Growing up, coffee cake was reserved for very special occasions. Christmas morning, sometimes Easter or Thanksgiving, but it wasn’t very often. My mom would pick up a 9-inch round coffee cake from some bakery downtown that I never had the privilege of going to. I don’t even know if it was Dutch, Polish, Scandinavian, Swedish – it could have been anything as Chicago is a melting pot. But, it was the most insane coffee cake I’ve ever had.
I have yet to find out where those round cakes came from, but the flavor, texture, and sweetness will forever remain engrained in my tastebuds. So, when I think of coffee cake, this is all I can think of. And these little round cakes had pecans in them, I remember specifically! So today I’m sharing a recipe for my Coffee Cake Muffins, and of course they have cinnamon, sugar, and pecans.
So, what is coffee cake? It is literally any cake that is intended to be enjoyed with coffee. And today with all the recipes and all the bakers out there, this could mean anything! But, most people have adapted cinnamon and sugar for the flavor profile, and a yellow or vanilla sponge cake as the base. Coffee cakes can have swirls inside, they can be made in round pans, square pans, loaf pans, muffin pans… and the list goes on. Some coffee cakes even have a streusel topping, which are my favorite kind! I love that little sweet crumb topping and I personally feel you can’t call anything a coffee cake without some kind of streusel topping!
Coffee cake is also dangerous as I can eat a lot of it! When I make it in a round 9-inch pan, I end up cutting off little slivers, and then more little slivers, and then more… before I realize it, I have eaten like 2 giant pieces of coffee cake! So, I thought I would make these little Coffee Cake Muffins (so I can control myself, to be honest). But, in all seriousness – having a portable little coffee cake muffins is perfect for the morning. It also prevents you from having to cut through that crumb topping, which can sometimes be messy and difficult as you can loose the top. With a Coffee Cake Muffin, the topping is all safely baked right into the top, and it’s all yours! Get the recipe below for the best Coffee Cake Muffins.
Tips for making the best Coffee Cake Muffins
• Make sure your butter is soft. I like to leave butter out on the counter so it softens naturally at room temperature, as I believe it results in the best butter for baked goods! Try leaving it out a few hours before, or even a day before if it’s a colder time of year. In the summer, you can get away with leaving it out for a few hours, and in the winter, you might want to take it out the day before!
• Makes sure to cream butter and cane sugar together. This means mix on low until there are no chunks of butter. If you have butter chunks here, and you move onto the next step, then they will not go away and your finished muffins will also have butter chunks. This can leave muffins dry, as the butter is concentrated in certain spots and not evenly distributed. So, that is super important and why having softened butter is key to muffins and any types of coffee cakes.
• I really like to have my dairy at room temperature for any kinds of cakes. This helps so much as you just creamed the butter and sugar, you have no butter chunks, and then if you add in cold dairy, the butter can seize up. This can form new butter chunks! So, having room temperature eggs, cream, and sour cream really helps keep your batter smooth! Having a smooth batter is what makes your finished product moist and have that perfect crumb. So, this is a key step!
• I like using dark brown sugar in certain places as it has more flavor than light brown. Like in these Coffee Cake Muffins, I use dark brown sugar inside the swirl, as that is inside the muffin, but then light brown sugar for the topping. But, if you only have one kind, you can substitute it in either spot. The flavor will be a little different, as light brown and dark brown sugar have different flavors. So just keep that in mind.
• The finer you can chop the pecans, the better! I like to have small pieces here and even if you want to food processor them, you can totally do that as well!
• Make sure that you store these babies in an airtight container or cake dome works really well. I’ve linked the cake dome I have here, and this is how they live in my kitchen.
Coffee Cake Muffins
Makes 15 muffins
1/2 cup (113 grams) organic salted butter, softened
113 grams (1/2 cup) organic cane sugar
2 organic large eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup organic heavy whipping cream, room temperature
57 grams (1/4 cup) organic sour cream, room temperature
212 grams (1 2/3 cups) organic all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
28 grams (2 tablespoons) packed organic dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon organic cinnamon
4 tablespoons organic salted butter, melted
64 grams (1/2 cup) organic all purpose flour
28 grams (2 tablespoons) packed organic light brown sugar
28 grams (2 tablespoons) organic cane sugar
64 grams (1/2 cup) organic pecans, chopped
142 grams (1 cup) organic powdered powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons water
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two muffin tins with liners.
To make the batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter and cane sugar and mix on low until combined and there are no chunks. Add the eggs, cream, and sour cream and mix until combined.
In a separate bowl, add the flour, baking powder, and sea salt and whisk together. With the mixer on low, slowly add in the flour mixture and mix until a smooth batter forms, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
To make the swirl: In a small bowl, add the dark brown sugar and cinnamon and mix together.
Fill the muffin tins half the way full with batter, then sprinkle some of the swirl mixture in, then top with more batter so they are about three-quarters full. Use the remaining swirl mixture to add on top.
To make the topping: In large bowl, add the melted butter, flour, light brown sugar, cane sugar, and chopped pecans and mix together until a paste forms.
Using your hands, crumble the topping onto the tops of the muffins.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in the tins.
To make the glaze: In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar and water and whisk together until you have a smooth glaze. Drizzle over the tops of the muffins.
Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
Gluten Free – Replace the flour in the batter with 212 grams (1 1/3 cups) organic gluten free flour blend. And replace the flour in the topping with 64 grams (1/4 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons) organic gluten free flour blend.
High Altitude – Follow the recipe as noted.
Did you make this recipe? Make sure to tag @mimibakescookies on Instagram!