Sourdough Jewish Coffee Cake

This is the coffee cake my grandma used to make for church brunches and potlucks. Everytime I smell it I think of my grandma, so to me, this coffee cake is the best one out there! I have adapted it to use up excess sourdough starter (aka discard) but the texture seems identical to the original recipe.

I am not sure why it is considered a Jewish coffee cake. Most coffee cakes are a version of crumb cake and there are endless versions of crumb cakes! It could be considered a Jewish cake because of the addition of sour cream, which is a popular ingredient in Jewish dishes. If you know more about this I would love for you to comment below.

It is more traditional to use a bundt cake, or angel food cake pan but you will need to double the recipe for a full size cake pan. I reduced the original recipe to be appropriate for one average sized family for one breakfast. But if you double the recipe and bake it in a circular cake pan it makes a very pretty and popular dish to bring to potlucks or community breakfasts and brunches. It’s also a durable cake and easy to transport.



  • 145g (3/4 cup) packed dark brown sugar
  • 90g (3/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 79g (6 Tablespoons) softened butter
  • 80g (1/2 heaping cup) of finely chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon of fine espresso grind dark roast coffee beans
    (optional, this is my personal twist)

Cake Batter

  • 200g (1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 56g (1/4 cup) softened butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 230g (1 cup) full fat sour cream
  • 150g (1 1/4 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 120g sourdough starter discard at 100% hydration
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To make the crumbs, blend all of the ingredients together until the mixture forms a crumbly dough.

For the batter, cream the sugar and softened butter until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the sourdough starter until thoroughly combined. Stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda and then add to the butter mixture at the same time as the sour cream and vanilla. Blend everything together until very smooth but don’t beat.

Pour half of the coffee cake batter into a 9″x6″ baking dish or an 8″ square baking pan. Sprinkle with approximately half of the crumb mixture. Carefully drizzle with remaining cake batter, poke a butter knife or spoon handle into the dish just to barely swirl the layers together. Sprinkle remaining crumb mixture on the top of everything. Bake at 350F/176C for approximately 45 minutes or until the top of the cake springs back when touched or a toothpick poked into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove from oven and serve warm with a little butter or cool completely before serving.

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