Cinnamon streusel coffeecake: The $7.22 bailout

Hard times demand hard solutions. And I’m not talking any $750 billion bailout. For the price of just about 2 gallons of gas, you can bake a big, warm, cinnamon-y coffeecake, a slab o’ happiness that’s guaranteed to take everyone’s mind off of Wall Street AND Main Street, and focus it instead on something a lot more palatable: comfort food.

If we were ever in need of comfort food, now’s the time. I saw a bumper sticker recently that absolutely cracked me up: Why are we in this handbasket, and where are we going? “How can you laugh about all this?”, you say. Prices continue to rise, jobs are evaporating along with our 401Ks, and no one seems to have a clue—including our government experts—what the future will bring.

Which makes this the perfect time to laugh. Unless you’re reading this, Ben Bernanke, none of us can influence what’s happening in the global economy; we’re just along for the bumpy ride. So while the world shudders, let’s all “brighten the corner where you are,” as my first-grade teacher used to say. To me, that means the simple pleasure of a hot-from-the-oven treat, shared with those around me: friends, family, and colleagues.

We may be in the handbasket right now. But I don’t believe the destination typical of handbaskets will be ours. America is strong, tough, and resilient. In time, we’ll ride this storm to calmer waters, to a new, different, and hopefully better society. And in the meantime, I intend to enjoy homemade bread, muffins, cookies, pizza, cake… and a warm square of Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake.


Let’s begin by making the filling and the topping. That way they’ll be ready to use once the cake batter is mixed up. For the filling, combine brown sugar, cinnamon, and a touch of cocoa powder (for color); I simply shake everything up in a plastic container. For the topping, we’ll stir together sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon, then add butter till the mixture becomes unevenly clumpy (above). Set both filling and topping aside while you make the cake batter.


Combine butter, salt, sugars, baking powder, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl


Mix till fairly smooth.


Beat in the eggs; look how the batter smooths out.


Add the flour alternately with the sour cream/milk mixture, beating gently to make a smooth, thick batter.


Spoon half the batter (about 28 ounces) into a 9” x 13” pan, and smooth it out with a spatula.


Sprinkle with the filling…


…then shake the pan to distribute the filling evenly across the batter.


Spoon on the rest of the batter, and smooth it with a spatula dipped in water.


Use a table knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter.


Then sprinkle with the topping, again shaking the pan to distribute.


Bake till the cake is golden brown all over, with no light spots. This is important; since this is a rather large cake, you need to bake it thoroughly to be sure the center is done, as well as the edges. Don’t go crazy; just make sure it’s a rich brown, not light/barely brown.


Imagine this cake warm from the oven. Imagine the aroma of cinnamon filling your kitchen. Kind of makes you wish it was Sunday morning every day, eh?


P.S. I baked this cake and brought it on a group vacation. Eleven days (and 450 miles) later, here’s the little piece that was left: unbelievably, still fresh and tasty.

Read, review, and rate (please!) our recipe for King Arthur Guaranteed Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Boston Coffee Cake cinnamon-walnut coffeecake, 1 1/2-lb. cake, $6.99, 29¢/ounce

Bake at home: Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake, 5 1/4-lb. cake, $7.22, 9¢/ounce

P.S. YEE-HAW! This is my 100th post since we started this blog last Christmas. I haven’t had so much fun since Hector was a pup…

PJ Hamel

PJ Hamel grew up in New England, graduated from Brown University, and was a Maine journalist before joining King Arthur Flour in 1990. PJ bakes and writes from her home on Cape Cod, where she enjoys beach-walking, her husband, two dogs, and really good food!


  1. r. menken

    i used to buy cinnamon rolls covered with a fabulous cinnamon sugar streusel. The German baker has retired, His streusel was unlike any other, It had the texture of wet sand cakes. it waa crusty and cold on the tongue and melted in your mouth. I’m wondering if there is a tresel without flour or with very little flour. perhaps it was added to the hot rolls or kuchen after they came out of the oven? Typical baked Cinnamon streusel is crumbly and dry . Do you have any ideas what he did. He learned the recipe in the 40’s or 50’s in Germany . Perhap he used confectioners sugar or brown suger and left out the flour?

    I’ve tried to make classic streusel and reduced the flour , that didn’t help

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Hi fellow baker, while we don’t have an exact recipe to make the kind of streusel you’re looking for, we came across this resource about how a German streusel differs from a regular crumb topping. There are tips and example recipes that you might want to try using to see if it creates the crusty/crackly topping you’re looking for. We wish you good luck in your search! Kye@KAF


    Unbelievable taste!! Cinnamon streusel coffee cake recipe !. Sunday morning i tried it for my family because i wanted to make something special so that i made this cake recipe. Cake was very awesome and delicious.Thanks for sharing good ideas.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Definitely, CJ. You’ll want to make sure your cake is fully cooled, then wrap it up airtight (plastic wrap and foil or plastic wrap and a large freezer bag works well) before putting it in the freezer. Once thawed, you may want to tent it loosely with foil and pop it back in the oven at 350 for 15-20 minutes to warm it up. Enjoy! Mollie@KAF

  3. Dvorah

    Great cake. Almost couldn’t wait to try it. The aroma off cinnamon brought everyone downstairs! Question will be OK to slice some apples and put on the butter before the toping ? Is not that the cake need , was ap family suggestion thank you another wonderful recipe.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      Sounds like a delicious idea. You might want to try grating the apples instead of dicing them so that they blend well into the topping. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  4. "T. Fargo"

    I made this recipe and became a hero at work. The only adjustment I made was to add a diced Granny Smith apple and 1/2 cup chocolate morsels to the filling. Perfect with coffee in the am.

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      I do not see why not, Stacy. It may take 3-4 pans so be prepared for having several ready. I hope you will enjoy one of my favorite recipes! Elisabeth@KAF

  5. kaitch casey

    Hesitate to add post to a recipe that has been drawing raves for 8 years but I had negative thoughts about this cake.

    Too little cake and too much sugar. Also I had to add ten minutes to the baking time because the cake was not baked in the center at 55 minutes. As a result the cake dried out in three days

    I read that there was water in the original topping. How much? and why was it eliminated.

    Although I didn’t like it by grandsons adored it. One gave me his ultimate compliment: *It tastes just like a bakery*. They can’t get enough sugar. I am trying it again moving the oven rack higher hoping it will bake more evenly.

  6. Tam

    Can this be made in a loaf pan to make streusel bread? If so, what size loaf pan would you recommend and baking time?

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      This would be too much batter for a loaf pan- a 9x13x2 pan holds 15 cups of batter, while a 9x5x4 pan holds about 7 cups of batter. Use half the recipe, and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until it tests done as described in the recipe. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  7. Scott

    I tried this recipe, and had problems: the topping was too heavy and sank into the cake. It is a warm and humid day here in CT (about 90 degrees, and it is raining). Might that cause this problem?
    I followed the recipe carefully, but when I mixed the crumb topping, I could tell it was much too heavy…and I had trouble getting anything smaller than grape sized crumbs. Any suggestions??

    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Yes, the heat and humidity didn’t do you any favors for sure, Scott. I would try again when you can keep the ingredients cooler for better results. ~ MJ

  8. Shutzie27

    Could one add apples to this to make it an apple-cinnamon-streusel cake? Our local coffee shop serves these amazing “caramel apple bars” that are really just apple-streusel cake, but I just can’t duplicate the recipe. This, however, looks like it might be better (with apple) in any case! I’ll be baking it regardless this weekend, but figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. The Baker's Hotline

      You sure can make this an apple-cinnamon coffeecake by adding about 2-3 cups of chopped, peeled apples to the batter. It will likely need to bake for an additional 5-10 minutes. We also have a recipe for mini Apple Cider Cakes, which you could us as inspiration when tweaking this recipe–notice the additional spices that are added to make this cake even more delicious and consider adding them to your coffeecake as well. Happy baking! Kye@KAF

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