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Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Toasted Pecan Filling

Rich, buttery vanilla cake with ribbons of brown sugar and toasted pecans, this Sour Cream Coffee Cake with Toasted Pecan Filling is a deliciously sweet treat to serve up this fall for brunch, snack or dessert. 

Servings 16
Calories 500 kcal
Author Liz


  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter

Ingredients for the Streusel Topping:

  • 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c. toasted pecans coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter melted and cooled

Ingredients for the Toasted Pecan Filling:

  • 1 c. toasted pecans whole or in pieces (see notes)
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 3 Tbs. light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder

Ingredients for the Coffee Cake:

  • 1 1/4 c. unsalted butter slightly softened
  • 1 2/3 superfine sugar see notes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 3 c. sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. table salt
  • 2 c. sour cream



  1. Ensure a rack is placed in the center of the oven and preheat to 350F.

  2. Use 1 Tbs. of unsalted butter to generously grease a 10-inch tube pan with a removable bottom.

Make the Streusel Topping:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients except melted butter until well combined. Add melted butter and stir with a fork or small spatula until evenly moistened and crumbly. Set aside.

Make the Toasted Pecan Filling:

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse about 6 times, until pecans are coarsely chopped and the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Make the Cake:

  1. With a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, 1-2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and slowly add sugar. Scrape down sides of the bowl and with the mixer running on low speed, add eggs - one at a time - and vanilla.

  2. Again, scrape down sides of the bowl. add half of the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat on low until combined. With the mixer still running, add sour cream. When sour cream is incorporated, add remaining cake flour. If necessary, scrape down sides of the bowl again and beat a little longer to ensure all ingredients are mixed in.

Assemble and Bake the Cake:

  1. Pour about 2 cups of the cake batter into the greased tube pan, smoothing out with the end of a spatula or butter knife. Sprinkle about 1/2 c. of the toasted pecan filling over the better. Repeat twice - so that you have 3 layers of batter and 3 layers of filling. Top with remaining cake batter.

  2. Insert a butter knife into cake, about 1-inch from the edge of the pan. Insert almost all of the way to the bottom of the pan. Keeping knife in, drag the knife around the pan two times. Remove and if needed, smooth the top again.

  3. Finally, with clean hands gently take small handfuls of the streusel topping and press together slightly. Crumble over top of the cake, repeating until topping is gone and batter is evenly covered with streusel topping.

  4. Bake in preheated oven for 70-75 minutes, until the top of the cake if golden brown and the sides are beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick of skewer inserted into the center of the cake should come out clean.

  5. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack for 1 hour.

  6. To remove cake from pan, gently lift up the center tube while pushing the removable bottom upward with the opposite hand (if cake is stuck, run a butter knife around edges of pan). To prevent crumble topping from falling off, place a piece of foil on top of cake, punching a whole in the middle to go through tube. Fit foil over cake and invert onto a plate (foil will now be on the bottom). Remove tube. Invert cake onto a cake plate and remove foil.

  7. Allow to cool before covering tightly with plastic wrap or a cake dome. Cake will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Recipe Notes

  • Pecans for the filling will be put into a food processor to be coarsely chopped, so there is no need to chop ahead of time. You may use whole pecan halves or pieces.
  • No need to buy superfine sugar specifically for this recipe. Simpy toss granulated sugar (it's slightly more than 1 1:1 ration - use the amount called for in the recipe plus 1-2 Tbs.) in a food processor and process for 1-2 minutes. Measure out sugar and use.