Grandmother's Cinnamon-Sugar Kuchen (Dairy)

Cinnamon Sugar Kuchen Coffee Cake
Cinnamon Sugar Kuchen Coffee Cake. © Miri Rotkovitz
  • 75 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: Serves 10 to 12
Ratings (10)

"Kuchen," explains Giora Shimoni, "means cake in German, and refers to a variety of cakes." This example from Anna Ballin, who shares her grandmother's recipe, is a sour cream coffee cake with a cinnamon sugar swirl and topping.  Ballin says "My mother traditionally baked this cake for the holiday of Shavuot, but my family and friends like it so much that I make it all year round. If you are looking for an excellent, dairy coffee cake and you are not looking to count calories, then this is the cake to bake!"

Recipe Testing Notes and Tips: 

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 3 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 corn starch 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

What You'll Need

  • For the Cinnamon Sugar Topping: 
  • 1/3 cup (65 g) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon (or according 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 (1 1/2 sticks/170 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small bits
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces/170 grams) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
  • 8 ounces (250 grams) sour cream

How to Make It

1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius). 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 bread crumbs. 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.

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 439
Total Fat 26 g
Saturated Fat 13 g
Unsaturated Fat 9 g
Cholesterol 128 mg
Sodium 656 mg
Carbohydrates 46 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Protein 7 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)