Grandma’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake is the best coffee cake recipe! It’s simple, perfectly moist, sweet with a tender crumb, and practically melts in your mouth. Who doesn’t love cake for breakfast?
This coffee cake recipe brings back fond memories of lazy afternoons hanging out with my grandmother. She would serve either tea or coffee with our dessert. I usually chose coffee as an adult. I started drinking it when I was 20. As a child, I’d opt for something more kid-friendly like milk or juice.
I’ve tried bad coffee cake recipes and this isn’t one of them. One time, I made a coffee cake from a cookbook and it was beyond dry and had a weird aftertaste. Needless to say, it didn’t even compare to grandma’s recipe and I never made it again. I promise you, this cinnamon coffee cake is not like that. It’s sweet, moist and melt-in-your-mouth good. Making this recipe reminds me of my grandma who I miss beyond words.
Why You’ll Love Grandma’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake
- Made with pantry staples. You probably have most, if not all, of these ingredients already in your kitchen. No trip to the grocery store necessary!
- Easy to make. Just 10 minutes of prep before the coffee cake is baking in the oven.
- Melt-in-your-mouth. This recipe creates the best flavor and the softest, most tender texture.
You need just a few basic ingredients to put together this coffee cake recipe!
- Granulated Sugar – Sweetens the cake just the right amount.
- Unsalted Butter – You’ll use melted butter in the cake to make it super moist and tender. Then, you’ll use a little bit of butter dolloped on top of the cake to create the streusel topping.
- Egg – You’ll need just 1 egg to bind the ingredients together so the cake can hold its shape.
- Milk – Whatever milk you have on hand will work.
- All-Purpose Flour – Gives the coffee cake its structure.
- Baking Powder – Make sure you use fresh baking powder! It ensures a light and fluffy texture.
- Salt and Cinnamon – Salt cuts the sweetness while cinnamon adds the perfect sweet spiciness.
- Brown Sugar – Gives the coffee cake just the right amount of sweetness. Dark or light will work!
How to Make Grandma’s Cinnamon Coffee Cake
This simple and delicious coffee cake recipe takes a quick 10 minutes to prep! Just mix it up, toss it in the oven, and it’s ready to go!
- Step One: Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan and set aside.
- Step Two: In a large bowl, cream together granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add in egg and milk and stir to combine.
- Step Three: Add in flour, salt and baking powder and stir to combine.
- Step Four: Spread mixture in pan. Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Dot with remaining butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Step Five: Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the centre clean. Let cool before serving.
What is Coffee Cake?
There are many varieties of Coffee Cake depending on what part of the world you are in. My grandma’s recipe is an American Coffee Cake which is more of a crumb cake that has cinnamon on top. Yes, we are Canadian, but we have lots of American influences here in Canada.
The British Coffee Cake is a sponge cake that is flavoured with coffee. I haven’t tried that style yet. All the coffee cakes I’ve made don’t actually have coffee in them.
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What to Serve with Cinnamon Coffee Cake
The obvious answer is…well…coffee! Enjoy a slice of this coffee cake next to a cup of your favorite hot brew, iced coffee, or a cinnamon cappuccino!
Now, coffee cake is great on its own, but it also makes a great addition to a larger brunch spread. Serve it alongside any of your favorite breakfast recipes like bacon and egg breakfast casserole, biscuits and gravy, quiche lorraine, you name it.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Grease the pan. This helps prevent the coffee cake from sticking.
- Use melted butter. Melted butter creams more easily with the sugar and makes the loaf extra moist.
- Don’t over-mix. Over-mixing can cause the coffee cake to be dry and dense. Mix only until just combined.
- Check for doneness. To check that your coffee cake is done, insert a toothpick into the center. If it comes out clean, it’s ready to go. If there are still moist crumbs on it, then it needs a few more minutes. I recommend checking at 30 minutes, then adding time as needed.
- Cool before slicing. Slicing into the coffee cake while it’s still hot can cause it to be more crumbly. Cooling it a bit results in cleaner slices.
- Make it chocolatey. Try adding a handful of your favorite chocolate chips or chunks.
- Add nuts. Add a scoop of your favorite chopped nuts for a little crunch. Try walnuts, pecans, or almonds.
- Frost it. Want to make your coffee cake even sweeter? Try drizzling it with a brown sugar glaze or slathering it with cream cheese frosting.
- Spice it up. Add an extra boost of flavor by adding some of the other classic sweet spices with the cinnamon. Nutmeg or cloves would be delicious.
- Add fruit. Feel free to mix in your favorite fresh or dried fruit. Try raspberries or blueberries, peaches, or even raisins or dried cranberries.
Leftover cinnamon coffee cake will last in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the fridge for up to 1 week.
For the best results, keep it at room temperature. The fridge dries it out more quickly!
Can coffee cake be frozen?
Yes! Coffee cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Simply let it cool completely, then wrap it either whole or in individual slices in plastic wrap. Place it in a freezer bag or wrap it tightly in foil, then store it in the freezer.
When you’re ready to serve, simply thaw it to room temperature, then enjoy or warm in the oven.
Does Coffee Cake Actually Have Coffee In It?
Nope! Coffee cake gets its name because it’s traditionally served alongside a cup of coffee. There isn’t actually any coffee in the cake.
More Coffee Cake Recipes You’ll Love
You’ll also enjoy this Cinnamon Bread.
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Grandma's Cinnamon Coffee Cake
The breakfast cake your grandmother would make! Sweet, moist and crumbly and pairs perfectly with a cup of coffee.
- 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup brown sugar (dark and light)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 425F. Grease an 8×8 inch baking pan and set aside.
- In a large bowl, cream together granulated sugar and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Add in egg and milk and stir to combine.
- Add in flour, salt and baking powder and stir to combine.
- Spread mixture in pan. Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Dot with remaining butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
- Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out of the centre clean. Let cool before serving.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 piece
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 422Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 41mgSodium: 286mgCarbohydrates: 86gFiber: 1gSugar: 61gProtein: 5g
This has always been a favourite breakfast treat of mine.
I love the contrast in colors between the coffee cake and that dark sugary topping! I could see going back for seconds…for sure!
Jenn E says
I’ve only made one cinnamon coffee cake once in home ed class … but you’ve inspired me to make this! It looks amazing!
Lynne Collett says
anything I have to do to make this in muffin pan
Hi Lynne, I haven’t tried it in a muffin pan, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Make sure to grease the pan well and don’t bake them for as long as you would if you were making the cake. If you end up trying it, let me know how it turned out!
Bonnie Speas says
Love your site! Thanks
Brenda Villarreal says
Hi, I love your recipes but lately I have to modify everything because I’m not eating sugar . Could you please add some whole wheat recipes please? Thank you so much
Stacie Vaughan says
I don’t have a lot of whole wheat flour recipes unfortunately. I have Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes: https://www.simplystacie.net/whole-wheat-blueberry-pancakes/ My friend, Randa, at Randa Nutrition has lots of healthier recipes though: https://randaderkson.com/category/recipes/