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!
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. Serve them for breakfast with a side of scrambled eggs for an irresistible sweet and savory combination. You’ll love them, promise!
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Coffee Cake Cupcakes
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup finely chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- 2 1/2 tablespoons milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon melted butter
- 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.