September 24, 2023


Food Information

Finest Espresso Cake (with Additional Crumb)

9 min read

Easy and traditional, this buttery cinnamon crumb espresso cake is something however plain! Bitter cream ensures a moist, gentle (not overly dense) breakfast cake, and there’s double the brown sugar cinnamon crumb streusel. Take pleasure in a thick ribbon of streusel inside and loads of crumbs on prime, each made out of the identical combination.

squares of cinnamon crumb coffee cake with vanilla icing on top.

Cake for breakfast… effectively, don’t thoughts if I do! I’ve revealed fairly a number of espresso cake recipes through the years, and that is my go-to, absolute favourite bitter cream model.

I initially revealed as we speak’s recipe in 2015 and have made so many variations through the years, together with doubling the crumb so there’s extra swirl INSIDE and ON TOP of the cake. That’s the model you’ll discover within the printable recipe beneath. (As a result of what’s the purpose of crumb cake if it’s all cake and no crumb?! Double the crumb = double the enjoyable!)

You Will Love This Cinnamon Crumb Espresso Cake

This cinnamon crumb espresso cake is the unique and “plain” model of my raspberry almond crumb cake, cranberry Christmas cake, and blackberry cream cheese crumb cake.

Compared to my New York-style crumb cake recipe, it’s smaller and softer—with a lighter, more cake-like crumb. It also has a delicious cinnamon swirl inside and vanilla icing on top, similar to cinnamon swirl quick bread. The best part? Make just 1 cinnamon crumb mixture and use that for the filling AND topping.

  • Texture: Tender, fluffy cake paired with a soft crumb topping. Each slice boasts a cinnamon-y ribbon running through the middle.
  • Flavor: Classic coffee cake flavors of butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  • Ease: Prepare 1 mixture for both the cinnamon swirl and the crumb topping.

This coffee cake is delightful alongside a cup of coffee or tea (or a mimosa!). Make it for a birthday breakfast, a coffee catch-up with a friend, or a morning meeting—really any time you want to make the morning a little special.

overhead photo of cinnamon crumb coffee cake cut into squares with 3 turned on their side to show cinnamon swirl center.
slice of cinnamon crumb coffee cake with icing on white plate.

Key Ingredients (Especially Sour Cream!)

  • Brown Sugar: Moist brown sugar is the key to a crumb topping that’s soft, not crunchy.
  • Flour: All-purpose flour is sturdy enough to support the heavy crumb layer. I was tempted to use cake flour in the recipe to achieve an ultra-soft crumb, but found that all-purpose gave a more ideal texture for a breakfast cake.
  • Cinnamon: We can’t have cinnamon crumb cake without it!
  • Butter: You need cold butter for the streusel and room temperature butter for the cake. Cream the softened butter with sugar, which produces a wonderfully cakey texture.
  • Baking Powder + Baking Soda: These leaveners help the cake rise.
  • Salt: Flavor enhancer.
  • Granulated Sugar: We’ll cream the butter + sugar together for the base of the cake batter.
  • Eggs: Bind ingredients together, and make the cake tender and rich.
  • Vanilla Extract: If you have homemade vanilla extract, use it!
  • Sour Cream: The magic moist maker! Just like in this white cake, sour cream makes the cake incredibly moist and lush.
  • Milk: Just a little to thin out the batter so you can spread it in the pan.
bowls in ingredients on marble counter including flour, sugar, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and more.

Make the Cinnamon Crumb Mixture First

Anticipate a Thick Espresso Cake Batter

Refrigerate the crumb combination as you make the cake batter. The batter is wealthy and thick, and it’s worthwhile to divide it in half so you’ll be able to layer in a few of the cinnamon crumbs. The outdated model of the recipe created such a thick, heavy batter that it was troublesome to divide and unfold into the pan. By including somewhat milk (simply 2 Tablespoons!), the batter is far simpler to divide and unfold.

glass bowl of vanilla yellow batter with red spatula.

You want an 8-inch square pan for this recipe. See beneath for different dimension variations. Line it with frivolously greased parchment paper so you’ll be able to simply take away the cake from the pan as an entire, or simply straight grease the pan. (Both means works.) Eyeball half of the cake batter and easy it into the underside of the greased pan. It does NOT must be actual, nor good. Layer 1 cup (about half) of the cinnamon crumbs on prime:

spreading batter in lined baking pan with red spatula and pan shown again with crumbs inside.

Now unfold the remaining batter on prime. This may be tough because you’re spreading thick batter on an unstable crumb basis. Simply do your finest. High with remaining crumbs:

layering batter on top of brown sugar streusel crumbs and pan shown again topped with crumb topping.

Bake, after which prime with vanilla icing. The icing is non-obligatory, however all the time a superb (and fairly) of entirety. You could possibly even flip it right into a scrumptious orange icing by changing the milk with orange juice.

overhead photo of cinnamon crumb coffee cake in lined pan.

Cinnamon Crumb Espresso Cake Success Suggestions

  1. Take note of ingredient temperature. The butter within the crumb combination ought to be chilly, and the butter, eggs, and bitter cream within the cake batter ought to be room temperature.
  2. Do your finest to unfold the thick batter. The highest layer could be onerous to unfold on prime of the cinnamon crumb layer, however it doesn’t must be good. Don’t overthink it.
  3. Use a metal pan or a glass pan. If utilizing ceramic, the espresso cake might take longer to bake. If utilizing further darkish steel, the cake might take much less time.

FAQ: Why Is This Known as Espresso Cake?

I get this query lots. 🙂 There is no such thing as a espresso IN this cake! “Espresso cake” will get its title not due to the elements within the cake, however as a result of it’s a breakfast cake to be loved WITH espresso.

Variations & Totally different Pan Sizes

  • Add some extras! Attempt it as cranberry Christmas cake (with pecans) or raspberry almond crumb cake; or combine and match your favourite add-ins and flavors. Chocolate chips are all the time a good suggestion. (Fold 1 cup/180g into the cake batter.)
  • Add a cream cheese layer, like on this blackberry cream cheese model.
  • Bake in a 9×5-inch loaf pan—no adjustments to the elements; bake time is about 40 minutes.
  • Bake it in a 9-inch spherical cake pan—no adjustments to the elements and bake time.
  • Bake in a 9×13-inch pan—see recipe Notes for actual directions/ingredient quantities. My group and I examined a number of variations of this bigger dimension, so use the exact quantities within the Notes beneath. It is a great dimension for those who’re feeding a crowd:
up close photo showing cinnamon coffee cake with 1 slide turned on side to see ribbon of cinnamon swirl inside.


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Each baker ought to have a traditional, old style and buttery espresso cake recipe of their again pocket and this one is my gold normal, baseline recipe. You’re welcome to borrow it! An 8-inch sq. pan is required, however see the recipe Notes for different sizes.

Cinnamon Crumb Combination


Vanilla Icing (Non-compulsory)

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line an 8-inch sq. pan (9-inch sq. is simply too large, see Notes for different pan sizes) with frivolously greased parchment paper or straight grease the pan. I normally use this square pan or this square pan.
  2. Make the cinnamon crumb combination: Mix the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon collectively in a medium bowl. Reduce within the chilled butter with a pastry cutter or two forks (or use a meals processor or your arms) till the combination is in pea-sized crumbs. Some bigger crumbs are OK. You’ll have somewhat over 2 cups of crumb. Refrigerate till step 5.
  3. Make the cake: Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt collectively in a big bowl. Put aside. In a big bowl utilizing a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar collectively on excessive velocity till easy and creamy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the edges and up the underside of the bowl with a rubber spatula as wanted. Add the eggs and vanilla, and beat on medium-high velocity till mixed. Beat within the bitter cream. Scrape down the edges and up the underside of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat once more as wanted to mix. Combination will likely be lumpy.
  4. Add the flour combination to the moist elements, and beat on low velocity till simply mixed. Lastly, beat within the milk. Don’t overmix this batter. The batter will likely be thick. You’ll have about 2 and 1/2 cups of batter.
  5. Fastidiously unfold about half of the batter into the ready pan. Sprinkle 1 cup (about half) of the crumb combination evenly on prime. Fastidiously unfold the remaining batter on prime (each final drop of it!). This generally is a little tough because you’re spreading thick batter on prime of crumbs, however do your finest. I normally use a spoon or small offset spatula. It doesn’t must be good. Sprinkle the remaining crumb combination evenly on prime.
  6. Bake for round 30–35 minutes or till the cake is baked by means of. To check for doneness, insert a toothpick into the middle of the cake. If it comes out clear, it’s accomplished. Enable cake to chill within the pan set on a wire rack for quarter-hour.
  7. Make the icing: Whisk all the icing elements collectively. Drizzle over heat cake.
  8. Elevate the cake from the pan utilizing the overhang parchment paper across the sides and slice into squares. Or, for those who didn’t use parchment, slice straight within the pan. Serve cake heat or at room temperature.
  9. Cowl leftovers tightly and retailer at room temperature for as much as 3 days or within the fridge for up 1 week.


  1. Make Forward & Freezing Directions: The cake could be baked and lined tightly at room temperature in a single day. Make the glaze the following morning and drizzle over cake earlier than serving. Cake, with or with out icing, could be frozen as much as 3 months. Thaw in a single day within the fridge and convey to room temperature earlier than serving.
  2. Bitter Cream: Bitter cream creates a bakery-style tender and thick crumb. Don’t skip it. If wanted, you’ll be able to substitute full-fat or low-fat (not nonfat) Greek yogurt.
  3. Loaf Pan: Should you’d wish to bake this espresso cake in a 9×5-inch loaf pan, modify the bake time to about 40 minutes.
  4. 9-inch Spherical Pan: This recipe is simply too small for a 9-inch sq. pan; nevertheless, it matches splendidly in a 9-inch spherical cake pan. Similar directions and bake time.
  5. 9×13-inch Pan: If you wish to make this cake in a 9×13-inch pan, it’s worthwhile to nearly 1.5x the recipe. My group and I examined the precise quantities and here’s what you’ll want. The directions are precisely the identical, simply use the next quantities. Crumb: 1 cup (200g) packed darkish or gentle brown sugar, 1 and 1/4 cups (156g) all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons floor cinnamon, 10 Tablespoons (1 stick + 2 Tbsp or 145g) unsalted butter, chilly and cubed. Cake: 2 and 1/4 cups (281g) all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks or 170g) unsalted butter, 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar, 3 giant eggs, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, 1 cup (240g) bitter cream, 1/4 cup (60ml) milk. The icing recipe makes lots, so it’s lots for the bigger cake. Bake time is nearer to 45 minutes. Makes 24 servings.
  6. Why is that this referred to as espresso cake and there’s no espresso within the cake? “Espresso cake” will get its title not due to the elements within the cake, however as a result of it’s a breakfast cake to be loved WITH espresso.

Key phrases: espresso cake, crumb espresso cake, bitter cream espresso cake

slices of sour cream crumb cake with vanilla glaze

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