Grandmother's Cinnamon-Sugar Kuchen (Dairy)

Cinnamon sugar Kuchen coffee cake

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 75 mins
Servings: 10 to 12 servings
Yield: 1 cake
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
408 Calories
20g Fat
52g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 408
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20g 26%
Saturated Fat 12g 60%
Cholesterol 84mg 28%
Sodium 107mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 52g 19%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 104mg 8%
Iron 3mg 18%
Potassium 102mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Kuchen means cake in German and refers to a variety of cakes. This example comes from Anna Ballin, who shares her grandmother's recipe.

When first tested, this recipe didn't quite work—the original instructions called for baking in a large loaf pan for 30 minutes, which yielded an overflowing, underdone cake. The topping/swirl was problematic, too; it called for 1 1/3 cups of sugar, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, and 5 tablespoons of butter, quantities that separated the cake into layers instead of baking into it. Had something gotten lost in the translation from metric to imperial measures, or was a typo or two causing trouble? So we've tweaked the recipe slightly while trying to stay true to the original. If you want to try the original quantities for the cinnamon-sugar mixture, try alternating it with three layers of cake batter instead of two, and, definitely, use a large tube pan.

Cake flour is specified in the original recipe, and it is a must. When tested with all-purpose flour, which contains more gluten than cake flour, the kuchen had an unpleasantly dense, gummy texture. If you don't have cake flour, you can use 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, and 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch instead. 

A large tube pan with a removable bottom will allow the batter enough room to rise without overflowing. Because of the large quantity of butter in the recipe, it's a good idea to wrap the bottom of the pan with foil or to set the pan over a rimmed baking sheet to catch any buttery drips that may escape through the bottom.
Edited by Miri Rotkovitz


For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping: 

  • 1/3 cup (65 grams) sugar

  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, to taste

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces/60 grams) unsalted butter, melted

For the Cake Batter: 

  • 3 1/2 cups (1 pound/450 grams) cake flour, or 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 6 ounces (12 tablespoons/170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small bits

  • 3/4 cup (170 grams) sugar

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup (120 milliliters) milk

  • 8 ounces (225 grams) sour cream

Steps to Make It

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F/190 C. Grease and flour a large tube pan. In a small bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar. Place the melted butter in another small bowl. Set aside.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cake flour (or all-purpose flour and cornstarch), and baking powder. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and stir to combine.

  3. Make a well in the center of the mixture. Put the eggs, milk and sour cream into the well. With a wooden spoon, slowly begin mixing the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until the mixture is combined. (The batter will be very thick). 

  4. Spread half the batter into the bottom of the prepared pan. Drizzle evenly with half of the melted butter. Then, sprinkle half of the cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of that.

  5. Spread the rest of the batter on top of the cinnamon and sugar. Drizzle with the remaining melted butter, followed by the rest of the cinnamon and sugar mixture.

  6. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Be careful not to overcook as this makes the cake dry.

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