Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman’s)

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman's) Follow Me on Pinterest

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman’s)

Have you every heard of (or had) a Zingerman’s Sourcream Coffeecake? This legendary coffee cake has been a holiday tradition in our house for some time now, always having one for Thanksgiving and one for Christmas. It is also a popular gift that I’ve given around the holidays and my recipients are always smiling and grateful.

This year, when it was time to place my regular order for us to enjoy, Zingerman’s was sold out! Honestly, this has never happened before so I was panic stricken. I’m really not exaggerating – I was in quite a tizzy and didn’t know what to do. It was equivalent to no turkey on Thanksgiving or no holiday tree at Christmas … a tragedy of epic proportions, people.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman's) Follow Me on Pinterest

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman’s)

It took a couple of days to sink in before I realized that this holiday season of 2012 would not be the same. I grudgingly began searching online for a sour cream coffee cake recipe that might be somehow similar and evoke the same cinnamon/walnut flavor profile along with happy holiday foodie memories. Every recipe that I looked at just didn’t seem right; however, after a couple of days I tripped across one that looked like it might work. I told myself that it would not be what I was accustomed to but at least I tried, right?

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman's) Follow Me on Pinterest

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman’s)

I quickly jotted down a few notes and reluctantly went to the kitchen, fully knowing that this just would not work. Looking back, I really wish that I had taken the time to bookmark the location or even print the recipe out because the result completely surprised me. When this cake came out of the oven, I was overwhelmed to see that it LOOKED just like the Zingerman’s Sourcream Coffeecake that I know and love. One bite and I knew that this was so close to the famous version that the holy grail of coffee cakes had been found. The crispy, sweet, sugary exterior juxtaposed against the soft, dense, creamy interior … all taken to another level by the heavenly center of cinnamon and walnuts. The hubs and I was in heaven and the holiday was saved.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake (similar to Zingerman’s)


Serving Size? Try not to eat the whole thing :)


  • ------------
  • ------------
  • 2 cups walnuts
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • -----------------------------
  • -----------------------------
  • 2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ------------------------------
  • ------------------------------
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup butter, unsalted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla


  1. Set out all ingredients to come to room temperature.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Coarsely chop walnuts & toast for 5-10 minutes in a 350 degree oven, until fragrant & golden.
  4. Place these on a cooling rack & allow to cool completely, about half an hour.
  5. When cooled, combine nuts, cinnamon & brown sugar together in a medium bowl & set to the side.
  6. While walnuts are toasting & cooling, work on the cake batter can begin.
  7. Liberally butter a bundt pan & set to the side.
  8. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (flour, baking soda & salt) & set to the side.
  9. In a stand mixer, cream together the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, about 5-10 minutes on medium to medium-high speed.
  10. Turn down mixer speed to low & add eggs individually, allowing batter to completely combine before adding the next one.
  11. Add sour cream & vanilla, mixing until smooth & fluffy.
  12. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients & allow to fully incorporate.
  13. Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared bundt pan, shaking from side to side to level out the mixture.
  14. Pour the walnut, cinnamon, brown sugar mixture on top of the cake batter.
  15. Add the second half of the cake batter on top of the filling & smooth out batter with a spoon or spatula.
  16. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  17. Allow cake to cool completely before turning out onto a serving platter.

Around the holidays, I don’t try to low carb or vegan-ize special foods like this so I wouldn’t recommend that anyone toy around with this version. Since we only have this twice per year, I go full all purpose flour, full sugar, full dairy & full fat. Use the highest quality of ingredients & sit back to let the fabulousness envelope you ... Honestly, it’s worth it :-)

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What do you think?

  1. Zingerman’s opened while I was in college at the University of Michigan. Coffee cake came later. I sell woodenware to those nice folks at Zingerman’s these days. My standard delivery fee is one of their sour cream coffee cakes. I just refer to it as Crack Cake. It is at least as addictive :-)

  2. I’m late to the Zingermans party! But I am oh, so grateful that I can use your lovely copycat recipe year round!

    P.s. How wonderful that you were sent an original recipe cake, too =)

  3. Assume you add the dry ingredients to the wet after the sour cream and vanilla, and then mix thoroughly? I hope so, cake is now in the oven.

  4. we offer you online video workshop with all kind of ideas and tips to help you to making a delicious cake at your home.

  5. Oh, boy, I’m pinning this so I don’ lose it! I’m always on the lookout for an excellent coffeecake recipe! Hooray!
    Liz recently posted … Nutty Brown Butter Banana Bread…#ImprovChallengeMy Profile

  6. This is looking amazing:) I love baking so this is goint to be on my “Next Recipes ” list.
    Ella-Home Cooking Adventure recently posted … Crispy Oven FriesMy Profile

  7. I’ve never heard of Zingerman’s but now I’ll have to look them up. I can’t see how they could beat the coffee cake that I’m looking at him. This look delicious and I LOVE the filling! So pretty and SO good!
    mjskit recently posted … New Mexico Green Chile StewMy Profile

  8. Zingerman’s is new to me too (UK), but your version looks and sounds yummy!
    Joy recently posted … Re-using Old ContentMy Profile

  9. WOW. This coffee cake looks CRAZY good. I’m so happy it replicated your favorite!

  10. I love Zingerman’s coffee cake. I can’t believe they were sold out. At least you found a very close recipe. It looks wonderful!
    Laura Dembowski recently posted … Caramel Pretzel BarsMy Profile

  11. I’ve heard of Zingerman’s but have never had anything from them. This looks terrific! And we just happen to have some sour cream in the house that needs to be used, too! Good stuff – thanks.
    john recently posted … Pasta e FagioliMy Profile

  12. I would love to try the original but this looks just as incredibly delicious :)

    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted … First Summer Ice CreamMy Profile

  13. Yum! I have never heard of it, but your version looks so good!

  14. I have never heard of Zingerman’s coffee cake. But it does look super tasty and pretty!
    Kim recently posted … Cannoli Cream Icebox CakeMy Profile

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