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At Home with Abby Coffee Cake

At Home with Abby Coffee Cake Related:   breakfast & brunch, dairy, desserts & sweets, kid-friendly, North America, Shavuot, vegetarian, Yom Kippur

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cook time: 50–75 minutes

Yield: 12–16 slices

One morning some time ago, my father-in-law stopped by to visit. He often comes bearing bagels. This particular time he brought his favorite cake—the Corner Bakery’s coffee cake, festooned in cellophane and ribbon and weighing in at about 5 pounds. I adapted the recipe for this cake, adding cocoa powder, pecans and sea salt because, well, they make everything better! It’s the perfect cake for brunch with friends, break-the-fast or a coffee break. Photo by Josh Cherner. 


  • Topping and Filling
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2⅔ cups flour
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted (optional)
  • Cake
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sour cream


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10-inch, 12-cup tube pan with a removable bottom. (Do not use a smaller pan or a Bundt pan.)
  • Topping: Combine first seven topping ingredients in a large bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a fork. Add chopped pecans, if desired. The mixture will form big chunks; do not over-mix.
  • Cake: Combine dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) in a medium bowl and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter, shortening and sugar until very light. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Mix in vanilla extract. Add the dry cake ingredients to the mixer bowl, alternating with the sour cream, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. The batter will be very thick.
  • Spoon half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the topping mixture over the batter, then the remaining cake batter, then remaining topping. Gently press the final topping layer into the cake layer.
  • Bake in the center of the oven for 50 to 75 minutes. Cake is done when it starts to pull away from the sides and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. If topping appears to be fully cooked, cover loosely with tin foil while cake continues to cook. Cool in pan for 30 minutes. Loosen sides of cake with a sharp knife and separate cake from sides of the pan. Using the sharp knife, loosen bottom of cake and then separate cake from the bottom of pan. Place on a wire rack to continue cooling. When fully cooled, carefully move cake to a serving platter or cake stand.

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