Cooking With Confidence
coffee coffee cake
Breads, Breakfast/Brunch, Stuffing Stuff, Vegetarian

Coffee Coffee Cake

by Nick

If English isn’t your primary language, coffee cake must be very confusing. I mean, there’s no coffee in it normally. It should be called “Cake you eat with coffee.” Of course, that doesn’t roll off the tongue really so people just say coffee cake.

My point is that some people are probably disappointed when they eat their coffee cake and discover that it has no actual coffee IN IT.

So I decided to fix that.

Makes a bundt cake or 9x13 dish.
Prep Time
Total Time

Just a moment please...

Print Recipe Coffee Coffee Cake


  • Streusel:
  • 3/4 Cups pecans or walnuts
  • 3/4 Cups sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • Cake:
  • 3 1/3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons salt
  • 2 Teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 Cups buttermilk
  • 3/4 Cups strong coffee, cold
  • 2 Teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 Tablespoons) unsalted butter, soft
  • 1 3/4 Cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • Glaze: (Optional)
  • 1/4 Cup strong coffee
  • 2 1/2 Cups sifted powdered sugar

Helpful Equipment

  • Bundt Cake, but you can also use a normal baking dish


1) Brew a very strong cup of coffee and cool it off in the fridge before continuing.  You could do this the day before.

2) Finely chop your pecans or walnuts or pulse them a few times in a food processor.  Then mix them with the cinnamon and sugar to finish the streusel.  Set aside for later.

3) Combine all your dry ingredients for the cake and mix together.

4) Combine the cold strong coffee with the buttermilk and vanilla and whisk together.  Set aside.

5) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and if you're using a bundt pan, lightly butter it and dust it with flour so your cake will come out easily.

6) Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat together the sugar and soft butter until light and fluffy.  About 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 minutes with a hand mixer.

7) Mix in one egg at a time, mixing on low after each egg.

8) Add your dry and wet ingredients to the batter in the following order, stirring after every step:  1/3 dry mix, 1/2 wet mix, 1/3 dry mix, the remaining wet mix, the remaining dry mix.  Mix well and scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is well combined.

9) Pour half of your batter into your dish or bundt pan.  Add all your streusel in an even layer.  Then top with rest of your batter.

10)  Bake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer comes out cleanly, about an hour but it could vary based on your pan so just check it regularly.

11) Cool the cake for 10 minutes on a rack and then, if you used a bundt pan, invert it on a plate to carefully remove the cake.  You can slide a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake a bit.

12) Cool the cake completely.

13) If you're using glaze, mix sifted powdered sugar and coffee until smooth, then drizzle over cake.

14) Let glaze harden for a few minutes then serve immediately.

Adapted from a Gourmet Today recipe.

The Coffee

So, I’ll be completely honest. I’m not the first genius to think of baking a coffee cake with coffee. Joy and Ree have done it for starters.

A lot of recipes like this use instant espresso but I just decided to brew a really strong pot of french press coffee and use that in place of some of the liquid. It worked like a charm.


Strong brew.

The Streusel

So this coffee cake is like most coffee cakes in that it’s filled with a really tasty cinnamon sugar streusel. There are some pecans mixed in as well although they are totally optional.

If you’re using the pecans though, chop them really finely or give them a spin in a food processor.


All ground up!

Mix the chopped nuts with the cinnamon and sugar and set it aside for later.

The liquids

Once you have your coffee brewed, be sure to cool it off in the fridge. Adding hot coffee to a cake batter is a recipe for failure.

But eventually you’ll want these things.

the basics

Strong flavors.

Then just mix all these together. This will smell really intense actually.

For those that are recipe curious, I just adapted the recipe I was using to replace 1-for-1 the buttermilk for the coffee. But I still kept a good amount of buttermilk because it gives the cake some great moisture.

mixed liquid

This smells good already.

The dry stuff

No photo but just mix together all the dry stuff in a separate bowl and set it aside.

Making the Batter

Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until they’re light and fluffy, about 5 minutes with a stand mixer or 10 with a hand mixer. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing in between each one.

Next, you need to incorporate the dry ingredient mix and the wet stuff into the creamed butter. This is the same process for pretty much every cake, but it goes like this:

– Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients to the creamed butter and combine.
– Add 1/2 your liquid and mix together.
– Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients and stir.
– Add the rest of your liquid and stir.
– Finally, add the rest of your dry ingredients and combine. If you’re using a stand mixer, be sure to scrape the bowl down.

You should end up with a really light and fluffy batter that smells like, well, COFFEE.

standard batter

I had a feeling this was going to be good.

If you’re using a bundt cake (which I recommend), be sure to lightly butter and flour the pan so the cake comes out easily after baking. Then pour HALF of your batter into the prepared pan and even it out.

Add all your streusel evenly and then pour the rest of your batter over the streusel. It’s okay if some of the streusel is poking through, just do your best to even everything out.

batter poured

The bundt pan is a good idea.

Baking the Cake

Bake your coffee coffee cake at 350 degrees until a wooden skewer comes out clean. Mine took about an hour. Be sure to check it with a skewer though because depending on the pan you’re using, your cooking time could vary by 10-15 minutes.

Anyway, you’ll end up with this delicious looking thing which you should let cool on a rack for 10 minutes.

cake cooked


Once it’s reasonably cool, you should be able to remove it from the pan pretty easily. I just flip my pan over onto a plate and the cake should come out. If you’re worried about it, slide a knife around the edges to loosen it.

The Glaze

I decided to prepare a quick coffee glaze for the cake also. Just combine some coffee with sifted powdered sugar until it’s smooth. Then drizzle it over the cake! Be sure that the cake is cool before you glaze it though. I let mine cool for about an hour before I glazed it.

simple glaze

Simple glaze on the cake.

Slice it up and serve it! This cake will keep pretty moist for 3 or 4 days as long as you don’t slice it all and wrap it well in plastic wrap.

coffee cake

A good way to start the day!

When I started making this recipe I was worried that you wouldn’t be able to taste the coffee and then I was worried that the coffee flavor would be TOO intense, but it turned out about right honestly.

The cake was very moist and had some great flavor. So give this a shot if you’re in the mood for some REAL coffee cake!

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24 comments on “Coffee Coffee Cake

  1. Silly question for you….What if you don't have a French Press for brewing strong coffee? What would your suggestion be? I HAVE to make this coffee cake, lives are depending on it…mainly mine.

    1. Definitely not a problem. You can brew just a strong cup of coffee in a coffee maker. I'd just put like 50% more coffee than you normally do and it should work fine. Just remember to cool it down before you add it to the batter ;) Good luck!

  2. haha awesome: "I’m not the first genius to think of baking a coffee cake with coffee"

    read: There are geniuses in this world who have done x, I'm one of them


  3. Very good flavor and moist. I used sour cream instead of buttermilk, buttermilk will be flakier when I make and have milk on hand. Any thoughts on substitutes for nuts because of allergy. I made my coffee about 4 times as strong as yours, dark and rich. Yummy! Thanks as always for sharing, JR

  4. I made this on Sunday, and it was a huge hit! I adapted the recipe to make it vegan (soymilk instead of buttermilk, applesauce instead of eggs, margarine instead of butter) – but I don't think any of my omnivore friends noticed a difference. The biggest compliment I got: "this tastes exactly like a poptart!" At least I think it was a compliment.

  5. YUM! I just made it and it's in the oven–licked the bowel clean–(worth getting salmonella) ha. OMG, THANKS!!

  6. I have made this cake twice now and found it quite mouth watering. On both of the occasions the streusel sunk to the bottom.

    Does anyone have any idea how to avoid this?

    1. Hey Roy, sounds like maybe you aren’t beating your cake batter enough. Make sure you really cream the butter/sugar together so it’s very light and fluffy.

      I’m not really sure what else would cause the streusel to sink… it’s a pretty sturdy batter that should hold up okay.

  7. years ago my Mom asked me to make a coffee cake with real coffee with a recipe she supplied. I think I used a cup of instant and hot water. anyways I used too much and it was really STRONG coffee cake.

  8. Can I use cake flour in this recipe instead of all purpose? I have a box I need to use before it expires hehe…

    1. Hmm… not sure on that one. I think it would work, but you will need more flour. I would say 1 cup + 1tbsp of cake flour and you might need even a bit more. it should work but i’m not sure the texture will be great. It’ll be light and fluffy instead of dense and rich…

      1. Ah good point about the texture! I don’t want a fluffy coffee cake =( Thanks for the quick reply

  9. “If English isn’t your primary language, coffee cake must be very confusing. I mean, there’s no coffee in it normally.”

    That confused me, but only until I realised that what you actually mean is: “If American isn’t your primary language…”.

    Over here in the UK, where English is our primary language, coffee cake always has coffee in it. Anything else would be as silly as calling something a teacake when it doesn’t have any tea in it. Err, wait…

  10. Im from Ireland and the first time I saw a coffee cake on an American blog I actaully wrote to the blog writer to tell her she had forgot to tell us how much coffee to put in it. :P Like Jon above a coffee cake in Ireland has coffee in it.

    Will be making this at the weekend for sure.

  11. I used to lived in Malaysia, durian fruit is the king of the fruits. But I am not very fancy about it. When I visited back home again 4 years ago. More than 1 friend baked me a durian cake. It taste fantastic. I wanted to make a durian cake badly but never do it. Few months ago my sister sent me 2 big packages of durian coffee ( coffee with durian taste and smell and sugar in it ). When I found this recipe I think it is perfect to make a durian coffee cake for the x’mas holiday. My sister and brother-in-laws, niece are crazy about durian. With coffee in it will even taste better (even I am not a coffee drinker I like it). Can you please tell me if I can reduce the sugar in this recipe ? Will the batter still light and fluffy?

    1. Hey Hannah! I would guess that you can probably reduce the sugar in the cake by 1/2 cup and still have good results. Good luck!

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