The Best Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake Recipe

This classic cinnamon streusel coffee cake recipe gets a nice nutty flavor from the browned butter.

A Family Favorite!

We’ve been on vacation all together with our families, which is really just an excuse to do massive amounts of baking at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, there’s been a steady rotation of treats, ranging from muffins, to scones, and waffles. Needless to say, our kids have been really enjoying life. This brown butter cinnamon streusel coffee cake recipe has been a favorite. It’s a classic coffee cake recipe, with a tender crumb and a crunchy streusel topping.

A Short History of Coffee Cakes

It seems that coffee cakes evolved naturally with the introduction of coffee to European markets in the 17th century. Sweet yeasted breads were already very common and they fit very nicely with the bitter coffee taste. Early recipes actually incorporated coffee in them, but bakers wised up quickly, realizing that the cakes tasted better with the coffee on the side, rather than inside. Another important aspect of coffee cake is that it always include sour cream (or greek yogurt) to make the batter nice and moist.

Streusel-ing it Up

This recipe makes A LOT of streusel, so we generally save it in the fridge and reuse it for the next set of muffins. If you’re baking this in cake form and feeling naughty, you can also add a layer of streusel between halves of the cake batter. If you’re serving this to a crowd (and it will be popular), double the cake batter and streusel and pour it into a 9-inch tube pan. Frankly, we believe that streusel, like chocolate, makes just about everything taste better. If you do find yourself with leftover streusel, you can add it to blueberry muffins, banana bread, or really anything in between. This is an easy coffee cake recipe and a great one to bring with you on vacation. The recipe calls for no wacky ingredients or baking toys and very little effort. No stand mixer is needed, and the batter can be adapted to pretty much any size pan and taste good.

Healthy Coffee Cake???

If you feel the need to counter the brown butter streusel (kind of like enjoying your big mac and large fries with a side of diet coke) with some healthy eating, you can replace half the flour with whole wheat flour, use greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and skim milk where milk is specified. These changes are acceptable, but some of us prefer the original. If you’re going to bake, go big or go home.

Recipe Facts

  • Yield: 12 muffins or one eight-inch cake
  • Active Time: 20 minutes
  • Bake Time: 15 to 18 minutes for the muffins
  • Ingredients for the Brown Butter Struesel Coffee Cake Recipe

For the batter:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature

Brown butter cinnamon streusel ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light-brown sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup flour

Directions for the Brown Butter Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
  2. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with cupcake liners, or coat with nonstick spray, or just use this awesome silicone muffin pan on top of a standard baking sheet. If you’re making a cake, grease and line the bottom of an eight inch springform pan with parchment paper.
  3. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper.

Make the Streusel Topping:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Continue cooking until slightly browned for a nice nutty flavor.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together granulated sugar, light brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Add browned melted butter and whisk until well combined.
  4. Add flour and mix together until moist and forms crumbs.
  5. Transfer the streusel topping to the prepared baking sheet and let it dry out a bit while you prepare the muffin batter. It should crumble into small pieces

Make the Batter:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, light brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.
  2. In a separate medium bowl, mix milk, sour cream (or Greek yogurt), vanilla, and eggs.
  3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients until a thick batter is formed.
  4. Divide batter between the muffin tins and top with the streusel. If you’re making a cake, pour half the cake batter in the prepared baking pan, then sprinkle half of the streusel, then cover with the remaining cake half, and sprinkle remaining streusel on the top of the cake.
  5. Bake the muffins for 15 to 18 minutes or the cinnamon coffee cake for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool on wire rack for 5 minutes before serving.
  7. Serve with a cup of coffee for the over-15 crowd.