Coffee Cake Cupcakes

Looking for an excuse to eat cake for breakfast? Look no further! My Coffee Cake Cupcakes are here to make sure you wake up on the right side of the bed. How could you possibly have a bad morning knowing that your own miniature coffee cake is waiting in the kitchen, a perfect compliment to your morning cup of joe? These cupcakes will start your day off right!

If the word “cupcakes” sound too indulgent for breakfast, I suppose you could call these “muffins”… but where’s the fun in that? Cake for breakfast is the ultimate! Just ask Bill Cosby.

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This recipe is a mish-mosh of several vintage coffee cake recipes I’ve made over the years. I have lots of cookbooks from the 40′s, 50′s and 60′s, and nearly all of them contain at least one version of coffee cake. The idea to take a coffee cake and turn it into a cupcake came from a little volume called “The Best from Midwest Kitchens.” I picked up the cookbook at a secondhand bookstore; it was published in 1946. The book’s cheerful, fire engine red hardcover drew me in. When I read the names of its three lady authors, I was hooked. Ada, Breta, and Ethel. Great names. Strong names. I knew there had to be some seriously awesome recipes inside. On page 141, I saw a recipe for “Individual Coffee Cakes,” which were basically mini coffeecakes made in a cupcake tin. Brilliant! But the recipe itself was lacking “oomph.” I knew I could do better, so I took the inspiration and ran with it!

I love streusel toppings and fillings, so I use a pecan one here. If you’re not into pecans, you could substitute walnuts. Sour cream adds terrific moisture to coffee cake, and I’ve found that lowfat Greek yogurt makes an almost perfect low calorie substitute. You can use either in this recipe. Oh, and I like adding some almond extract, a flavor trick I learned from a German coffee cake recipe. You can substitute vanilla if you prefer.

Other than that, I think these Coffee Cake Cupcakes are pretty self explanatory. They are awesome. Soft, moist, with a crunchy streusel topping and a beautiful glaze. You’ll love them, promise. And when you take that first bite, be sure to smile and sing really loud, Bill Cosby style…

“Tori’s great!! She feeds us breakfast cake!”

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Coffee Cake Cupcakes

Streusel Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup finely chopped pecans
  • 1 tbsp melted unsalted butter

Cupcake Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt, room temperature
  • 1 tsp almond or vanilla extract

Glaze Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp melted butter

You will also need

  • Muffin/cupcake liners or nonstick cooking spray, regular muffin tin (12 muffin capacity), 2 mixing bowls, 1 small mixing bowl, glass, plastic bag, whisk, a small ice cream scoop
Servings: 12 cupcakes
Kosher Key: Dairy
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Add the chopped pecans and melted butter. Continue mixing with the fork until the sugar and pecans are fully mixed and evenly moistened by the butter. Reserve; this is your streusel topping.
  • In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and place them in a mixing bowl. Use an electric mixer on low speed, then medium, to cream the butter for a minute till it becomes light and airy.
  • Slowly add sugar to the bowl and beat for 2-3 minutes more, increasing the speed gradually and scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula periodically, until the color becomes lighter and the sugar is fully integrated into the butter.
  • Beat in the eggs, then the sour cream, then the almond or vanilla extract.
  • Fold the dry ingredients into the wet and stir till evenly moistened. Do not over-mix.
  • Line a cupcake tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray. Fill each tin halfway with batter. I've found the easiest way to do this is with a small ice cream scoop-- use one small (not heaping) scoop per tin.
  • Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp of streusel onto the top of the batter in each tin.
  • Fill the tins the rest of the way with batter, all the way to the top of the tin (another small ice cream scoop of batter in each tin).
  • Sprinkle 1-2 tsp of streusel on the top of each cupcake.
  • Bake the cupcakes for 30-35 minutes till they test clean with a toothpick or skewer. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  • When ready to frost, make your vanilla glaze. In a small mixing bowl, sift the powdered sugar.
  • Add the rest of the glaze ingredients. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients till a creamy frosting forms. You want the consistency of thick honey; if you need a little more moisture, add milk a few drops at a time. Just a drop can take it from a thick honey to a runny texture, so add with care.
  • Line a glass with a plastic bag, wrapping the edge of the bag around the outer rim of the glass. This will help you fill it with frosting. Use a spatula to scoop the frosting into the bag.
  • Place cupcakes on top of a piece of parchment paper or paper towels to catch drips.
  • Work the frosting into the corner of the bag and snip off a small corner with scissors. Gently squeeze and drizzle the frosting in a zig-zag pattern across the top of the cupcakes.
  • Let the frosting dry for at least 30 minutes to set (it may take longer depending on the weather).
  • Serve for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or "brinner." Goes great with a hot cup of coffee, tea, or cocoa.

Comments (93)Post a Comment

  1. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I run around singing “The Shiksa’s” great every day. I was talking shop with some man in the Costco line today. We were talking olive oils and recipes and I told him to go check you out. So if some older gentleman stops by and says something weird about Costco, yah that was me. Great recipe Tori. This looks so moist and tasty. A must try. My hubs would go nuts for this one. If there are glaring spelling mistakes I blame the puppy, she keeps biting my toes while I type. Desperately need a puppy intervention.

  2. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Tori – these look delicious! It’s times like these that I hate being allergic to cinnamon! Coffee cake just isn’t coffee cake (or cupcake) without cinnamon….

  3. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Ha! That Cosby skit about the cake is funny and very memorable…
    These are great grab and go treats, no big coffee cake to deal with. I like your tweaking of the almond extract-yum. Also, you have some really good tips in this post.
    I think that these cupcakes baking in the oven is the best way to lure someone out of bed in the morning. Delicious!

  4. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Thanks so much for showing us these coffee cake cupcakes. They look delicious, and the pictures and instructions you have given have been done thoroughly. I must give these a try.

  5. I made these “cupcakes” today, and they truly are perfection. I’m guessing the muffin batter can be used with many different flavors (chocolate chip anyone??). Of course, every recipe I have made from the Shiksa has been a culinary home run… Love, love, love the site!!

  6. These could easily be my favorite cupcakes ever! I am putting these on my list of things to make, and I’ll be sure to sign out Cosby style when I do. ;)

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Saw these on Tasty Kitchen this morning. Printed the recipe and promptly made them (except for the icing – couldn’t wait that long to eat them). They are fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love the almond extract flavor. Thanks!

  8. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    I wish I had those around this morning!! I had a rough start of the day, and those wonderful cupcakes would certainly have made it better, but, that’s alright – I’ll make them and celebrate better mornings! It’s all about being positive… and about breakfast cupcakes :)

  9. We use that Bill Cosby bit to justify almost anything that we eat that *might* be considered not-for-breakfast! :lol: Or dinner, for that matter! Love coffee cake–nice idea to do them individually.

  10. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    My son is allergic to nuts so I need to leave them out. Think the recipe would work without them? Can you recommend a substitute? Maybe the chocolate chips someone else suggested? Looks delicious! Can’t wait to try it.

    1. Hi Beth! That’s an easy fix. Use vanilla instead of almond extract, and use a simple brown sugar streusel topping/filling without nuts. Try mixing together 1/2 cup brown sugar, 6 tbsp flour, 1 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of salt– then cut in 2 1/2 tbsp of very cold cubed butter to make a crumbly streusel (you can also cut the filling together in a food processor if you prefer). Don’t use chocolate chips on top of the cupcakes, they’ll melt and make a gooey mess. Good luck! Let me know how you like them. :)

    1. Hi Melissa– cafe, meaning coffee? If that’s what you mean, then no, the recipe does not contain coffee. They are called “coffee cakes” because they are perfect for serving with coffee or tea, not because they contain coffee.

  11. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Your Coffee Cake Muffins look amazing and would definitely be dangerous in my house- meaning I would probably end up eating at least 4 of these for breakfast!

  12. I made a double batch of these in mini muffin form for my mommy group (MOPS) and they ate them ALL. I got asked for the recipe so I had to give it out. These were sooooo good. I like the idea of your suggestion for making them without nuts too. I will have to try that next. This recipe is definitely a keeper. :) thanks!

  13. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Your photo of Coffee Cake Cupcakes is so nice. I will do follow the method on your blog. I hope my cupcakes will become the same your photo and also yummy.

    Thanks again for your share.

  14. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made some of these to bring to Easter dinner; completely won over my mother in law with them! Gorgeous photos of them, they make a great presentation! :)

  15. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Thanks for another great looking recipe.
    For those of us who are too lazy to scoop cake batter into cup cakes – will a loaf pan do as well (and, goes without saying, adjusting baking time accordingly)?

  16. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    This looks great, I think I am going to make these for mother’s day breakfast.
    Do you think I could use honey or Agave to substitute for the sugar?

  17. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    What a unique idea…great job capturing each step – the pictures are great. I’ve never thought to have a crumb/coffee cake in the form of a cup cake! I’m going to try your recipe for July 4th weekend and pass these around to my family. Kudos on a brilliant idea.
    - Shannon, Crumb Cake Creations, LLC

  18. In my haste to make something new and exciting, I didnt read the receipe through, and mixed the sugar in with the flour. and was left over with the butter. So what to do? I melted the butter and added it to the egg mixture. I will hold thumbs… they are in the oven at the moment, so I will hold thumbs that they come out all right. Know now for next time to cream sugar :(

  19. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I made these and they are delicious!! My only concern is that I’ll be taking them camping with me and was wondering if they need to be refrigerated (since the icing contains milk)? If so, is there an alternative icing that doesn’t require refrigeration? Thanks :)

  20. I want to make these for a cupcake challenge, the theme is Halloween, if I added food coloring to the batter or the glaze do you think it would alter the taste

  21. Have you ever made these ahead and frozen them? I’ve put them on the Christmas brunch menu but it would be awesome to be able to make them ahead of time! :) Either way, they’ll be on the table!

    1. Hi Cary, I’ve never frozen them, but I think that it would probably work. Don’t frost them before freezing, though– defrost completely, then frost. I can’t make any promises, though, since I’ve never actually frozen them myself. Enjoy!

  22. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Hi there!

    I tried these cupcakes and they were wonderful. However, next time I think I will use vanilla extract rather than almond. I found it to be more of a dominant flavor than I wanted. Thank you for the recipe!

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