Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Yield:


    ( 9-By-13 Inch ) Cake

Appears in

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking


By Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Published 2008

  • About

No, this is not the most Nutritious Breakfast, but it is Well Worth the Indulgence (at the bakery we tend to indulge more often than not). Though decidedly a “breakfast” treat, there is absolutely no reason why it cannot be served throughout the day or as an afternoon snack. Obviously, part of the charm of any coffee cake is the crumb topping. Our topping is, well, tops. It is not overly sweet or ridiculously abundant; this cake has the perfect ratio of moist cake to crumbly topping, and we know you’ll enjoy it as much as we do.


For the Crumb Topping

  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup pecans, toasted
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1-inch cubes

For the Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

For the Sour Cream Cake

  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 16 ounces sour cream
  • teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Make the Crumb Topping

Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse for 5 seconds to mix. Add the pecans and pulse until the pecans are finely chopped and thoroughly incorporated.

Add the butter and pulse until combined. The mixture will look like very coarse sand. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.

Make the Chocolate Cinnamon Swirl

In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and cinnamon and set aside.

Make the Sour Cream Cake

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan. If you use a metal pan, the edges of the cake will be crispy (not altogether a bad thing).

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter until smooth and ribbonlike. Scrape down the bowl and add the sugar. Beat until the mixture is smooth and starts to look fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.

Add the sour cream and vanilla and beat just until incorporated. Add the dry ingredients in three additions, scraping down the bowl before each addition and beating only until each addition is just incorporated. Do not overmix.

Pour one third of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Use an offset spatula to spread the batter evenly.

Sprinkle half the chocolate cinnamon swirl mixture over the batter, covering the entire surface of the batter. Spoon half of the remaining batter over the swirl mixture and spread it evenly. Top with the remaining swirl mixture, then the remaining batter, and spread the batter evenly. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top of the batter.

Bake in the center of the oven, rotating the pan three times during baking, for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes, then serve.

The cake will keep for 3 days, tightly covered, at room temperature.