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Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake with Sour Cream is a deliciously sweet cake on a brown sugar crust with a pecan crumb topping baked right on top. 

Cinnamon pecan coffee cake is always a hit! I left it in the kitchen at work, and within the hour, all that was left was crumbs! Plus, the crumb crust allows for easy hand-held, on-the-go eating. Who needs a fork?

Why you’ll love this Coffee Cake with Pecans recipe!

  • Simple Ingredients. One thing I like about this recipe is that other than the pecans, no special ingredients are required — everything is a staple item in almost everyone’s pantry.
  • Great for All Occasions. This sour cream coffee cake is a perfect breakfast cake or afternoon coffee break dessert. If you serve this one at your next weekend brunch, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to make this recipe again! My family also loves to serve it on Christmas morning.
  • Irresistible Flavor. After your first bite, you must hold yourself back from devouring it all! This is a delicious recipe that always has people coming back for more.
ingredients for pecan coffee cake on a table.

Ingredient notes

  • Flour | Give the crumb crust structure with classic all-purpose flour.
  • Brown sugar | Make it a rich and sweet treat with light brown sugar.
  • Butter | I like to use unsalted butter for this recipe, but you can use salted butter for a slight contrast in flavor.
  • Sour cream | The secret ingredient to this moist cake is sour cream, adding a subtle tangy flavor.
  • Egg | Give the delicious coffee cake a fluffy texture and bind the ingredients with one egg.
  • Baking soda | Baking soda will bring the best coffee cake texture to the recipe.
  • Sugar | Use a bit of granulated sugar to sweeten the pecan mixture.
  • Cinnamon | Make a tasty cinnamon pecan streusel with quality ground cinnamon.
  • Pecans | Complete the recipe with chopped crunchy pecans mixed with sugar and cinnamon on top of the cake.

How to make Coffee Cake

There’s almost nothing better than warm coffee cake and a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Yum! 

STEP 1 | Preheat and prep

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease the bottom of a 13×9-inch pan, setting it aside for later.

steps for making a brown sugar crust for a coffee cake and pressing it into a baking pan.

STEP 2 | Press flour mixture into the bottom of the pan

Next, with a wooden spoon, prepare the crumb mixture by stirring the flour and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press 2 3/4 cups crumb mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan.

STEP 3 | Mix the wet ingredients 

In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, and baking soda, then add to the remaining crumb mixture, stirring just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Pour it onto the top of the crumb crust and spread the batter from edge to edge.

stirring sour cream, egg, and baking soda together in a bowl and adding it to dry ingredients for pecan coffee cake.

STEP 4 | Sprinkle with the pecan topping

Then, in a separate bowl, Stir together three tablespoons of sugar, cinnamon, and pecans, sprinkling them evenly on top of the batter.

STEP 5 | Bake and enjoy!

Finally, bake the cinnamon coffee cake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the doneness with a wooden pick by inserting it into the center of the cake.

When it comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs, it is finished baking and ready to slice and serve!

adding a pecan sugar crumble to the top of coffee cake batter; pouring a glaze on top of a baked coffee cake.

Optional Step | Drizzle glaze

Sometimes, I like to top this treat with a simple sugary glaze made from milk or heavy cream and powdered sugar. Whisk well and drizzle away!

Try more of my coffee cake recipes, like this Bakery-Style Coffee Cake Muffins with Streusel Crumble, fruity Blueberry Coffee Cake, or this Raspberry Ricotta Coffee Cake with Almond Streusel.

coffee cake cut into squares on a wooden board with a bowl of pecans on a table.

Variations and substitutions

  • Healthier Alternative. Swap the sour cream with plain yogurt for a similar flavor and effect.
  • Gluten-Free Coffee Cake. Replace the all-purpose flour with a gluten-free alternative, like coconut flour, almond flour, or another GF-certified option to make this recipe gluten-free!
  • Add vanilla extract to the batter for a deeper and creamier flavor.
  • If preferred, use walnuts or another favorite nut instead of pecans.

Storage and reheating tips

  • This brunch dessert can be made ahead of time and stays moist for several days if covered tightly on the countertop. You can also refrigerate the recipe for three to four days in an airtight container.
  • For longer storage, freeze the cake covered tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil for up to 30 days. Allow it to thaw to room temperature, then reheat it if desired.

tips

  • Since you’ll be using more than a whole stick of butter for this recipe, use the butter wrapper to quickly and easily grease the pan — this is one of my favorite kitchen hacks!
  • Before slicing and serving, you can set the cake on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Or enjoy the treat fresh from the oven– Both are delicious!
slices of coffee cake on a plate with a fork on a table.

Frequently asked questions

What does adding sour cream to the cake mix do?

Sour cream is sometimes added instead of milk when making cakes and similar baked goods because of its high-fat content. It makes the cake extra moist and tender!

Why is it called coffee cake?

Don’t be fooled– This isn’t a cake with coffee or a coffee flavoring. Coffee cakes are intended to be served with a hot cup of coffee, which is why they are named so. Like little tea cakes, coffee cakes are light and fluffy, usually without frosting and sometimes with fruit. It’s especially popular for brunch.

How do you keep coffee cake from getting soggy?

When storing your coffee cake, choosing a moisture-resistant container, like glass or sealed plastic containers, will help prevent the cake from becoming soggy.

brown sugar pecan coffee cake stacked on a plate on a table.

Looking for more delicious pecan treats?

Pecans are one of my favorite ingredients to add to baked goods and sweet recipes. There’s something about the subtle nutty crunch that I just love! Try my Caramel Pecan Thumbprint Cookies, German Chocolate Bars with Pecans, or this rich Pecan-Cheesecake Pie!

Serving suggestions

Enjoy an indulgent brunch by serving this Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake with savory Sausage, Mushroom, and Cheese Breakfast Quiche or salty and sweet Sausage Apple Breakfast Casserole. Top it all off with a refreshing Tropical Fruit Salad with honey-lime dressing.

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brown sugar pecan coffee cake stacked on a plate on a table.

Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake with Sour Cream

Brown Sugar Pecan Coffee Cake is a deliciously moist coffee cake on a brown sugar crumb crust with a pecan topping baked right on top.
5 from 9 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Cakes
Cuisine American
Servings 24 servings
Calories 206 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter cubed
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a 13×9 inch pan; set aside.
  • Prepare crumb mixture by stirring together the flour and brown sugar in a large bowl. Add the cubed butter and cut in with a pastry blender until crumbly. Press 2 3/4 cups crumb mixture evenly on the bottom of the prepared pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the sour cream, egg, and baking soda, then add to remaining crumb mixture, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Pour onto top of the crumb crust.
  • Stir together 3 tablespoons of sugar, the cinnamon, and pecans. Sprinkle this evenly on top of batter.
  • Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.

Notes

Recipe by Southern Living, DECEMBER 2006
  • Since you’ll be using more than a whole stick of butter for this recipe, use the butter wrapper to quickly and easily grease the pan — this is one of my favorite kitchen hacks!
  • Before slicing and serving, you can set the cake on a wire rack to cool to room temperature. Or enjoy the treat fresh from the oven– Both are delicious!

Nutrition

Serving: 1ServingsCalories: 206kcalCarbohydrates: 26gProtein: 2gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 29mgSodium: 108mgFiber: 1gSugar: 17g

Life Love and Good Food does not claim to be a registered dietician or nutritionist. Nutritional information shared on this site is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.

Keyword brown sugar, brunch, cinnamon, coffee cake, pecan
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was.
Sheila Thigpen, blogger

About Sheila Thigpen

Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Food Writer

Sheila Thigpen is the publisher of Life, Love, and Good Food — a Southern food blog — and the author of Easy Chicken Cookbook and The 5-Ingredient Fresh and Easy Cookbook. After 20+ years in the publishing industry, she retired in 2018 to focus on her own creative endeavors full time. She and her husband live near the beautiful Smoky Mountains and have a precious little granddaughter who has stolen their hearts. As an influencer, Sheila has collaborated with brands like Creamette, Kroger, HERSHEY’S, Hamilton Beach, Garafalo Pasta, OXO, Smithfield, Valley Fig Growers, and more.

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