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Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake

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In this Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake, a soft sour cream-based coffee cake and a walnut streusel topping come together to make this delightful dessert. It’s moist, not overly sweet, and perfect for brunch, showers, and holiday gifting.

sliced coffee cake with full cake and a cup of coffee in the background

This Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake is exactly what you want from coffee cake. Moist, sweet, crunchy, cinnamony, and perfect with a fresh cup of coffee (which is a very nice way to start the day if you ask me).

I decided to make this coffee cake from Midwest Living because it is the best and easiest coffee cake ever. I love it and can see myself making about a thousand different variations of it.

Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake is a great gift. In the last few weeks, I’ve made TWELVE of these cakes because I gift them to my children’s teachers on the first day of school. I think that is such a thoughtful way to tell teachers we appreciate them.

What is a Blue Ribbon Cake?

Believe it or not, it’s NOT a cake made out of blue ribbon 😉. In short, state fairs give out blue ribbons for award-winning recipes. That said if a recipe is labeled “blue ribbon,” you know you’re making the best of the best.

sliced coffee cake on a plate

Ingredients //

  • Flour – is the most important ingredient in any cake. It’s literally what makes the cake.
  • Baking Powder AND Baking Soda – are leavening agents that cause the cake batter to rise when baked.
  • Salt – enhances the sweetness.
  • Eggs – add moisture, color, and flavor.
  • Sugar – adds sweetness.
  • Butter (room temperature) – adds moisture and helps the cake develop a perfectly baked, firm outer layer.
  • Vanilla – adds sweetness and caramel-y flavor.
  • Sour Cream – The extra fat in sour cream helps create the richest and moistest cakes.

For the streusel:

  • Walnuts – crate that classic crumbly streusel topping and nutty crunch.
  • Brown Sugar – adds sweetness, texture, and color.
  • Sugar – more sweetness!
  • Cinnamon – adds cozy coffee cake flavor.
  • Vanilla – adds sugary-sweet flavor.

How to Make // The Steps

ingredients for blue ribbon coffee cake
  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, add eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla.
  • Beat until it begins to come together. It is okay if it looks curdled, it comes together.
  • Add the dry ingredients. Mix until just moist.
  • Add sour cream.
  • Mix until smooth.
  • In a bowl, mix together walnuts, both sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  • Spray the pan with baking spray. Spoon half of the batter into the bottom of the pan, spread around. Sprinkle with streusel. Add another layer of batter and another layer of streusel.
  • Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes.
  • Cool completely. I wrapped mine in a thick layer of plastic wrap, then another layer of tissue paper. Wrap with a bow and attach a card.
  • Brew a pot of coffee, slice, and enjoy!
ingredients for blue ribbon coffee cake in a bundt pan ready for baking

Tips & Tricks

  • This recipe will yield enough batter to make a bundt cake in a 10-inch tube pan. Use disposable tube pans for easy clean-up.
  • If you bake the batter into a different shape (loaves, cupcakes, squares, etc)., adjust the cooking time accordingly and keep a careful eye to avoid burning.
  • Blue ribbon coffee cake is amazing served fresh from the oven and served cold. As long as you have that warm cup of coffee, you’re good to go.
  • A reader mentioned adding sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the streusel and that sounds incredible!
close up of blue ribbon coffee cake on a plate

Why is Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake So Good?

  • This recipe will yield enough batter to make a bundt cake in a 10-inch tube pan. Use disposable tube pans for easy clean-up.
  • If you bake the batter into a different shape (loaves, cupcakes, squares, etc)., adjust the cooking time accordingly and keep a careful eye to avoid burning.
  • Blue ribbon coffee cake is amazing served fresh from the oven and served cold. As long as you have that warm cup of coffee, you’re good to go.
  • A reader mentioned adding sunflower and pumpkin seeds to the streusel and that sounds incredible!
slice of blue ribbon coffee cake on a plate with cup of coffee and flowers in the background

Serving Suggestions //

It’s not a “coffee” cake without coffee. Try blue ribbon coffee cake:

sliced coffee cake with cups of coffee in the background

How to Store and Reheat //

Storing Leftover Coffee Cake: Leftover coffee cake can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for 2 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Leftovers can be reheated gently in the microwave or served cold.

Make-Ahead and Freezer Options

Freezing Coffee Cake: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in a sealed container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

sliced coffee cake on a plate

FAQ

Why is it called “coffee cake”?

“Coffee cake” describes a specific tender cake with a streusel-style topping meant to be enjoyed with a cup of coffee. There’s no coffee in the actual cake, so no need to worry about caffeine or anything.

What is the difference between coffee cake and crumb cake?

Simply put, the streusel to cake ratio. Coffee cake is light on the streusel and heavy on the cake while crumb cake is heavy on the streusel, lighter on the cake.

What is the best flour to use in a coffee cake?

Cake flour is ideal, but if you have all-purpose that’s totally fine.

More Coffee Cake recipes

Orange Sunshine Coffee Cake

Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake

Meyer Lemon Coffee Cake

NY Crumb Cake

Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake

Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake

Yield: serves 8 to 10

In this Blue Ribbon Coffee Cake, a soft sour cream-based coffee cake and a walnut streusel topping come together to make this delightful dessert. It's moist, not overly sweet, and perfect for brunch, showers, and holiday gifting.

Ingredients

Cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 (8-ounce) container sour cream

Streusel:

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • blue ribbon coffee cake recipe

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla. Beat until it begins to come together. It is okay if it looks curdled, it comes together. Add the dry ingredients. Mix until just moist. Add sour cream. Mix until smooth. In a bowl, mix together walnuts, both sugars, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  3. Spray the pan with baking spray. Spoon half of the batter into the bottom of the pan, spread around. Sprinkle with streusel. Add another layer of batter and another layer of streusel.
  4. Bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely.
Nutrition Information:

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

Lucy Will

Thursday 22nd of July 2021

Hey Bree !! This Blue ribbon coffee cake was totally a new thing for me when I first read it. But, when I prepared it and eat it, I became a fan of this Coffee Cake. Keep sharing more such recipes.

Bree Hester

Thursday 29th of July 2021

I am so glad that you liked it!

Giuliana

Wednesday 27th of January 2021

Silly question, I went by the picture which shows 3 eggs and then I read the recipe it says two Do you normally use 3 or 2 eggs?

Bree Hester

Friday 29th of January 2021

It's not silly, you are right to ask me. It's 2, I double-checked the original recipe.

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