Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake with Pecans

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Bake up an easy to make cinnamon streusel coffee cake with pecans for breakfast or brunch. This praline coffee cake is moist, buttery, and topped with a crispy cinnamon sugar topping that can't be beat.

With holidays throughout the year, coffee streusel cake seems just the right recipe to make. This particular coffee cake recipe is from my grandma's recipe box.

This brown sugar coffee cake is so delicious, and the batter is a thick, deliciously rich batter. It's a delight for the senses as it bakes with its sweet, cinnamon smell wafting through the house, and a taste of heaven when it's done.

Why You'll Love This Recipe

  • It's super easy to make, and it bakes in about an hour.
  • The cake is buttery and moist, while the cinnamon sugar topping gives a crispy texture to the top of the cake. The cake pairs so well with that delightfully crispy topping.
  • You can eat it for dessert, or make it for breakfast or brunch. It's perfect for both.
  • It's an old-fashioned cinnamon coffee cake that's especially perfect for Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.
  • You can take it to a family get together or a church potluck.

Why Is It Called Coffee Cake?

Since the time that coffee was introduced to Europe in the 1600's, Scandinavians liked to pair their coffee with things like sweet breads and cakes. However, the name ‘coffee cake' really wasn't commonly used until the late 1800's.

As Dutch and German immigrants came to the United States, bringing their cherished family recipes with them, coffee cake began to be very popular, especially on the East Coast.

O&H Danish Bakery wrote a very fascinating and interesting history of coffee cake, where you can read more about this sweet breakfast treat and how it came to be.

coffee cake with pecans and a streusel topping in red baking dish

Ingredient Notes

Most of the ingredients you probably already have on hand. Here are a few with notes…

  • Butter – I like to use unsalted butter for the cake and salted butter for the topping. Whatever you do, be sure to use real butter; don't use margarine, as that will completely change the texture and flavor of your finished cake.
  • All-Purpose Flour – You can make this with regular all-purpose flour or a good gluten-free all-purpose flour. Just be sure if you do make it gluten-free that you also add a little xanthan gum, as well as check all of your other ingredients to make sure they're truly gluten-free.
  • Evaporated Milk – You can use any brand of evaporated milk you happen to have.
  • Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Chopped Pecans – These 3 ingredients, along with the flour and butter, really give the topping the best flavor. In my opinion, they really make the recipe. While I love pecans in this coffee cake, if nuts aren't your thing, that's ok; go ahead and leave them out.

How to Make Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake

Before you get started, be sure to gather your ingredients. Then grease an 8×8 baking dish, and pre-heat the oven to 350° F.

Also, keep in mind that you can double this recipe and make it in a 9×13 baking dish or a bundt pan, if you're needing to feed a bigger crowd.

Let's Start with the Batter…

  1. Cream or mix together the unsalted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well 'til combined.
  2. Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients, including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Mix together the evaporated milk and lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
how to mix up cinnamon streusel coffee cake batter, using mixing bowl, sifter, and liquid measuring cup
  1. At this point, you'll have a creamy, somewhat stiff, cake batter. Go ahead and set it aside for just a few minutes.
cinnamon streusel coffee cake batter in KitchenAid mixing bowl with white rubber spatula

Now for the Topping…

  1. Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the chopped pecans and softened salted butter to the mixture, mixing 'til combined.
  3. Your mixture will be a crumbly mixture, perfect for crumbling onto the cake.
mixing up coffee streusel cake topping in KitchenAid mixing bowl

How to Layer a Praline Coffee Cake

  1. Sprinkle 1/3 of the topping mixture in the bottom of the greased baking dish.
  2. Cover with half the batter.
  3. Then crumble 1/3 more of the praline topping mixture.
  4. Scoop and spread the remaining batter on top of that.
  5. Finally, sprinkle on the remaining cinnamon sugar topping, and gently press it into the batter with your fingers.
  6. Bake the cake at 350° F for about 1 hour, or 'til a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake stand and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.
how to layer praline coffee cake in 8x8 baking dish, baked coffee cake in baking dish

Expert Tips and Recipe FAQ's

What's the difference between coffee cake and crumb cake?

Coffee cake is more cake, less topping; crumb cake is more topping, less cake. Crumb cake has a much thicker topping on it.

How can I keep streusel topping crunchy?

This particular recipe has a crispy streusel topping. However, if warmed in the microwave, it could grow a bit soggy. I'd recommend re-heating it, covered in foil in the oven for a few minutes, before serving, if you want to serve it warm.

Why does the streusel sink?

As your coffee cake bakes, the streusel will sort of meld into the cake… Meaning some of it will actually melt and combine with the top of the cake. It's made of things that melt together, including the butter, cinnamon, and sugar; and that's ok. However, the flour is there to keep the whole thing from just melting down into the cake entirely, and that melding together, in my opinion, is what makes this cake taste even better.

Can I make this cinnamon streusel cake ahead of time?

Yes, in fact, you can mix up the batter and the topping, throw it all together according to the recipe; then cover your baking dish and place it in the fridge 'til you're ready to bake it the next morning. If you're actually baking it ahead of time, I would recommend baking it no more than 1 day in advance. Then just cover it and store it on the counter 'til you're ready to serve it.

Can I freeze coffee cake with pecans?

Yes, you can. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container so it doesn't get freezer burn.

slice of brown sugar coffee cake on white plate with fork

More Brunch Recipes to Enjoy:

If you enjoy this praline coffee cake recipe, you'll enjoy these recipes too.

If you try this recipe, why not leave a star rating in the recipe card right below and/or a review in the comment section further down the page? I always appreciate your feedback. You can also follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. And subscribe to my email list too!

slice of cinnamon streusel coffee cake topped with whipped cream on white plate with fork

Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake with Pecans

Easy to make cinnamon streusel coffee cake with pecans. Moist, buttery, and topped with a crispy cinnamon sugar topping.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Breakfast & Brunch, cakes, Desserts
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 386kcal
Author: Mel Lockcuff

Ingredients

Coffee Cake Batter:

Streusel Topping:

Instructions

  • Grease an 8×8 baking dish, and pre-heat the oven to 350° F.

Coffee Cake Batter:

  • Cream or mix together the unsalted butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Then add in the eggs and vanilla, mixing well 'til combined.
  • Sift or whisk together the dry ingredients, including the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • Mix together the evaporated milk and lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture, alternating with the milk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.
  • At this point, you'll have a creamy, somewhat stiff, cake batter. Go ahead and set it aside for just a few minutes.

Streusel Topping:

  • Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the chopped pecans and softened salted butter to the mixture, mixing 'til combined.
  • Your mixture will be a crumbly mixture, perfect for crumbling onto the cake.

Layer the Cake:

  • Sprinkle 1/3 of the topping mixture in the bottom of the greased baking dish.
  • Cover with half the batter.
  • Then crumble 1/3 more of the praline topping mixture.
  • Scoop and spread the remaining batter on top of that.
  • Finally, sprinkle on the remaining cinnamon sugar topping, and gently press it into the batter with your fingers.
  • Bake the cake at 350° F for about 1 hour, or 'til a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake stand and cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

Notes

How can I keep streusel topping crunchy?
This particular recipe has a crispy streusel topping. However, if warmed in the microwave, it could grow a bit soggy. I'd recommend re-heating it, covered in foil in the oven for a few minutes, before serving, if you want to serve it warm.
Can I make this cinnamon streusel cake ahead of time?
Yes, in fact, you can mix up the batter and the topping, throw it all together according to the recipe; then cover your baking dish and place it in the fridge 'til you're ready to bake it the next morning. If you're actually baking it ahead of time, I would recommend baking it no more than 1 day in advance. Then just cover it and store it on the counter 'til you're ready to serve it.
Can I freeze coffee cake with pecans?
Yes, you can. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container so it doesn't get freezer burn.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Servings | Calories: 386kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 268mg | Potassium: 195mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 463IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 2mg
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