 18, 2013 Reply

    This sounds like my kind of coffee cake. I love sour cream in baked goods, and the cinnamon and chocolate in the swirl sounds amazing!

  13. Tracy {pale yellow} March 18, 2013 Reply

    The chocolate-cinnamon swirl looks divine! Lovely crumb topping.

  14. Pooja March 18, 2013 Reply

    I am going to have to try this beautiful cake. But I’ll have to substitute yogurt instead. Its either that or I make my own sour cream. I hope it works! :-)

  15. Wendy March 18, 2013 Reply

    Usually its the crumb topping that makes me love coffee cake but your recipe has the chocolate-cinnamon swirl going for it as well! I will be serving this with coffee soon!

  16. Kathy March 19, 2013 Reply

    I love coffee cake! I have a huge list of ones I want to try but if you say this is the best coffee cake ever, it has just moved to the top of my list!

  17. Laura Dembowski March 20, 2013 Reply

    Love, love, love crumb cake. I just posted a version on my blog. The cinnamon swirl in yours sounds great!

  18. Jenny @ BAKE March 21, 2013 Reply

    This does sound like the best coffee cake ever!

  19. Debbie March 26, 2013 Reply

    I made this coffee cake and brought it to the office. I am a huge fan of coffee cake and this one is amazing. Everyone in the office loved it. I am so glad I saved a piece for myself.

  20. Tracy April 14, 2013 Reply

    This cake was AMAZING! It was not fun to make but it was completely worth the effort. The texture is like a light banana bread. I left mine in for 55 minutes which was too long and the edges burnt so DEFINITELY watch the time.

  21. Codi May 21, 2013 Reply

    This was extremely good! My husband loves it and even the kids! I did not do the nuts in the topping because hubby is not a fan of that and he is the one who requested this. I also used unsweetened applesauce in place of the eggs. This turned out super moist as well!

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