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Coffee cake is cake flavored with or intended to be eaten with coffee.[1] British coffee cake is a sponge flavoured with coffee.[2] The cakes are generally made in a circular shape with two layers separated by coffee flavoured butter icing,[3] which also covers the top of the cake. Walnuts are a common addition to coffee cakes.[4] In the United States, coffee cake generally refers to a sweet cake intended to be eaten with coffee or tea (like tea cake).[5][6]

Coffee cake
Vegan Cranberry Coffee Cake (4162820643).jpg
Coffee cake
Region or stateGermany
American Cranberry Coffee cake

Coffee cakes, as an accompaniment for coffee, are often single layer, flavored with either fruit or cinnamon, and leavened with either baking soda (or baking powder), which results in a more cake-like texture, or yeast, which results in a more bread-like texture. They may be loaf-shaped, for easy slicing.


Coffee cake -- also referred to as gugelhupf or kuchen -- evolved from other sweet dishes from Vienna.[7] In the 17th century, Northern/Central Europeans are thought to have come up with the idea of eating sweet cakes while having their coffee.[8] As the region's countries were already known for their sweet yeast breads, the introduction of coffee in Europe led to the understanding that they were a great complement to the beverage. Immigrants from countries such as Germany and Scandinavia had adjusted their recipes to their liking and brought them along with them to America. Though the cakes varied, they all contained ingredients such as yeast, flour, dried fruit, and sweet spices. However, over time, the coffee cake recipes changed as cheese, sugared fruit, yogurt, sour cream, began to be used. This is a result of the vast use of pasteurization in America following World War I,[9] which also led to a new type of coffee cake to be created. This was called sour cream coffee cake.[10]


American coffee cakeEdit

A variety of crumb cake (Streuselkuchen) which contains flour, sugar, butter and cinnamon granules on top.[11] Sour cream is used in traditional American coffee cakes to both impart a tart flavor and activate baking soda used as a leavening agent.[12]

Applesauce cakeEdit

Applesauce cake is sometimes prepared and served as a coffee cake.[13][14]

Arany galuskaEdit

In Hungary, there is a type of coffee cake called arany galuska containing walnuts and cinnamon.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "What is coffee cake?". Baking Bites. 2010-10-29. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  2. ^ "Coffee Cake". BBC Good Food. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Coffee cake with coffee buttercream, coffee glacé icing and candied walnuts". BBC Food. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  4. ^ Cloake, Felicity (16 April 2014). "How to make the perfect coffee and walnut cake". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  5. ^ Brennan, G. (2015). Brunch: Recipes for Cozy Weekend Mornings. Weldon Owen. p. PT 83. ISBN 978-1-61628-987-4.
  6. ^ Fields, D. (2000). Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts: 100 Mouthwatering Easytoprepare Recipes. Simon & Schuster. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-7432-0205-3.
  7. ^ "The Gugelhupf. A Bite of Delight". Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  8. ^ "History - National Coffee Cake Day, April 7". American Civil War Forums. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  9. ^ "American Cakes Throughout History | The History Kitchen". PBS Food. 2015-07-08. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  10. ^ Retrieved 2019-08-01. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  11. ^ Maxespresso (April 30, 2016). "The story of coffee cake". Retrieved October 9, 2017.
  12. ^ "American Cakes - Sour Cream Coffeecake History & Recipe". Tori Avey. Retrieved 2016-09-19.
  13. ^ Clarkson, Potter; Martha Stewart's Cakes' (September 24, 2013). "Recipe: Applesauce Coffee Cake". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  14. ^ Brownetone, Cecily (October 10, 1969). "Cooking Is Fun". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Retrieved 28 September 2015.
  15. ^ Marks, Gil (17 November 2010). Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. HMH. ISBN 9780544186316. Retrieved 1 June 2018 – via Google Books.

Further readingEdit


  1. ^ Olver, Lynne. "TheFood Timeline: cake history notes". Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  2. ^ Avey, Tori (8 July 2015). "American Cakes Throughout History | The History Kitchen | PBS Food". PBS Food. Retrieved 30 October 2018.