Coffee cake is one of my favorite things in the world. It’s such a great, all-purpose cake – not too fancy, but not exactly plain either. Unfortunately for the coffee cake, I don’t think its name is doing it any favors. Tacking “coffee” on there makes people associate it with just breakfast or a coffee break, when in reality, it deserves so much more. Coffee cake should be a bona fide dessert. A coffee cake layer cake, perhaps? I’ll take a slice of that for dessert, and then another slice in the morning.

Old faithful

Coffee Cake Muffins (51 of 750)

Adapted from  750 Best Muffin Recipes by Camilla Saulsbury
Makes 36 mini-muffins


  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp espresso powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Topping: In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, rub or cut in butter until mixture resemble coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In a large bowl, beat together softened butter, sugar, sour cream, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs until well blended.
  5. Beat the flour mixture into the egg mixture until just blended.
  6. Divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups. Top with crumb topping.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are firm at the center and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to the rack to cool.

I realized after baking these that I was supposed to put a crumb layer in the middle of the cupcake. Oops. I’ll remember that for next time.

These muffins are insanely delicious – the perfect, tender crumb that’s lightly spiced with cinnamon and espresso powder, and then topped with even more cinnamon and brown sugar. I was a little overzealous and filled the muffin tins too much, which made the crumb spill over the sides, so if you’re worried about appearances, fill the tins halfway.

Thankfully, coffee cake isn’t the kind of baked good where appearance really matters. In fact, I find that the best ones are a little rough and rusting looking. They’re like an old friend that you can hang out in your pajamas with – comfortable and comforting.

It’s all about the crumb

Coffee cake muffins