One of the first recipes I made without the help of my mom was a simple cinnamon coffee cake in my sixth grade “Life Skills” class. It was a basic, single-layer 8×8 cake with a swirl of brown sugar and cinnamon, made with just a few ingredients. Uncomplicated yet satisfying. I’m not a big fan of most cake icings, so coffee cakes are especially appealing. I’ll take a crumbly cinnamon streusel over buttercream icing any day.
This recipe requires a few more ingredients and steps than the cake I made as an 11-year-old, but the results make the additional effort completely worth it. It’s rich, moist, and spicy, and would be a perfect addition to breakfast or brunch. If I drank coffee, I’m sure this would be an excellent partner. Instead of a regular square baking dish or round cake pan, I used a well-greased 10-inch springform pan that released the cake nicely.
Fragrant cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves are incorporated into the cake batter, and rich, sweet, vanilla cream cheese separates the layers. The coffee cake is topped with a crusty crown of cinnamon streusel; chopped nuts would also be a nice addition to the topping.
Cinnamon Cream Cheese Coffee Cake
1/4 cup sour cream
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. each: ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1 (8oz) package cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat cream cheese with the egg yolk for one minute, and then mix in sugar and vanilla. Pour the filling over half of the coffee cake. Spoon the other half of the coffee cake batter over the top.
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter (softened)
Combine all ingredients and use your fingers to cut the butter into the topping mixture until it resembles crumbles. Sprinkle over top of the cake before baking.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Grease a 10-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs and sour cream and beat for another 3 minutes. Sift together dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, baking powder, salt, spices) and slowly add to the creamed mixture. Mix on LOW until just combined.
Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the greased pan.
Pour the cream cheese filling over the batter.
Add the remaining half of the cake batter.
Top with the cinnamon streusel mixture.
Bake for 52-55 minutes. Allow to cool on a wire rack before removing the outer ring of the pan.