Christmas Coffee Cake


One of my family’s Christmas traditions is a sour cream coffee cake.  My mom makes it every Christmas morning and paired with a mimosa, it’s a delicious way to start Christmas day!  The light cake, paired with the crunchy center of walnuts, cinnamon and sugar really makes this cake a stand out.  I enjoy this cake so much, probably because I only eat it once a year.  I always tell myself that I’m going to make it more frequently, but then it never happens.  Plus, things are always better when my mom makes it!

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

adapted from James McNair’s “Breakfast” cookbook



2 cups all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1 tablespoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter

2 four ounce containers of applesauce

1.5 cups granulated sugar

1.5 cups sour cream

3 eggs

1.5 teaspoons lemon zest

powdered sugar for dusting


1.5 cup chopped walnuts

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon


1. Preheat the oven to 350°.

2. Combine the filling ingredients, walnuts, brown sugar and cinnamon, in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Sift and combine the dry ingredients for the cake.

4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter, sugar and sour cream together.  Add the eggs, applesauce and lemon zest until all the wet ingredients are well incorporated.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredient and stir until well combined.

6. Grease and flour and 9×13 pan.  Pour half the cake batter into the pan and spread out in an even layer.  Sprinkle the filling on top of the batter in an even layer.  Keep roughly an inch border around the edges of the cake when sprinkling the filling.  Pour the rest of the batter over the top of the filling and spread evenly.

7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  If the top starts browning too much, cover the cake with foil.  Dust with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.


My mom says that this recipe turns out better when she substitutes applesauce for some of the butter in the cake batter; it doesn’t sink in the middle when she uses applesauce.  We also substitute walnuts for pecans.  We like walnuts better!  This is a perfect Christmas morning brunch; it is special enough to make, but it won’t have you in the kitchen all morning either.  Treat yourself to this lovely, light and sweet coffee cake, even if it’s not Christmas.  You’ve been good this year, haven’t you?


Be well & happy eating!

I didn't like mine.



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