Lemon Crumb Coffee Cake

lemon crumb coffee cakeBaking involves plenty of adaptation, based on your creativity, experience, and observations. This lemon crumb coffee cake began with a desire to use up lemon curd in a new way, and involves two adapted recipes; one for lemon coffee cake, and one for a lemon streusel topping.

The cake recipe is adapted from Taste of Home, which used lemon pie filling between two layers of the cake batter instead of lemon curd, and the lemon streusel topping is adapted from King Arthur Flour. While it tastes delicious, this cake definitely needs some further tweaking, for a few reasons. The cake is far more gooey than I expected, likely because of the curd; next time, I’ll either drizzle about 1 cup of curd over the first layer of batter, or leave it out altogether and add some lemon zest and extract to the batter, then serve the cake with lemon curd on the side.


For the streusel:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • zest of 1 large lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups lemon curd*

*If making lemon curd from scratch, use this recipe but decrease your quantities by 1/4. You could also decrease the lemon curd to about 1 cup drizzled, rather than spread, over your first layer of batter to yield a less gooey texture when the cake is done.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 cake pan.

Make the streusel: in a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, lemon zest, salt, and brown sugar. Cut in butter until mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans.

For the cake: in a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, vegetable oil, and mix until completely smooth. Add flour mixture slowly, stirring to combine completely. Batter will be very thick.

Spoon half of the batter into the baking pan, spreading out to make an even layer.

In a mixer, beat lemon curd for about 1 minute to thin out slightly. Pour over cake batter, then top with remaining batter and smooth out as best you can; this batter is very thick and is a challenge to spread evenly. I ended up swirling it into the lemon curd a bit.

Top with streusel mixture, covering the cake completely.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out with a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool completely before serving.

Note: the lemon curd made the center of my cake look under-done, but it was baked all the way through. If you need to bake your cake longer than 35 minutes, cover the top loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.




Orange Coffee Cake with Chocolate Streusel

orangeccOrange and chocolate are great friends. Both grow in tropical climates, and as always, I marvel at the creativity of the individual who once thought, “hmm, I like chocolate, and I like oranges…I wonder what would happen it I paired chocolate and orange together?” Brilliance, that’s what.

I adapted the recipe for this coffee cake from one in the Better Homes & Gardens Baking book, using orange zest instead of chopped peel and milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet.

The great thing is that once you zest your orange, you can use the juice from it in this recipe as well. You could probably do without the pecans if you wanted to, but they add a nice crunchy texture.


For the chocolate streusel

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the orange coffee cake

  • 3 3/4 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • zest of 1 medium orange
  • 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces sour cream
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking pan.

In a medium bowl, combine the 1/2 cup flour, brown sugar, and cocoa powder. Add butter and rub in with your hands until the mixture has a texture like coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and chocolate chips; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and orange zest. Mix well, using your fingers to distribute the zest as evenly as you can.

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar for 2 minutes. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add sour cream, milk, orange juice, and vanilla and beat until well-combined.

Add flour mixture in several batches, beating until combined as you go. Continue beating for about 2 minutes until the mixture is smooth.

Pour half of the batter into your prepared pan. Top with half the streusel mixture and use the back of a spoon to gently press the streusel into the batter. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

This cake can be served warm, or at room temperature.

Banana Coffee Cake

banana coffee cakeWhen one’s bananas are overripe, banana bread is an obvious solution. But this time, I wanted to do something different…and so to the internet I went. On another blog, Tide and Thyme, I discovered the recipe below, and although I still think the preparation process is a bit odd everyone proclaimed the end results to be delicious.

Next time, I’d reduce the streusel quantity by about a quarter, as it seemed like a bit much. I’d also add a drizzle icing, which was included in the original recipe but I didn’t use this time – and I’d make it a chocolate drizzle. I might also toss some pecans into the streusel for extra crunch.


For the streusel:

  • 12 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray, set aside.

Make the streusel: in a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or rub in with your hands, like I did) until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs; set aside.

Make the cake: in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat bananas until they become liquefied. Add butter and mix until combined; the mixture will look very lumpy but that’s okay. Add sugar, eggs, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined.

With the mixer running on low, carefully add flour and mix until just combined. The batter will be fairly thin for a cake, but this is okay.

Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan; cover with streusel mixture, then top with remaining batter and remaining streusel.

Bake 50-55 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before serving.

Coffee Cake Muffins

coffee cake muffinAs I’ve mentioned before, any time cake is considered a breakfast food, I’m on board. These coffee cake muffins are a great alternative to the full cake version, especially if you’re baking for a smaller crowd. Today, my small office team welcomed a new colleague, and I wasn’t in need of a whole coffee cake–so this 12-muffin recipe worked out very well. (That’s my desk in the photo to the left, and yes, my mouse pad looks a bit like the Wonder Bread logo.)

I adapted this recipe slightly from a recipe in my trusty Better Homes & Gardens 25th Anniversary Cookbook and have just a few suggestions for further adaptations in the future. Next time I’d like to use pecans instead of walnuts, and I’ll probably use vanilla extract in the drizzle instead of water. The drizzle wasn’t part of the original recipe, but I think it adds a nice hint of sweetness to these otherwise spicy muffins.


For the streusel filling and topping:

  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

For the muffins:

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into small cubes
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk or sour milk*

For the drizzle:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • About 1 teaspoon water

*If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make sour milk by placing 1/2 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into a glass measuring cup, then pouring in enough milk to make a full 1/2 cup. Let stand for 5 minutes before using. 


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

Make the streusel: in a small bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and rub in until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Stir in chopped walnuts; set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Add butter and rub in until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Combine beaten egg and buttermilk or sour milk, then add all at once to the crumb mixture, stirring until just combined. Batter will be lumpy.

Using a one-inch cookie scoop, drop scoops of batter into prepared muffin tin, filling about 1/3 full. Top with half the streusel mixture, then layer the remaining batter and the remaining streusel mixture.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before drizzling.

Make the drizzle: in a small bowl combine powdered sugar and about 1/2 teaspoon water. Stir, adding more water as necessary to reach a drizzle consistency. Place drizzle into a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip and pipe in whatever pattern you like. Store at room temperature in an airtight container.

Classic Coffee Cake

classic coffee cakeRemember when people actually visited one another, instead of just interacting online? When they put on nice clothes and went to the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor with the sole purpose of simply spending time with them, catching up, maybe playing a card game or just enjoying a cup of coffee together? This practice may be long gone, but I surely hope it makes a comeback someday.

Whenever I think of such visits, I think of coffee cake, the go-to treat that a savvy hostess would have either already have on hand in case someone stopped by or could whip up at a moment’s notice. I imagine that my grandmothers would have had recipes for coffee cake, though I honestly can’t recall either of them actually baking one.

This coffee cake is a slight adaptation from the Better Homes & Gardens Cookbook buttermilk coffee cake recipe; I adjusted the spices and added some drizzle icing for a sincerely delicious treat. This coffee cake went into the office with me earlier in the week and was devoured within about 24 hours. It has a wonderful texture, just crumbly enough but not too crumbly; you could use walnuts instead of pecans if you like, but being a pecan fan, they’re my preferred baked-good nut and are a great match for the cinnamon and nutmeg in this cake.


  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 2/3 tablespoons butter, cold, cut into small cubes
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 1/3 cups buttermilk (or sour milk, see note below)
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoons water

Note: if you don’t have buttermilk, you can make sour milk and substitute it for the same amount of buttermilk that you need. For each cup of sour milk needed, place 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar in a glass measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 cup total of liquid. Stir together and then let stand for 5 minutes before using.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of a 13 x 9 pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, and salt; add butter and rub in with your hands, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Reserve 1/2 cup of crumb mixture and combine it with chopped pecans for topping.

Stir in baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

In a large glass measuring cup, combine buttermilk and beaten eggs, then add to the dry mixture all at once and stir until well-combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and sprinkle with crumb/pecan mixture.

Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool completely before drizzling, or simply serve warm, right out of the oven, without drizzle.

To make drizzle, place powdered sugar and vanilla in a small bowl and stir together. Add water, a small amount at a time, to make a drizzly consistency; you may need to add more water, then a bit more powdered sugar, to get the consistency you’d like.

Drizzle over cooled cake and allow to set for about 15 minutes before serving.

Cinnamon Coffee Cake






In one of my favorite movies, Sense & Sensibility, Margaret Dashwood asks Colonel Brandon what it’s like in the East Indies.  He replies, as if imparting a great secret, “The air is full of spices.”

Whenever someone asks what that wonderful flavor is in a dish, it’s usually a spice.  Spices can be subtle, enhancing the flavors of other ingredients—the way pepper does, for example.  They can also be the main component, around which other ingredients are based, like in a cinnamon roll.

Cinnamon is a delightful aromatic spice that has been cultivated around the world for centuries.  I use Vietnamese cinnamon, which has a more complex flavor than your average grocery store-bought variety, but you can certainly bake with any kind.

From the moment this cake went into the oven, my kitchen was filled with the aromatic scent of cinnamon, and it lingered for hours after the cake was done.  The honey glaze is a surprising addition, offering a smooth, sweet flavor that complements the warm, spicy cinnamon cake.

For the streusel:

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt.

Cut in butter with a pastry blender (or two knives) until the mixture resembles small peas.

Place in the freezer until cake batter is ready.

For the cake:

  • 2 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup sour cream

Spray a 10-inch tube pan with vegetable spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until very light and fluffy.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.

Add vanilla and sour cream, beating until just combined.

With the mixer on low, add flour mixture in thirds until just combined, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.

Remove streusel mix from the freezer.

Spoon half the batter into the tube pan and spread evenly with a spatula; sprinkle 3/4 of the streusel mix over the top.

Spoon the remaining batter into the pan, spreading evenly with a spatula; sprinkle the remaining streusel mix on the top.

Bake for 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Place the pan on a wire rack to cool before drizzling with glaze.

For the honey glaze:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons water

In a small bowl, mix the powdered sugar, honey, and water together and stir until smooth.

If the glaze is too thick, add a small amount of water to thin it slightly; if the glaze is too thin, add a small amount of powdered sugar to thicken it.

Drizzle over cake.