Lemon Coffee Cake

Christmas is coming and while it’s not the same as it once was, part of what brings me nostalgia is all the food I had when I was young. My mom always had certain things during the holidays, and she made sure to keep up with her traditions which I think made it extra special. One of her traditions was that we had coffee cake for breakfast on Christmas morning.

Because we had an insane amount of presents, opening them took literally sometimes until dinner time. Yes, my family went HAM on Christmas and I was very lucky to feel so much love. But, it wasn’t just the amount of presents, because you can open a lot of presents in a short time. But, my mom and grandma were obsessed with telling the story of how they bought, found, or tracked down said present. The stories were just as important, if not more so than the present itself. These stories could take up to 20 minutes per gift sometimes. So, it got a little out of hand. My dad and grandpa would always get restless and want to break for snacks, but because we never seemed to get through the massive pile under the tree, there was certainly no time for cooking breakfast or lunch. This is where coffee cake came in. She always picked up a coffee cake from a local bakery so that we had something sweet for breakfast along with quiche. It was always a free for all on Christmas morning, with some people eating biscotti and coffee, some coffee cake, some quiche, some candy, and some all of it. But, I always loved having a slice of coffee cake!

lemon coffee cake

There are many different kinds of coffee cakes and I am still trying to recreate the type that I had on Christmas morning. But, in the process I’ve created many other recipes that are equally delicious! Today I’m sharing an extra special recipe for a nontraditional version of coffee cake, Lemon Coffee Cake!

I recently found If & When Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste. I was so intrigued with the ingredient that I immediately wanted to try baking and cooking with it. They use organic Meyer lemons, sea salt, peppercorn, cassia bark, allspice, and bay leaf. And this lemon paste can be used for sweet or savory recipes! This paste is very concentrated, which made it easy to add into a cake recipe I was somewhat familiar with. You could easily add this into a cake or cupcake recipe you bake often, and it would provide a lightly sweet lemon flavor. I also used it in the glaze (which is essential to all coffee cakes in my opinion) and the concentrated flavor made the glaze the perfect balance of sweet and lemon.

lemon coffee cake

Coffee cake is something that can seem heavy or too sweet sometimes. However, making a lemon version really makes for a light and airy coffee cake. I have been eating this for breakfast all week! This updated version of coffee cake would be a great addition to your Christmas morning. Make sure to pick up a jar of If & When Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste and get the recipe below for my Lemon Coffee Cake.

lemon coffee cake
lemon coffee cake
lemon coffee cake
lemon coffee cake
lemon coffee cake

Lemon Coffee Cake

Recipe by MimiDifficulty: Easy



Lighten up your Brunch with this light and fluffy Lemon Coffee Cake with a crumble topping and a sweet glaze. Using a lemon paste in this coffee cake provides so much lemon flavor with very little effort.


  • Batter
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) organic salted butter, softened

  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) organic cane sugar

  • 1 tablespoon If & When Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste

  • 2 organic large eggs, room temperature

  • 1/4 cup (57 grams) organic sour cream, room temperature

  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon organic milk, room temperature

  • 1 1/2 cups (212 grams) cake flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

  • Topping
  • 3/4 cup (95 g) organic all purpose flour

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) organic packed dark brown sugar

  • 2 tablespoons (28 g) organic cane sugar

  • 1 teaspoon organic cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon organic cardamom

  • 6 tablespoons (85 g) organic salted butter, melted

  • Glaze
  • 1/2 cup (71 grams) organic powdered sugar, sifted

  • 1 tablespoon If & When Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste

  • 2 tablespoons water

  • Zest of one organic lemon


  • Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a 9-inch cake pan with parchment paper.
  • To make the batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the butter, cane sugar, and If and When Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste. Mix on low until combined and no chunks of butter remain. Add the eggs, sour cream, and milk and mix on low until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, add the cake flour, baking powder, and sea salt and whisk together. With the mixer on low, slowly add the cake flour mixture to the butter mixture and continue to mix on low until combined into a smooth batter, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spread out evenly.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. Set a timer. While the cake is baking, prepare the topping.
  • To make the topping: Add the all-purpose flour, dark brown sugar, cane sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom to a medium bowl and swirl together. Add the melted butter and fold together with a spatula until you have a paste.
  • Once the timer goes off, remove the cake from the oven and using your hands, crumble the topping onto the partially baked cake batter. Return the cake to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the pan.
  • To make the glaze: Add the powdered sugar, If and When Moroccan Preserved Meyer Lemon Paste, and water into a small bowl and whisk together. Using a pastry brush, brush the glaze on top of the cake. Top with lemon zest.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.


  • Gluten Free – Replace the cake flour with 212 grams (1 1/3 cups) organic gluten free flour blend and replace the all purpose flour with 95 grams (1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) organic gluten free flour blend.
  • High Altitude – Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes, remove and add topping, then bake again for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

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