Great-Grandma Sophie’s Coffee Cake

Coffee cake is one of my absolute favorite breakfast foods. It obviously tastes amazing with coffee (hence the name) and is the perfect excuse to eat dessert for breakfast. My mom used to make coffee cake every morning on Christmas and my birthday, so it always brings back fond memories of growing up.

Although my mom makes a killer triple berry coffee cake with cinnamon streusel topping (recipe coming soon!), this particular recipe actually comes from my Great-Grandma Sophie. It may be a less exciting cake than my mom’s, but it still shines with its perfectly moist texture and wonderful flavor. With just a hint of citrus and a thin layer of cinnamon-sugar on top, it is simple, yet delicious.

The simplicity of this coffee cake also allows for more creativity in the kitchen. I’m excited to play around with variations on the basic recipe to make it even more delicious. Right now, I’m thinking blueberry lemon or cranberry orange would taste amazing, but the possibilities are endless!

This coffee cake was extra special for me to make because even though I never got to meet my Great-Grandma, I am still able to share something with her through her recipe. I hope her coffee cake inspires you to dust off some old family cookbooks and see what hidden gems are waiting to be discovered. Enjoy!


Great-Grandma Sophie’s Coffee Cake

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk (I substituted unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest (I used the zest of one whole orange because I didn’t have any lemons)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used increased to 1/2 tablespoon because I’m a huge cinnamon fan)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a loaf pan or a small 8×8 pan. Beat together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and beat to combine. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and milk in two batches, alternating between the two. Add the citrus zest and mix. Bake for 20 minutes. In the meantime, melt two tablespoons of butter in the microwave. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a separate bowl. Remove the cake from the oven and pour the melted butter evenly over the top. Cover the melted butter with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Bake for another 10-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean (baking time will vary depending on the pan size). Let cool slightly before cutting and serve warm.


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