A Plain and Perfect Coffee Cake Recipe

A Plain and Perfect Coffee Cake Recipe

A Plain and Perfect Coffee Cake Recipe 2000 1334 Alison Ashton

Coffee cake is one of those retro specialties, an old-school standby from the Mrs. Maisel era. You know, when having a nice, simple, home-baked “something” to serve with coffee was hostessing done right. It didn’t have to decorated to within an inch of its life and Instagram ready. Delicious sufficed.

Even my ma, who was a reluctant cook, was justly of her Bundt cake and made it for just about every occasion. It was moist, nutty and utterly perfect with a cup of joe. Her Sour Cream Coffee Cake was one of few recipes she left behind, and a lightened-up version even made it into the pages of Cooking Light magazine. The lighter version was nice, she noted, tactfully, though she was sad to see the original’s 1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts (the best part!) trimmed down to a scant 1/4 cup finely chopped nuts.

This time of year, I’m moved to make Mom’s coffee cake — in her Harvest Gold aluminum Bundt pan, of course. And me being me, I can’t resist a few changes: I use a combo of all-purpose and whole-wheat pastry flours, and I’ve swapped the tablespoon of lemon extract in her version for lemon zest and juice. But I for damn sure don’t mess with the  nuts.

Mom's Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Category: Uncategorized

Cuisine: American

Servings: 12-16



  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ pound butter, softened
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup very coarsely chopped walnuts
  • Powder sugar, for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Butter and flour a Bundt pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, lemon zest, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, cream butter and granulated sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Beat in lemon juice and almond extract. Alternate beating in flour mixture and sour cream. Stir in nuts. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Invert onto a wire rack and cool completely. Before serving, sift powdered sugar over the top.
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